Day 9 – Utrecht to Hilversum – 36 km

After visiting the vibrant collage town of Utrecht, we join a cycling path along the Dutch Water Line. Now a peaceful greenway, this series of sluices, dikes, and forts was constructed beginning in the 1620s as a military defense against the Spanish, French, and English. It took until 1815 to complete! When you live in such a low country, flooding low-lying areas to keep attackers out is a brilliant idea.

Along the waterline we pass through Breukelen. New York’s Brooklyn was named after this town. Sil is excited when we see the sign announcing our arrival. Brooklyn is where she started her cross-America ride two summers ago.

We take a detour off the waterline to Hilversum. Along the way we come to a train crossing. It seems to be taking forever and there’s no train in sight. A crowd gathers, waiting patiently. Everyone could easily just cross the rail line but no one does. The Dutch are so well behaved 🙂

Hilversum turns out to be a bit boring but it has the only affordable accommodation we can find and we enjoy the opportunity to stay in a local’s house.

Day 10 – Amsterdam Noord – 63 km

Back on the waterline we pass by pretty farms and old imposing forts.

As we approach the outskirts of Amsterdam, there’s a funny mix of industry and agriculture. Sheep graze under big powerlines and busy highways appear in the distance.

The path brings us to another sort of drawbridge. This one retracts on rail lines. I love all the varied movable bridges in the Netherlands. So important in a country where everything is moved on boats.

It looks like a ship didn’t wait long enough for this bridge to get out of the way!

We skirt around Amsterdam itself to Amsterdam Noord where we find a lovely canal house to spend the night.

It’s charmingly cozy. We open a window and a white swan swims right up, looking for a treat. Favourite accommodation so far!

Even though we’re so close to Amsterdam, we’re not heading back quite yet. Next we cycle out to the sea and another town that inspired New York City…

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