Day 6 – Rotterdam to Gouda – 49 km
We say goodbye to Rotterdam, crossing over the Erasmusbrug bridge, the second largest in the Netherlands.
At the village of Kinderdijk, we are amazed to find some of the best preserved windmills in the whole country. I don’t think you could find a more classically Dutch image.
We’re happy when we get to Gouda and find it to be a charming little town, crisscrossed by canals and leafy cobblestone streets.
At the center of the town sits a beautiful cathedral, surrounded by restaurants serving fresh mussels and, of course, Gouda cheese. I rarely eat dairy products but, I have to admit, it’s pretty good.
Day 7 – Gouda to Utrecht – 46 km
Leaving Gouda, we cycle through bright green fields and along narrow lanes running between sparkling lakes.
It’s a warm day and we get thirsty quickly in the hot sun. Alongside the road we spot what looks like a cyclist-friendly cafe. It turns out to be a private cycling club but the members are excited to meet three Canadians travelling around their country by bike and invite us in.
Refreshed, we continue to De Haar Castle, a spectacular sight. I love that in the Netherlands you can cycle almost at random, never find yourself on a busy road, and somehow come across ancient castles and imposing cathedrals.
We arrive in Utrecht in the evening, as college students picnic along the canals, soaking up the warm autumn sun. Days like these are special.
Day 8 – Rain Day in Utrecht
We awake to another rainy morning, so decide it’s a good day to explore some more of the city’s sights. We visit the grand Dom Kirk. Unfortunately, the exterior is undergoing a multi-year restoration (the last one was in 1975), but the interior is still awe inspiring.
We climb 400 steep steps up the Dom Tower (so we still get in a decent workout despite not cycling). The tower houses massive church bells, some weighing over five tonnes! How the people of the 1600s managed to hoist these giants 100+ meters into the air is a mystery.
We can’t climb right to the top of the tower due to the renovations but even from this high we have great views of the city.
A day off is also a good opportunity to try some local cuisine (i.e. eat all day long). I’m not sure Dutch food is the healthiest but it’s certainly tasty.
We enjoy the bitterballen & croquettes, deep fried treats filled with cheese, meat, or veggies.
To work off those extra calories, I spend the afternoon looking for cats to pet. I always seem to find furry friends wherever I go.
Our lonely bikes will just have to wait for tomorrow for more miles and more Dutch discoveries.