Homeward Bound!

12/8/17. Train ticket pricing meant that it made sense to break or our journey from Koblenz to the Hook of Holland close to the German/Dutch border (German railways have an excellent value “deal” for two people travelling together that applies across Germany but not on international services). So on Tuesday, after cycling into Koblenz, we caught the train as far as Emmerich – on the Rhine and 7 km ride from the border.

There we found another excellent campsite which was really just a field on what appeared to be a working farm but with very good sanitation facilities. Again there were no registration formalities so that is another €12 that will, we suspect, escape the German tax system!

The next morning we rode the short distance to Zevenaar station. Crossing the border was, of course, low key (marked by a restaurant of all things) but we both felt a change in “atmosphere”. Maybe it was the windmill, maybe it was the even better cycling infrastructure, maybe it was that it appeared more populated and built up. Probably it was a continuation of all of these things.

Just on the cycling infrastructure – it was a fairly narrow road, just wide enough to allow two lanes of traffic. In Britain we would paint a dotted white line down the middle to keep vehicles travelling in opposite directions apart. That is NOT what they do in Holland! They have two lanes of different coloured tarmac 1½ metres wide on each side for bikes and a single wide lane down the middle for motorised traffic. If two cars going in opposite directions happen to meet then, provided there are no bikes nearby, the cars can encroach into the cycle lanes to pass without slowing too much. The entitlement of bikes to use their lanes is reinforced by very short stretches of bollards between the cycle lanes and the vehicle lane every few hundred metres.

How sensible is that? Please can we have it in the UK?

From Zevenaar two changes of train took us to Rotterdam Central where we alighted and rode the 30 km to Hook of Holland alongside the last stretch of the Rhine. There we checked into the campsite at which we stayed last year when riding along the North Sea coast to Dieppe.

We booked the ferry to Harwich several weeks ago while we were in Finland so that we could meet up with our son and daughter-in-law when they are in the UK (summer holidays from Bahrain). As a result, we had two days to “spare” in Hook of Holland. On Thursday Stephen took the opportunity to ride to the Intertek office nearby to meet with Cornell which was good fun.  Christine spent the day in The Hague which was not a huge success as it took longer to get there than expected and it was not full of canals and pretty buildings.

Friday was much better for sight seeing as we both went to Delft which was both closer and prettier. A trip is heartily recommended!

Saturday morning passed slowly waiting for the tent to dry after the overnight rain and then for boarding on the ferry to start just after midday.

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