For the past two weeks I have been on a bicycling trip in Belgium and the Netherlands. Cycling in the Netherlands, my favorite country, is something I have done for the past nine years. Most of the time Mr. Right goes with me, and we have even been joined by Jordan and her husband and by our son in the past, also. We have always done a bike and boat trip which is a great way to go.
This year I flew solo into Amsterdam and took a train to Bruges, Belgium where I met the boat. We slept, and ate breakfast and dinner on the boat, which held 24 people in 12 cabins with private baths. The group rode most of the time in the countryside but spent nights docked in cities like Ghent, Antwerp, and Amsterdam.
I love charm, and these biking trips are loaded with charm. Our dear friend Francien was the tour guide (she has been our guide every time), and she knows charm is my thing. After spending a week on the boat, I went to Rotterdam, which is Francien’s hometown, and spent five days riding and touring with her and experiencing day to day life there.
The thing that always amazes me about Europe is that they have buildings much, much older than our country.
I am also amazed that you can ride around a bend in the road and spot something like this……
…..or this. And we often stopped to walk around.
We stopped at a little family-run cheese farm, and there are always a bunch of these little babies close by. I was definitely more excited to see her than she was to see me.
The canals come in all sizes. Sometimes they were huge and high above us, and sometimes they were right in the middle of a village residential area like this one.
We saw a lot of these little cottage with thatched roofs. Since it was summer, we also saw some repairs being done. Francien said these roofs can last many, many years. Incredible.
Belgium and the Netherlands are the bike-friendliest countries in the world. You can ride from one end of the Netherlands to the other and never leave a bike trail. Just think about that a minute. They have bike trail maps and trail signs. It is its own little inter-country system just like our interstate system for cars.
And here is something else……If there is an accident involving a cyclist and a car, it is the car driver’s fault – no matter what. That makes the drivers proceed a lot more cautiously. And since there are more bikes than people there, those drivers also probably have bikes and respect the cyclists.
These historic windmills are no longer in use. However, they still use wind power in the form of the modern/angular windmills that I think are beautiful, too.
I wanted to see inside this cottage. I wonder is it is as charming on the inside as it is on the outside. And by the way, they wash their windows every week, or at least they try to.
I loved these window boxes. The Dutch have been instrumental in developing growing techniques for plants and bulbs. You will see color everywhere. They have the best at their fingertips.