The great social experiment of the latter 20th century that was Communism is finally coming to an end. I’ve just visited the last bastion of Communism – North Korea – for my second time and the changes are dramatic. Continue reading “North Korea: Communist No More”
When most people think of North Korea they imagine a dictatorship closed to all outsiders. Surprisingly, it’s actually quite easy to visit. The hardest part is applying for a Chinese visa, as you have to go through China (or Russia) first. Here’s what it’s like to fly from Beijing to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.
Continue reading “Flying to North Korea”
China has an ancient history but the country is technically quite young. After a brutal occupation by Japan up until the end of WWII and a civil war that forced the losing side out to Taiwan, Mao Zedong and his Communist Party formed The People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Seventy years later, I just happen to be in Beijing. What better place to join in the celebrations.
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.
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.
Day 6 – Rotterdam to Gouda – 49 km
We say goodbye to Rotterdam, crossing over the Erasmusbrug bridge, the second largest in the Netherlands.
Day 4 – The Hague to Brielle – 54 km
From The Hague, we cycle along the coastline to The Hook of Holland, a spit of land at the mouth of a major shipping channel.
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”.
A New Adventure
After spending the first half of this year hiking long distance trails in New Zealand and the Canadian Rockies, I’m excited to begin a completely different kind of adventure. I’m off to Amsterdam to aimlessly cycle through the flat countryside of the Netherlands while snacking on stroopwafel and Gouda cheese.