Maastricht to Lelystad

From 01/05/2013 to 07/05/2013

Day 1 – Friday 01/05
Maastricht to Asselt  – 70kms

We got on the road at 09:45. It was a bit later than planed because for all the preparations we’ve done we still managed to forget to get a new ground sheet for the tent. So ended up waiting for the DIY shop to open at 09:00.
The day turned out to be great for cycling, sunny and warm and if it weren’t for the slight head wind it would have been perfect. When we reached the city of Roermond we stopped at the ANWB shop (tourist/travel shop) so I could pick up a new rain jacket. Not what I really wanted , a bit overpriced and not enough ventilation. Anyway I’ve got something in case of rain.
We have ridden this route before so nothing new to see or write about. It’s a nice flat route following the river Maas North.
It’s just great to be back on the road again. Just one day on the bike and we’re already feeling relaxed.
Camping here is OK I guess and I stil think anything over €10 for 4 square meters of grass for the night and the use of a toilet and shower is expensive.

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First picture of every tour so far has been in front of our house ready to hit the road.

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Rest stop about 20kms  North of Maastricht along the river Maas.

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Riding through a cherry orchard in full bloom after Roermond.

Day 2 – Saturday 02/05
Asselt to near Afferden – 69kms Total 139kms

we were on the road by 09:45 on another great cycling day. It started out overcast but by noon it cleared up and with the sun came warmth and the ride became much more enjoyable. The ride was along the well maintained cycling path LF3b (Maastricht to Arnhem) and some local (numbered) cycling paths (that also have a map in every junction) and through very beautiful villages. Never stops to amaze me how well organized this country is for cyclists.
The camping is located in a place called Hengeland, just North of Afferde and is highly recommended. At €9 for two with tent, coin operated showers (a full 7 minutes), doors/sinks/toilets all worked with sensors.

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Old castle along the Maas.

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Beautiful villa with a private lake and surrounded by woods.

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Map of the round of Holland cycling network. We’re already planning this tour.

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Relaxing with a few cold ones at the very nice camping.

Day 3 – Sunday 03/05
Afferden to Arnhem – 75kms Total 214kms

Another great day cycling. After a good nights sleep we finally got on the road at 10:15. We started a bit later today because according to our map it was only 40 to 50 kms, but due to some road works in Nijmegen signposts were missing and we ended up taking some detours which added the kms.
The weather was perfect the whole day and we really enjoyed the ride, even with the detour.
The plan for tomorrow is for a rest day and check out the zoo in Arnhem. We found the VVV (tourist office) and got the directions to the nearest camping to the zoo which also made it more expensive at double of yesterdays rat at €18. The pitch was good and they even provided benches with tables, but the facilities were a bit dated and not enough as there were lines for the showers.

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Gennep town center.

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Great cycling paths.

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And fantastic weather.

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Crossing the Waal in Nijmegen.

Day 4 – Monday 04/05
Arnhem – Rest day

It was yet another great day with perfect weather. About 10:00 we walked to the zoo where we spent half the day wandering around this beautiful place checking out all the animals and the nicely created havitats that they live in. Normally we don’t like zoo’s, we believe all the animals should road free in the wild but there are two sides to this. It’s a great place for the endangered species, and the ones that aren’t endangered well, they got better health and dental than most of us 🙂
The Burgerszoo in Arnhem is one of the oldest in Europe, it dates back to 1913. We highly recommend it and if you’re in the area and have some time, check it out.
For the rest of the day we just lay in the sun with several cold ones listening to Cantoma and chillin.

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The near extinct Socorro Dove, Zenaida Graysoni is one example of the work that zoo’s do.

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A description but unfortunately in Dutch. To find out more of this dove please Google it.

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Some of these habitats were really elaborate.

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You’d think there is nothing there but these places were crawling with critters.

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The jungle scenes were particularly nice.

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Just an amazing experience. We haven’t visited a zoo since our daughter was very young.
Seems a long time ago, and much has changed since then, in the way zoo’s are run .

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Even the huge aquarium was nicely done.

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And they had some big fish in those tanks.

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It was nice to see that they were using natural barriers for the animals.

Day 5 – Tuesday 05/05
Arnhem to Elburg – 75kms Total 289kms

Another fantastic day of cycling. The weather was warm at 19°c and sunny. Riding through the Hoge Veluwe National Park was better than the first time which was cold, drizzling and low cloud cover. This time around the whole day was wonderful with beautiful views and light winds.
We tried for a camping in Elburg but the cheapest we could find was €25 with €10 deposit for using the shower. So we just got out of there and started looking for another camping. It didn’t take long to find another camping at €16 for a rough piece patch of grass and dated facilities. But the shower was warm and electricity was included in the price.

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Love cycling on roads like these.

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There is a lot of war history in these parts and many museums you can visit.

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More fantastic riding.

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The Hoge Veluwe National Park

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Strange looking landscape for Northern Europe.

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We can do this all day long 😉

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Our camping spot at sunset.

Day 6 – Wednesday 06/05
Elburg to Lemmer – 76kms Total 365kms

Started at 09:15 on yet another beautiful day. We continued on following the numbered cycling paths through fields, woods, on top of dikes and through picturesque little villages.
Lemmer is on the Ijsselmeer (inland sea) created by the Afsluitdijk witch was built  to protect a good part of Holland from the North sea. It has some nice looking beaches  and some people were actually swimming but you wouldn’t catch either of us in that very cold water.
For its location the camping is very well priced, very clean and right next to the town center with all its shops and restaurants.
Later in the evening  we checked out a really nice pizzeria in town to celebrate our 26th anniversary.
We also checked out the weather forecast looked bad. Tomorrow would still be good for most of the day but than some serious weather was coming so it was time to make some decisions. Our original plan was to cycle another four or five days , but the bad weather was predicted to last at least three days so we decided to turn around and head to Lelystad were we could catch the train back home.
We had a whole week (in May) with perfect sunny and warm weather which is rare in Holland. It’s like winning the lottery 🙂
We figured why spoil the nice experience with forcing it and getting wet and cold for the last couple of days.

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A lot of flat riding in the North of Holland.

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Lunch stop, with some exciting flat country side.

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A beautiful village along the way.

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And more exciting scenery.

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That dot in the middle of the picture is Monique.

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The beach near the camping in Lemmer.

Day 7 – Thursday 07/05
Lemmer to Lelystad to Maastricht – 64kms Total 429kms

We wer on the road by 09:30 and made our way to the nearest bakery for some supplies than headed South in the direction of Urk, about 25kms away. Urk is an old fishing village with a lot of history and traditons so we were keen on visiting the place.
The wind today was very strong and it just got worst as the day progressed. First it was almost a tail wind than  it became a crosswind and by the time we reached Lelystad it was almost a headwind which made cycling quite difficult.
The cycling path took us along the water front for a while but somehow we missed a turn and ended up riding through very large and colorful tulip fields. And I can tell you the aroma of a few hundred thousand tulips is something else. We’ve noticed that sometimes its nice to loose our way.
Half way to Urk we found a side road that lead to the sea but as soon as we got near we were swarmed by thousands of small flies so cycled back to the tulip fields.
After Urk we cycled along the water front. The wind had picked up so there weren’t any flies but the headwind was really tough and made progress real slow.
By the time we reached Lelystad we were tired. We found the train station easy enough, got our tickets at half price ((thanks to Monique for keeping an eye out for sales) for Maastricht and 15 minutes later we were on our way to Amsterdam and 15 minutes after that we were on the intercity express on the way to Maastricht.
I would like to mention that right after Amsterdam it started to rain. Great timing 😉

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The lovely Tulip fields.

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The fields looked endless.

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If you haven’t ridden along large Tulip fields you should give it a try.

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And a wide veriaty of colors.

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More great cycling.

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It gets windy around these parts.

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Just managed to capture a few of the thousands of flies along the water front.

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Urk from the harbour.

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One of the many fishing boats in Urk harbour.

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Typical village houses in Urk. These places looked really small.

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Small beach in Urk.

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This is a memorial with the names of all the man from Urk who were lost at see.
It dates back to the 1700’s.

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And the statue of a woman waiting for her man to come home.
We thought it was a very nice memorial.

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Getting on the cycling path along the water front.

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And a few kilometers later turning off and going inland.

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Epilogue

It was a great ride and a good preparation for our upcoming tour to Munich in June.
Again we were extremely lucky to have had such wonderful weather for a whole week. The bad weather did come as it was predicted with storms, heavy rains and floods, throughout the whole are we would have been riding in. So the plan to return home when we did was the right one after all.

Continue to our Summer tour of 2013, Germany, France, Belgium Part 1.