Day 11 – Haarlem – 60 km

We catch a free ferry to Amsterdam. I like how everyone rides their bikes off the boat instead of walking.

Instead of going into the busy center, we meander through nice green parks out of the city.

We reach the sea at IJmuiden, a port city that boasts some of the largest sea locks in the world.

It’s a bit of a rough industrial area. After the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, many people fled the country from these shores, including the Dutch Royal family.

During the occupation, the Germans removed the entire civilian population to create a heavily fortified area.

Heading back inland, we cycle to Haarlem, another Dutch town that inspired the naming of a borough of New York City. In fact, Manhattan was originally known as New Amsterdam and much of the eastern US was New Netherland.

Haarlem is a beautiful city with a grand cathedral surrounded by a lively public square. We enjoy wandering through the streets, soaking up the warm evening sun.

Day 12 – Zuid-Kennemerland National Park – 33 km

The Netherlands are pretty densely populated, so the Dutch are rather proud of the few natural areas they do have. From Haarlem we cycle through the sand dunes of Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, back out to the sea.

Each time we visit a beach in Holland, we always find a tractor landscaping the sand. Here, they’re making a raised sand road across a wet area so you can get right to the shore without getting your feet wet. How nice 🙂

On the way back we stop at the ruins of Brederode Castle, built in the early 1200s! There’s so much history in Europe.

Day 13 – Back to Amsterdam – 29 km

Our final day of cycling is a short one as we follow pathways past the busy airport and into even busier Amsterdam. It’s a beautiful Saturday and everyone is out enjoying themselves.

It’s been a great journey. Over the last two weeks, we’ve cycled 500 km through peaceful green fields, along sparkling blue canals, and we’ve soaked up this country’s rich history in its ancient castles, grand churches, and WWII monuments.

6 thoughts on “The Real Harlem

  1. Did you get to the Red Light District on your Amsterdam travels? We stayed at a B&B situated between the Hemp, Hashish & Marijuana Museum when there a couple years ago.

    1. That’s one place we really wanted to visit but we received an invitation to dinner in Brussels from a friend I met while cycling in Vietnam, so we decided to skip the Red Light district and head straight to Brussels. Sounds like I’ll have to go back!

  2. What a great trip! Love the little nugget about NYC :-). Sean and I dropped my car off for a repair this afternoon – then rode our bikes back home. Was thinking we needed to plan a cycling trip – maybe next year – thanks for the further inspiration :-).

    1. Cycling is such a great way to discover and explore a new place. I hope you have a great trip! I’m starting to think about my next cycling trip already too!

  3. 6 Oct. Nice photos Justin. Are still going to cycle in the eastern parts of Holland and the south? It is very nice country side.

    Michael T.

    1. Thanks Michael. I would definitely like to see the eastern parts of Holland and the south. For this trip, I think a loop is the best choice. I definitely want to return and hopefully hire a bike that is a little better at going long distances.

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