The last few days of our Tulip Bike and Boat Tour were a satisfying smattering of so many sights and experiences it’s hard to narrow it all down into a short blog post. But it’s time to say goodbye to the Netherlands and move on to our next destination – Germany. Before we go, here’s the final days of our Netherlands trip in a very small nutshell.
We must have used up all the wind on our biking day, because our sailing day was plagued with no wind. Hardly a breeze. But we hoisted the sails anyway just for the experience and with the help some engine work, headed south from Oudisen over the Waddenzee (Wadden Sea) towards the large inland fresh water lake of Ijsselmeer. To move the boat from the sea into the lake required a series of locks at the port of Den Oever where a 20 mile dyke (Afsluitdijk) extends across the bay to Friesland on the other side. Years ago, this extensive dyke was built to divide the Zuiderzee (Zuider Sea) in an effort to control flooding in northern Holland. The result was a successful and impressive form of water works engineering that would have made the early Romans envious. The Zuiderzee was no longer a sea inlet and was renamed Ijsselmeer (Lake Ijssel.) Today, the land is protected against the eroding high tides, and the lake supports a thriving freshwater ecosystem.
The last full day of biking on our tour was the best. A small group of five riders ventured out on our own to bike from Enkhuisen to Volendam (roughly 45 – 50 km if you consider the backtracking we did due to avoiding road construction that took us off the beaten but beautiful track.) Biking through small villages, pristine farms and along gentle flowing canals made for a very pleasant day of meandering on the saddle of our preferred means of transportation.
Our last day of our boat/bike tour began with a bus ride to the extraordinary gardens of Keukenhof – the most beautiful spring garden in the world and the home of Tulipmania. This 80 acre landscaped park boasts over seven million bulbs planted each fall that display their palate of glorious color at the end of April.
The memories forged along the bike trails and boat decks on this trip are peppered with visions of beauty, scents of sweetness and feelings of both exhilaration and calm. Our days were filled with riding our bikes, fighting the North Sea wind, strolling cobbled village lanes and gawking at fields of tulips. Our nights brought good times over delicious meals, yoga stretching (to get the kinks out from our daily rides,) good conversation with new friends, and sharing laughs over a cold Dutch beer before retiring to our surprisingly comfortable bunks. As for me, I’m that girl who loves the water, bikes, gardens (and cheese) so despite the chilly weather, this adventure seemed tailor made for me. There is an old Dutch proverb that can describe this journey perfectly – “Every goodbye is the birth of a memory.”
One thought on “Netherlands on the fly – few words, fine photos”
Thank you so much for sharing your adventures. Looking forward to what we get to experience with you. The Netherlands may be one of our favorite destinations. Can’t wait to see your postings on Germany.