Last week I started a tour on my bicycle throughout The Netherlands. I planned a week free of freelance work and left with a full bag of camping supplies and my bicycle. The aim was to cycle The Netherlands completely in 8 days. On my bike I went from my birthplace Alblasserdam to the Veluwe (nature area in the middle of The Netherlands), to the Drentse Aa (nature area in the east of The Netherlands) towards the northern coast and found my way back through the province Noord-Holland (in the west of The Netherlands).
On the map you can see the journey. The crosses are the places where I’ve camped in the wild. In this blog I share the adventures during the first part of this great cycle-touring experience.
The first day is always one to realize where I get myself into. I just started cycling and I’m still wondering why I started this whole cycling The Netherlands thing. Can I even cycle The Netherlands in 8 days? Is it save to camp out there in the nature? Am I adequately trained to do this? Do I feel lonely in my tent? I just don’t know and I will see what is going to happen…
After the first 100 kilometers I arrive in the evening at the Hoge Veluwe, a nature area in the middle of The Netherlands. My first night in the wild will be a fact! The sun is shining, the nature is beautiful. After 100 kilometers of cycling I am remembering again why I do this. This speaks for itself, this is peace, no crowds, just completely loneliness surrounded with nature.
Cycling, cycling and more cycling. Landscapes change in hills, flat meadows, many cows and busy and less busy roads. After the second day I arrive in Havezathe The Klencke, in the province Drenthe in the east of The Netherlands. A beautiful nature area where I set up my tent behind some bushes.
I’m not even ready and am suddenly overwhelmed by a wild flock inquisitive bulls. For the moment I don’t know what to do! I quickly get myself behind a tree, but they follow and I am standing eye to eye with ten wild bulls. I remember the sign at the entrance: “keep at least 25 meters distance from the wild animals because they can respond unpredictable”. Also my girlfriend Lisa in Rotterdam intervenes to a solution and can’t find anything on Google… So here I am. Help! How do I get myself back there to get my stuff?
Sweat on my forehead. Fortunately I know to distract them and the leader of the flock follows me towards the forest. After half an hour playing a cat and mouse game I ran back to my stuff, grab my tent and go safely outside the gates to camp wild somewhere without these bulls. What an evening, I still can’t believe what just happened.
Early in the morning I take my stuff and continue my trip through the province Drenthe towards the north. In a village called Meppen I ask at a pension for a coffee. The area is only open for logies. Simone, with Jaap the owner of The Tramlokaal, receives me warmly and 15 minutes later I’m eating a big breakfast where in my deepest wild camping dreams I do not dare to dream of.
After a nice conversation they notice that I doesn’t have to pay any cent for this wonderful breakfast! Whoo, that is awesome, what a great hospitality of this people. “I will definitely recommend you guys on my blog!”, I shout happily when I get back on my bike. I am now fully aware again of how generous people can be. This feels good!
Kilometers later I arrive in the Drentse Aa. This is one of the most beautiful nature areas in the east of The Netherlands. I have taken a wrong turn and ended up in the middle of the Balloërveld. Here I have to push my bicycle kilometers through the sand.
After kilometers of cycling I get myself into the city Groningen in the north of The Netherlands. My friend Erwin is already waiting for me for a RAW SLEEP-OUT. Together with Erwin and his friend Patrick I departure out of the city towards the nature again.
I have to cycle to Groningen for this but these guys are worth to cycle for. We had a wonderful night in a forest, enjoying a delicious tomato soup which we made on a cozy afternoon campfire. Later in the evening we get in our tents to sleep and I wake up a few times from noisy frogs. Never mind, this is pure nature and I love it!
And yes, I wake up and realize that my week cycling is cut in half. No one can take this away anymore. I already come this far and will finish cycling the Netherlands! Now the rest is of course a breeze!
Erwin and I prepare ourselves for tomorrow to leave towards the coast on our bicycles, we are going to start a trip along the entire coast of the province Friesland in search of that one ultimate herring in Harlingen (a fishers town in the north-west of The Netherlands).
It seems that the trip will not become an easy one… sweat. mosquitos and fatigue along the way but still more free food! Two woolly fluff beards on a trip. Are we gonna make it?Here you can find the second part >>>