My next overseas trip wasn’t quite my ideal holiday, but when offered the opportunity to tag along with someone to a new place, I always grab it with both hands. I had been cycling for a couple of months and my new bicycle had traveled a couple of miles. so I felt confident enough to go along with a cycling holiday to Europe. Our itinerary started in Amsterdam, and we would cycle our way down to Arnhem, and then take a train through to Bonn, Germany. We dismantled our bicycles in Cape Town, boxed them up and checked them in as our check in luggage.When we arrived in Amsterdam, the weather was chilly and overcast. It was the end of May, which is the start of the summer months in Europe.
We had to stand outside the airport and reassemble our bicycles. Our day to day luggage was anything that could fit into our side panniers and backpacks. Because we were cycling to our destinations, there was no room for any excess baggage. Clothes needed to be lightweight, shopping was kept to a minimal (A real blessing with the rand/euro exchange rate), and any toiletries that were heavy were bought in small quantities when needed. After assembling everyone’s bicycles and throwing away our boxes, we headed off to find our accommodation. .
In South Africa, we drive/cycle on the left hand side of the road. In Amsterdam, it is the opposite. When cycling down the paths in the city, I got such a fright at someone zooming passed me that I automatically veered right. Unfortunately for me the pavement was waiting to make me a victim. I crashed to the ground and suffered humiliation on my first day. I got up, had my friend straighten my handlebars, and slowly cycled off with a bruised ego and a bleeding hand. Luckily for me, that was the first and last accident on this trip.
I really enjoyed the traffic laws that were available for cyclists. Separate paths, cycling robots and the bells were a great reminder of how a city can function well without the constant car fumes spluttering everywhere. Of course I must add, even for myself as a regular cyclist, I was often intimidated and scared out of my wits while cycling here. Everyone whizzes passed so incredibly fast.
I wish I had written down the name of the hostel site we stayed in, as they were cute and affordable. There was a small restaurant on the premises, where we ate dinner that night (11eu for a small pizza), and breakfast every morning. The showers were as clean as can be expected for a hostel and campsite, with an 0.80c charge to use them. The accommodation options included cabins, tents and caravans (this was a very busy spot). There was a petting farm animal pen which was great for the kids to experience, as well as myself (I am a sucker for animals). If I can pick up the name of the accommodation in my emails, I will edit this later 🙂
After the long flight and cycling to find our spot, we decided on an early night. We were in bed just before 10pm, and amazingly it was still light outside. The following day was going to be spent like a tourist, so I needed to look alive for pictures!