Daily Digest – Day 40 to Day 49 (GERMANY & THE NETHERLANDS)

Day 40 – 14 July

Genthin to Barnsdorf, Germany

Transport: Bikes 143.9km average speed 22.7km/hour

The stitch up: we woke up and had a chilled breaky with Thomas with the intention of rolling out early to allow for an easy day pushing the pedals (i.e. plenty of rest stops). We however didn’t get rolling till after lunchtime lol. We ended up talking antics and making travel adjustment plans with Thomas’s help for our route to Croatia (we have a goal to be there in August to meet my sister Tina and her partner Goran). It was sad goodbyes with Thomas and Elly. I say Elly even though we never met her as Thomas recounted so many cool and humbling stories of their travels and experiences we felt like we got to know her as well. We are keen to head back to Northern Germany and spend a bit more time this way so perhaps we will cross paths again with this awesome pair and their 2 sons 🤞.

I was still feeling pretty tired so Emm rode the front and we anticipated a relatively cruisy 100km ride ahead (see video of Emm towing Beau around Europe 😂😉)

Em and Beau Day Riding – Beau Drafting!

Little did we know that both google maps and maps.me (our 2 chief navigation tools) would conspire against us and add some significant kms to the days ride…more on that in a bit. First up we had a relatively cruisy spin to the ferry crossing of the Elbe river which cost €5 for both of us to get across.

The journey was short and soon we were pedalling straight for our destination. However, around the area of Dolle the navigation told us to go through a field. We started down this route and were soon encountering signs with military insignias imprinted and sighting some old disused military vehicles. The track soon disappeared and whilst we were searching for its reappearance a touring cyclist came the opposite way. He advised he had been stopped up ahead by the military police and advised to turn around. Apparently the area our maps had advised us to go through were military training grounds and off limits 😬. We stood there for about half an hour debating whether we should risk it and push through or turn around and add about 45km to the overall ride. I guess you would say logic prevailed and we did indeed turn around and in my state of deep exhaustion I was utterly gutted. I was keen to just pitch a tent on the military field for the night and call it a day. So we cycled the 100 odd kms and finally made it to our hosts place in Barnsdorf (right near the Wolfsburg VW factory aka German World War II tank making facility). James, another hitter from Warm Showers, is a Englishman doing a short stint of work in the area. Emm and I seem to get on well with most brits/UKers with many of our close friends originating on this side of the ditch and James was no exception to this rule. James who has cycled toured a lot himself was keenly attuned to our close to bonking states and had the beers, Doritos/dip and these devilishly delicious crunchy pretzel snacks on the table as soon as we crossed the threshold #leagueofextraordinarygentlemen.

James who is a also food devout like myself then put on lasagna, garlic bread and a fresh side salad 😋 #HungerBuster. We washed this truckload of food down with more beers and red wine. What can I say this guy is a really a legend and we ended staying up well into the night trading war stories on travels had and adventures to come. We called it at 1.30am and went to bed a little tipsy but somehow thoroughly refreshed…

#TheCasualtyList…Items worth counting on this epic…
Status quo from earlier post

-B
-edited by E

Day 41 – 15 July
Barnsdorf to Hannover, Germany

Transport: Bicycles 83.9km 22.5 average speed km/hour

The Goblet of Fire: we woke up and had crispy bacon and eggs on rolls with chilli all courtesy of James 😍. The bacon was particularly #crispyAF once again demonstrating our hosts impeccable cooking abilities.

We rolled out shortly after with James who took us on a forest detour shortcut. The forest adjacent to the town of Wolfsburg is cross crossed with gravel tracks purely constructed for recreational purposes and was a great way to knock out the first 20km at which point we decided to hunt for a suitable coffee and cake parkup. This soon turned to an ice cream and coffee affair due to the hot conditions.

#BeausBowl Icecream Review VIDEO

We rode afterwards for a bit longer with James and parted ways at about 30km. James travels a lot for work and even more for lifestyle so I’m really hoping we will cross paths again with this legend, and his time be able to shout him some beers and prep some food ala Beau style 🙂 thanks again mate it was a genuine pleasure. Did I mention that this guy is single ladies 😜.

After parting ways it seemed to only get hotter and hotter and by the time we rolled into Hanover we were both in the precipice of dehydration. So much so we almost ended up on a Auto Bahn getting turned around meters before the entry by a caring driver 😬. It wasn’t too much further from this point that we arrived at Sven’s beautiful family home. Sven is a young guy who has almost finished studying at Uni and is probably the most well travelled bike tourer we have met despite his relative youth. He has done the Nullarbor, the Nord Cap various trips throughout Europe and will soon be commencing a year long tour around the world once he finishes up his studies 😳. Sven’s family are also keen travellers and we discussed/replanned our route for the next month based on their collective advice. I’ll note this conversation was had over a charcoal bbq Sven’s dad uber had prepared and the bbq was soooooooooooooooo on point. We had various German and Polish sausages with potatoes wrapped in bacon 😍 and sauerkraut and mustard. We decided to all pack it in fairly early as everyone was pretty tired which I’m blaming the hot weather on.

#TheCasualtyList…Items worth counting on this epic…
Status quo from earlier

-B
-edited by E

Day 42 – 16th July
Hannover, Germany to Noordbroek, Netherlands

Transport: Bicycles 69.4km average speed 20.5km/hour + a sneaky train ride

Train spotting: this morning we woke and had a typical European breaky with Sven and his mum – bread with an assortment of spreads/meats/cheeses. We then road into town with Sven stopping by the bike shop he worked at so I could resupply on some parts and also fix Emms rear cassette which I had forgotten to add a hub spacer to prior to fitting the mtb 11-42 mtb cassette (shimano mtb cassettes are marginally slimmer than the road equivalents and this require an additional free hub spacer on some hubs – the hope did come with one but give me a break I built these wheels a few years ago 🙄). Anyways we got the bikes sorted and were quickly on our way again – thank you to Sven and his manager for allowing me to freely use the workshop – much appreciated! Sven took us on a quick tour of the city riding through the centre which was a literal jungle (and well massive city forrest really) and old castle like university before helping us buy some train tix to Leer (a town about 250km North West of Hanover and near the border with the Netherlands).

We had decided to catch the train to this location yesterday based on advice from Sven to allow us to ride the North coast into the Netherlands and drop into Amsterdam from the top which was apparently a nicer ride than our original plan of heading due West from Berlin. The train tix were relatively cheap at €25 as we were catching train in same state (region Lower Saxony) in Germany. This is a good tip for would be travellers – don’t cross country boundaries or regions and don’t use express trains if you want to save dosh. Sven had to get to work by 1pm so we decided to have a quick lunch together sharing the German National dish – the German kebab 😂.

Sven took us to his lacks haunt and let me tell you it was legit. I won’t repeat myself here (see full review on my insta beaus_bowl) but suffice it to say this was the best kebab I have eaten and it earned ‘the reference’ status by which all kebabs should be measured against. Note we washed the kebab down with Ayrum which is like liquid yoghurt (in water type consistency) which would really compliment any meat dish 😍.
We then got on our 1.20pm train and spent the next few hours snoozing/planning the route into the Netherlands. When we arrived it was baking hot so we bee-lined it to the visitors centre to get into our Lycra and mentally prepare for the heat onslaught. It actually wasn’t that bad once we got going due to the wind chill effect of cycling.

We are in the Netherlands VIDEO 1

Welcome to the Netherlands VIDEO 2

We soon found ourselves Noordbroek where we had organised a stay through W.S with Mark and Gea. Prior to rolling up Emm stumbled on a homemade jam stand out the front of one of the nearby neighbours and we quickly botched up another jam jar for the tally (this one was particularly good with huge chucks of strawberry and raspberry mixed in 😋). Gea had prepared a super scrumptious dinner consisting of a avo salad with fried camberbert cheese and oven potatoes. This combo really hit the spot and I was fortunate that not everyone had the massive appetite I did so I got to enjoy seconds and then thirds. Mark is an artist and works on sculptures and Picasso type paintings (a lot revolving around famous political figures). So after dinner he gave us a tour in their vintage (think 1600’s era) house of his work and we were both pretty impressed with his craftsmanship. I particularly liked the sculptures which were done in wood, marble and bronze. We called it shortly after and were soon in the land of deep sleep you can only truly experience in a bed.

#TheCasualtyList…Items worth counting on this epic…
Hazelnut spread jar count: 10
Jam jar count: 7
Honey jar count: 1
Brake pads cooked: 2
Gear cables: 1
Chains: 2
# fuel bottles: 3 litres of denatured alcohol, 1x 250g gas bottle
# Sporks broken: 1
# knives broken: 1
# knicks destroyed/used beyond use: 1
# shoes broken: 1 pair sandals

-B
-edited by E

Day 43 – 17th July
Noordbroek to Pingjum Netherlands

Transport: Bicycles 115km average speed 21.1km/hour

Highs and lows: we woke up and to be honest I was ravenous. The sickness of fatigue and stomach upset I had been feeling for the past week had finally passed and my body was obviously trying to recoup some of the lost calories. Lucky for me both Mark and Gea had prepared some bread with spreads. There is this one spread that is like apple marmalade which smells terrible (think molasses or wheat fields left to slightly rot) but tastes delicious. Definitely one that will be added to the casualty list shortly 😬. We were soon on our way making our way towards the biggest dyke in the Netherlands. The Afsluitdijk is about 30km long and forms a dam for the North Western region.

A side note it’s interesting to note that many areas of the Netherlands are actually lower than sea level which is way there are soooooo many canals. The Dutch are renowned world wide for the damming process and water working abilities (think of them of as the human beavers). Anyways about half way we decided to take a quick break which shortly turned into a long mid arvo snooze break 🙄.

After this long refreshment we finally felt like we had the energy to pedal the final kms to a farm where we had organised to camp in the farmers backyard (wild camping is illegal in the Netherlands like most of Europe however there are a few free Poll Campsites dotted throughout the country – more on this see entry after Amsterdam). Emm had tee’d up the greenery through W.S with the host Arjan who was actually overseas himself on a adventure but had made prior arrangements with his rents Alida and Johannes to house would be vagrants like ourselves. We met with Alida who quickly insisted we take our sleeping bags and sleep in one of the spare guest rooms rather than deal with the hassle of setting and packing up a tent. We were not expecting this in any way and were greatly appreciative of her hospitality. The pair had already had dinner themselves but allowed us to use their kitchen to prepare our own dinner so we busted out some pre seasoned potatoes and a mix salad we had bought earlier and got to work. Emm was dubious about the fact we had bought 1kg of potato for dinner but my hunger was returning (it was pretty low this past week due to fatigue and sickness) and knew we would give the dinner a good crack. We did not disappoint and only a small bowl of the dinner was left over. With a full stomach our circadian rhythm kicked in and we promptly passed into the abyss.

Farm stay delirium VIDEO

Emma’s cat empire in Pingjum VIDEO

#TheCasualtyList…Items worth counting on this epic…
Status quo from the 16th July

-B
-edited by E

Day 44 – 18 July

Pingjum to Amsterdam, Holland

Transport: bicycles 123.6km 21.9km/hr

It’s a video diary day!!

We crossed the longest Dutch dyke and met a fantastic couple Frouke and Kiran so the diary is mostly videos! This couple was a real highlight for us.

Crossing the Longest Dyke VIDEO

TTing on a touring bike VIDEO

Holland Clogs VIDEO

Entering Amsterdam Peak Hour Cycling!

Amerstam City Bike Ferry VIDEO

Weaving in Peak Hour Cycling VIDEO

Kiran’ s Amsterdam Indian Dinner Part 1

Kiran’s Amsterdam Indian Dinner Part 2

Day 45 and 46 – 19 and 20 July
Amsterdam, Holland

More videos/photos since we were having such a rad time in Amsterdam there wad no time to type out our happenings.

Day 45 Bicycles 34.7km at 12km per hour
Day 46 Bicycles 21.1km at 13.4km per hour

Amsterdam Music Yo VIDEO

Amsterdam Second Hand Supermarket VIDEO

Amsterdam ADM Festival VIDEO

Amsterdam Summary 1 VIDEO

Amsterdam Summary 2 VIDEO

Day 47 – 21st July

Amsterdam to De Donk Netherlands

Transport: Bicycles 102km average speed 21.8km/hour

Highs and lows: today was a late get up mainly owing to the 3.30am bedtime call we had following the ADM festival. We were pretty slow to get going and what was meant to be a post breakfast roll soon turned out later to be a mid arvo rollout 😬. But more on that later…first up we woke up and decided to cook up scrambled eggs for Frouke and Kiran but somehow got turned into Kiran making us some of his famous Indian curry eggs…let’s just say I’m pretty good when it come to trading up for food 😜. Kiran is a legit natural master chef and the Indian Curry eggs were so on point I still felt famished after pumping 3 (you all know that feeling when you eat something super tasty and you just feel hungrier??? No??? maybe just me then 🤔).

Anyways the real reason we were so late to depart was the fact we were really just enjoying chilling out with this awesome pair. Over the course of 3 days we felt we had really developed some life long friends with the two and were already scheming on how we could intercept them on their own long term cycle adventure that is soon to commence (going from the east back home to the Netherlands).

We did eventually get our stuff together and rolled out the door bur soon stopped so that I could jimmy up a fix for a permanent phone mount using the GoPro mount located under my bicycle computer mount. I did get it working and was pretty chuffed with the final result as I was able to reuse parts which I have been carrying around Europe and not using (with bike packing you always want items that have dual or multiple purposes in the everlasting pursuit of minimising gear – volume and weight).

We then made our way towards Muiden where there was a sweet Disney like castle and which marked the start of the river Vecht.

Holland Castle VIDEO

We cruised this river up till Utrecht where we bought some dinner supplies and set up at a nearby park. We ran a pretty simple dinner of pasta with mixed veges and baked beans as a sauce (weird but totally works). We felt pretty good post this wholesome meal and felt up to the task of pedalling the final 50km to camp. Now there are these free sites located throughout the Netherlands (and also Belgium) where you can camp for free provided you are within a certain distance of a poll – this leads to the name of Polk camping or Paalkamepeer as it is known in Dutch (see https://sites.google.com/site/paalkampeerders/kaart). There are rules with how many campersare allowed at each site but the sites are generally small so naturally limit the amount of campers anyways. Aiming for one of these Paalkamper spots this presents a risk you will have now where to camp if the place is full up. Unfortunately for us it was getting late so we knew we had to put the hammer down to ensure we made it to the site near De Donk before midnight 😳. We didn’t really have any other option so we just rode and arrived at 11.20pm.

Night Riding Holland VIDEO

Luckily for us there were only 3 other campers present (canoe guys – waaaaay cool way to tour Netherlands in my opinion with the vast canal network although maybe stinky in some areas in summer). We quietly made camp and were so tired we didn’t even get fully changed into our non-cycling kit before hitting the sack.

#TheCasualtyList…Items worth counting on this epic…
Hazelnut spread jar count: 11
Jam jar count: 7
Honey jar count: 1
Brake pads cooked: 2
Gear cables: 1
Chains: 2
# fuel bottles: 3 litres of denatured alcohol, 1x 250g gas bottle
# Sporks broken: 1
# knives broken: 1
# knicks destroyed/used beyond use: 1
# shoes broken: 1 pair sandals

-B
-edited by E

Day 48 – 22nd July
De Donk to Vlissingen Netherlands

Transport: 126.4km average speed 22.9km/hour

Highs and lows: we woke around 7am inline with the other campers who were breaking their own overnight fasts. We decided to pack it and have breaky on the road as the flys were starting to mass owing to the nearby water canals (ie breeding grounds). We rode about 10 clicks and found a good parkup with blackberries in abundance 😋. This made for a pretty delicious start to the day mixing it in with our standard hot oats and raisins.

Morning Netherlands VIDEO

We then rode about another 70km in search for the perfect lunch parkup spot and eventually settling for some stools and tables of a cafe which was closed for the day.

Drafting Random Dutchies VIDEO

It was a scorcher again and it took us a while to get going but once we had the #sweatchill going we soon found ourselves in Vlissingen where we hooked up with Froujke and Peter (who we met later that evening) who were gracious to offer us a roof for the night.

These guys are cycle devotees themselves and have had a year long sabbatical touring through Canada and the USA! They have hosted a literal horde of W.S guests and love the community surrounding it. It’s not a surprise then that we found that we really hit it off with the pair. Froujke provided a lot of valuable info for travelling through Belgium which really helped in the days to come. I also found out Peter was a veritable chess and backgammon champion who loves classical music 🎵 so after dinner I challenged him to a game whilst relaxing to some classical jazz (Peter is you read this please tell me the name of the singer?? I want to add to my Spotify playlist 🙄…#kidsthesedays). The only way I can describe how the match proceeded was that Peter was so good he made it look like I had just learned to play chess.

Now I’m not claiming to be the next Kasparov (one of the great chess champions of the ages) but I do fancy that I have a modicum of ability. Anyways I did learn how to checkmate using and sacrificial queen or rook and only 2 knights which was very interesting. We all called it a night at 10.30pm and were soon fast asleep in the comfort of another house. W.S community I applaud you 👏.

#TheCasualtyList…Items worth counting on this epic…
Status quo from earlier

-B
-edited by E

Day 49 – 23rd July

Vlissingen to Ghent Netherlands

Transport: Bicycles 91.1km average speed 20.4km/hour

Highs:
– Woke up this morning to a lovely breakfast of eggs,homemade granola, and noteably peanut butter on toast with chocolate sprinkle!! The Dutch love chocolate sprinkles rather than just a spread on toast and I’m not going to say no – Emma’s #BeausBowl rating a solid 5/5 #chocolate lover
– Absolutely scenic ride from Vlissingen to Bruge. Firstly a ferry to follow the sandy coast and then we followed tree lined canals for the first 45km into Bruge – what a treat!! The ride was simply stunning.

– A quick look at the beautiful old buildings in Bruge and our parkup where we discovered speculoos. Haven’t had this spread in years – amazing. Enjoyed especially by Beau on a waffle with banana.

#BeausBowl waffles VIDEO

Rolling into Bruges VIDEO

Beau’s Bruges Summary VIDEO

– Meeting our lovely new hosts from warmshowers Pieter, Jessica and 13 month old Robin. Seriously the nicest people you could ever imagine. Loved spending time with them and sharing fresh vegetable pasta from the garden yum!! Robin is so cute, one of those little ones with a relaxed happy personality. We chatted for ages comparing Belgium to Australia and just general chit chat about life. Great evening finished with ice cream and a really nice bed. What a cool family.

Vege Pasta Night in Belgium VIDEO

Lows:
– Not sure if I should be complaining about this but it is getting hot!! It was mid thirties today and riding in that temp I find hard. One of these days we will start riding early I guess lol. About 3pm I am melting so perhaps this could be a good afternoon nap timeslot lol.

#TheCasualtyList…Items worth counting on this epic…
Hazelnut spread jar count: 11
Jam jar count: 7
Honey jar count: 1
Speculoose: 1
Brake pads cooked: 2
Gear cables: 1
Chains: 2
# fuel bottles: 3 litres of denatured alcohol, 1x 250g gas bottle
# Sporks broken: 1
# knives broken: 1
# knicks destroyed/used beyond use: 1
# shoes broken: 1 pair sandals

-E

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