Day 1 – Amsterdam – 42 km
We pick up our comfy cruiser bikes from Mike’s Bike Rental in central Amsterdam and carefully strap on all our worldly possessions for the next two weeks. It’s time to explore Europe’s “low countries”.
We quickly discover why the Netherlands are so great for cycling. For one, it’s flat. That means we’re riding heavy but comfortable bikes, sitting upright on big plush seats. Sluggish up hills, yes, but there are practically no hills in Europe’s flattest country.
Another reason Holland is so good for cycling is that everyone does it here and not just for fun but as a primary means of transportation. The pathways are well designed and well maintained. Drivers are courteous since they’re cyclists themselves. Unlike many other countries, it’s a safe activity. That’s why no one wears helmets, unthinkable in North America.
Our first day is a short one. We make our way through the busy streets of Amsterdam, out into green farmland, and find ourselves in the little village of Nieuw-Vennep, just south of the airport, right around the time we feel like finding a place to sleep.
Day 2 – The Hague – 50 km
We check the map and decide to head to The Hague. Soon we come to a canal and realize that the road crosses a drawbridge and a boat is about to pass through. We relish in watching the road surface tilt up until it’s nearly overtop of us, allowing the boat to glide by. I’m sure all the locals are amused by our child-like fascination.
The Hague is home to the U.N.’s International Court of Justice and we feel that we’ve arrived in a very official place where we need to be on our best behavior.
It’s a beautiful city with an interesting mix of modern and historic architecture.
Day 3 – Exploring The Hague
The next morning we awake to cold rain, so we decide to take a day off cycling to visit the Escher museum.
I enjoy the trickery of this famous Dutch artist.
Tomorrow we get back on the bikes and see where we end up…