We have included brief extracts from our diary of this tour. Please click on the images to see a larger version and a brief description.
Esbjerg - Ribe 2\8\03
We reluctantly said good bye to Fanø island for another year and caught the ferry across to Esbjerg. We quickly picked up the NSCR Danish route and soon remembered the route from 1998, although then we were going in the opposite direction. The weather was excellent if a little too hot, winds light North Westerly. It wasn't long before we were in Ribe sitting outside a rather nice café eating a good lunch and supping some rather good local beer. Whether it was the effects of the beer, the heat or the fact that Ribe was having a harbour Fest, but we suddenly felt tired and convinced ourselves that we shouldn't over do things on our first day. We soon found ourselves at the local campsite after some very kind directions from a local man, he told us "to turn 9 o'clock at the roundabout", we thought that was a good way of putting it!
Ribe - Rømø 3\8\03
Early start this morning as the temperature hit 36º yesterday, wind light Easterly and it gave us a good run down to the Rømø causeway. The signs where missing at one point and we ended up continuing along the sea wall and missed out Brons. As we headed south Frank nearly got run down by a flock of sheep being herded from a field. It took us 90mins to cross the Rømø causeway back in 1998 in a force 7 head wind and driving rain. Fortunately this year it was sunny and we had a slight tail wind, it only took 25mins. We set up camp at Kommandørgårde Camping at midday and spent the afternoon and early evening on a circumnavigation of the island. We started by having a look at Havenby, then on to Sonderstrand to watch the land yachts and kite buggiers. Then cycled up the Havsand on firmish sand past numerous kites to Lakolk and then up to Juvre to see the fence made out of Whale bones, before returning for a well earned supper.
Rømø - Emmerlev 4\8\03
We decided not to go over to Sylt and continue down the coast instead. From Rømø causeway to Vesterunde Ballum there were many swing gates and it was difficult to get into a rhythm, as you kept having to stop every couple of hundred yards. It was pleasant easy riding through marshes, with the sea wall on our right and we spotted several Marsh Harriers and a Hobby. We went past a Deer farm which we remembered from 1998. We found a really nice campsite at Emmerlev with a small swimming pool which was very welcome after the heat of the day, the young couple that run it apparently had only bought it in May and this was their first season.
Emmerlev - Amour 5\8\03
We crossed over the border into Germany. The NSCR signs weren't easy to spot and we lost them so decided to head for the nearest town of Niebull as JH needed a new bike stand as the one he had bought last year in Sweden was giving up the ghost. Fortunately we found a bike shop in Niebull and bought a new stand, this time a bottom bracket mounted twin legged version to see if that was going to be any stronger. Whilst in Niebull we found a bookshop selling a guide to the NSCR, it had good maps of the route, but the text was in German. Decided that it would save buying more maps and I could practice my German, by translating the text. From Niebull it was a short hop to Dagebüll but found the small campsite full. Frank had a bright idea to catch a ferry to the island of Amrum. We quickly checked with the ferry company and we could in fact catch a ferry to Föhr have a look around for 3 hours and then go on to Amrum. Föhr was quite interesting as it is a health resort with loads of Health Sanatorium's. It is quite cycle friendly with loads of cycle routes, very well signed. Unfortunately we only had a short time on the island before we had to catch the ferry to Amrum. It was nearly 8:00pm before we got to Amrum, so we went straight to find a campsite. There are only 2, both of which are in the dunes ( my pet hate is camping in sand, it gets every where, Yuk!) as they were next to each other we had a quick look at each. On inspection we found one to be a naturists site, (there was a lot of bare flesh there, that really need to be covered up!) So we went back to the other one and found it was it heaving with people, I think the world and his dog were there.
Amrum - Husum 6\8\03
We got up early to give us time to cycle around island before the 12.30 ferry back to Dagebüll. Amrum is a pretty island with loads of cycle paths, Nebel village in particular was very pleasant. The ferry ride back to Dagebüll gave us some excellent views of the other islands in the Wadden See, made even nicer by the Crab and Shrimp soup from the boats restaurant. Dagebüll to Luttmoordamm was another ride along the seawall, with gates and a lot of sheep sh*t! After a cold drink at the National Park Infopavillion at the end of the Luttmoordamm we decided to take the variant to Wobbenbüll and then on to Dockkoog. From the view point near Koog, the area around was littered with Wind turbines. Boy was it Hot! Winds light Westerly.
Husum - Warwort 7\8\03
That morning we went into Husum and stopped to have a look round. It was market day and the place was busy, on asking directions we were told to turn right at the plum seller, the guy then did a brilliant impression of the plum sellers cry, we knew exactly where he meant as we had past the Plum seller earlier. After a very nice 'Neptunsalat' of shrimps & smoked salmon, we set off again taking the variant through Witzwort. Again it was stifflingly hot and Witzwort fortunately had a shop for some cold drinks, then on towards Tønning with a brief stop to buy food at Oldenswort. From Tønning to Büsum we were back with the good old seawall, but this time there were fewer gates and the surface was good with some pammets. On the way we passed through the 'Eidersperrwerk' a large complex of sluices and locks at the mouth of the river Eider. We laughed with some dozen or so German cyclists as the cry went up in front of us "Vorsicht ein Stau!!"the cycle path was blocked by a party of 50 tourists who were more concerned about their missing bus, than the fact that they were blocking the cycle path! We camped the other side of Büsum at Warwort, where although the campsite had no shop for fresh milk, it did have a bar with some wonderfully cold beers!. Weather extremely hot, winds light, Westerly.
Warwort - Krautsand 8\8\03
Set off early again to try and beat the heat and we were wished a good journey by the old lady who ran the site. (It was good value, as it was only 4.4€). Again we had our friend the sea wall with us down to Meldorferhafen, before turning inland to Meldorf. It was Meldorfs turn for market day and the fresh fruit on offer was irresistible, so we filled a racpac with plums, Strawberries, peaches, apples and cherries. While we there we just had to have a wee snackette, so a very yummy 'Blaubeeren unt Vanilla eis Panakochen' was devoured before we set off towards St. Michaelisdonn (honestly, we don't spend all our time eating, it's just fuel for the journey - honest!). The route was a welcome change of terrain, as it took you through some wooded areas and a small hilly area around the flughafen before taking us back on the open flat fields down to Brunsbüttel. The cycle route into Brunsbuttel was next to a river through willow trees and very much reminded us of the route into Helsinki. From Brunsbüttel we crossed the Nord Ostsee Kanal on a small vehicle ferry and started heading east along the north side of the Elbe towards Gluckstadt, passing what we presume was a nuclear power station. It seemed to have very little security fencing, which surprised us, as Greenpeace have been complaining about the security at Sizewell and that has a massive fence. What was nice about this section was that we had a good views of all the large ships going up the Elbe to Hamburg. We had earlier decided that as we had been to Hamburg on a previous tour, we would cross the Elbe at Gluckstadt and rejoin the NSCR at Ottendorf. We were soon across the ferry and heading for the campsite at Krautsand.
Krautsand - Altenbruch 9\8\03
On setting off from Krutsand we decided to try and see if there was quicker route to Wischhafen, as there was a sign saying 'Wischhafen'! We followed it after a while we heard someone calling from behind us. On looking round there was a woman on a racing cycle coming up fast behind us, she was asking in German where we were going and I explained to 'Wischhafen'. She had seen us make a wrong turning earlier and had chased after us, she explained that if we had carried on we would have ended up at a dead end. We needed to have turned left , where we had turned right earlier and go on down to the seawall. After that there was a bridge that was only open at weekends between 10.00am - 5.00pm. We thanked her profusely for being so kind as to chase after us and put us right. It was just after 9.00am so we were there by 9.20, we had 40mins to wait so we had our second brew which we hadn't bothered with at breakfast earlier. By 9.45 there was quite a crowd of cyclists waiting for the bridge. Some of them were from the campsite and one guy liked our 'GB' plates, "do they stand for' George Brown' ?" he laughed. He had been to England many times and he knew our home town, so we had a long chat. When they opened the bridge we continued up the south side of the Elbe, with more sea wall to accompany us. On reaching Ottendorf we bought food expecting to camp there, but when we got to the campsite we could see that it had no shade. With the temperature in the high 30's we decided to continue on to the campsite at Altenbruch. This proved a good move, as as we got closer to Altenbruch in the distance we could see specks in the sky that looked like kites. As we got nearer we realised that they were kites and we had luckily came across the Cuxhaven & Altenbruch Drachen Fest. Well being kite flyers we just had to stop and have a look, so we stopped there for the rest of the afternoon. What a brilliant kite festival.
Altenbruch - Spaden 10\8\03
We had been on the road now for 8 days, so from Altenbruch we decided to cut in land to find a quiet campsite for a rest day. Again it was quite a pleasant change of scene to cut away from the coast, the terrain was a bit rolling and there were some lovely wooded tracks, which gave some welcome shelter from the sun. The only problem with some of the tracks was that they were quiet sandy and so deep in places that we had to get off and walk. As we got nearer Spanden we could hear the See, it was Sunday afternoon and the world and his dog seemed to be there, the place was packed with cars all down the lanes. We wondered just how quiet our campsite would be, luckily it was on the other side of the See from the public area. The guy at the reception was very helpful and suggested a nice sheltered spot next to some trees, which would gave us shade from the rather hot sun. The campsite was well organised into 'Dorfs' that were within a wooded area with a short walk to the See. We decided to do the washing in the evening so we could relax the next day. (Very Hot!, winds light North Westerly)
Spaden - rest day 11\8\03
Had a welcome lie in and spent the day reading, relaxing and swimming in the See.
Spaden - Eckwarderhörne 12\8\03
Being just on the outskirts of Bremerhaven, it was a short ride into the centre and we soon found a book shop and bought part 2 of the NSCR guide. Bremerhaven is home to the 'Deutches Schiffahrts Museum' and the 'Technikmuseum U-Boot Wilhelm Bauer'. The U-Boat was quite interesting as it had been scuttled in Kiel harbour at the end of the second world war, brought to the surface 10 years later and refurbished for use in the German navy for another 30 years. It brought home to us the fact that we wouldn't make very good submariners, as it seemed so small and cramped and there seemed little room for the 52 man crew! From Bremerhaven it was a short ferry ride across the river Weser to Blexen, where we must have missed a NSCR sign and ended up in the local sewage works! Just after Tettens we bought some fresh milk from a farm vending machine and stopped for a brew and some lunch at a restplatz just before Burhave. The restplatz was very kindly provided by a local farmer, it was most welcome as there was very little shade on that part of the route. As a way of a thank you we bought some of his free range eggs.
The route was again with our old friend the seawall and we had a good easy ride with a slight tail wind. On reaching Eckwarderhörne we found that we had missed the last ferry. We decided to stop at the campsite nearby, it was quite full and the lady was most apologetic and showed us the only grass space she had left to camp on. It was the 'Spielplatz' next to the road, we were grateful for anywhere, although we did get some srtange looks from the kids! Our pitch was quite fortuitous as it gave us a grandstand view of the 'Boßeln' competition which was taking place on the road outside the campsite. 'Boßeln'(Bowling) is the Friesland National sport, basically you have two goes at bowling a solid rubber ball as far as you can. They are not usually serious competitions, just good fun and anyone is welcome to have a go, of cause yours truly had to have a go! (Again very hot,Winds, Northerly light).
Eckwarderhörne - Carolinensiel 13\8\03
Up early again this morning as we had to catch a ferry to Wilhemshaven, we had been told by the lady at the campsite that it left at 9.00, so we rushed off to be at the jetty by 8.45am to be on time. When we arrived there was no one there, so I cycled back to kiosk at the lido to see if anyone knew the time. I found a woman in the kiosk and asked her when it left she said 9.45. The woman must have thought I was deaf, as while I was talking to her, Frank was asking me questions over the radio, so I kept missing her replies and had to keep asking the woman to repeat her questions and answers. Actually the radios were quite useful, as a woman had asked Frank where to get the ferry tickets from, (we had got ours from the lady in the campsite), so I was able to ask the lady in the kiosk. It transpired that she sold the tickets and I was able to radio back to tell Frank to tell the woman to get back up to kiosk quick. The ferry journey took about 30 mins and we soon docked at Wilhemshaven and set off towards the centre, passing the Naval museum and over the Kaiser Wilhelm Brucke. The route through the centre took us through the pleasant 'Kurpark' and past a restored windmill. We headed north towards the historic harbour at Hooksiel. As the winds were quiet strong south westerly we decided to miss out Jever and cut across west to pick up the NSCR at Tettens, where luckily enough there was a nice wooden octagon shaped shelter, which was just what we wanted to get out of the wind and have lunch and a brew. While we there, a family stopped to ask directions, they had been fighting with the wind all morning but were returning to Hooksiel so were looking forward to having the wind with them on there return. Fortunately the rest of the route was north so we had a beam wind as the wind had gone round to the west. As we got up to Carolinensiel we came across a family who were having good fun with a stunt kite. Frank had to stop me from joining in, I think she was hungry and wanted her tea. The campsite was quite amusing as they obviously didn't have many tourers, as we shown to a pitch right at the bottom of the site tucked away on a small triangle of grass behind all the static caravans, at least it was quiet and sheltered from the wind.
Carolinensiel - Großes Meer 14\8\03
Carolinensiel is a pretty place with a museumshafen, and we were lucky enough to see a paddle steamer go by as we cycled up to the harbour at Harlesiel, where you can catch a ferry to Wangerooge island. The wind was again strong as we cycled westward. As we got nearer to Neuharlingersiel we thought it was the second hand car market for Germany as there were fields full of cars. We soon realised on seeing the signs that they were long stay garages for people visiting the car free island of Spiekeroog. Neuharlingersiel is a very pleasant harbour full of shrimp boats. While we were there, they were preparing for their 'harbour 'Fest', so all the fisherman were busily painting up their boats. As the wind was so strong we abandoned the NSCR and headed south to Aurich. Although we were not cycling into the wind, the cycle path was right alongside the main road, it was very straight and seemed to go on and on. The only break in the monotony were the sudden heavy showers that would last only 5mins or so. You could see them coming and we managed to find either bus shelters or large trees to shelter under. Aurich finally came and we stopped for a well deserved snack in the market square with its very unusual town clock. We left Aurich via it's cycle paths which criss-crossed a network of canals to our campsite at the Großes Meer. We half expected to arrive drenched as the sky was so black and threatening, luckily for us the worst past us by to the east.
Großes Meer - Delfzijl 15\8\03
We woke to clear skies and were soon on our way through the lanes surrounding the Großes Meer nature reserve. At Blaukirchen we came across a river by a house where the owners had put in a very nice wooden bridge, with the lilies in the water and the flowers it was very Monetesques. On reaching the outskirts of Emden we navigated our way down to the harbour to find that we had missed the 11.00am ferry and would have to wait for the 17.30 ferry. This gave us time to have a look around Emden. Frank's bike stand was looking a bit dodgy so we headed for a bike shop we had seen earlier. It was closed for lunch so it was a good opportunity to stop for lunch ourselves. Back at the bike shop we purchased the stand and spotted outside a rather unusual bike - an 'Epple Millennium' with a very novel frame design (see picky below). As we wandered around we saw a sign for a 'bunker museum' not far off the Rathausplatz and were intrigued enough to have a look. It transpires that these were bunkers built in the second world war to protect the citizens of Emden from the relentless bombing from the British. We had seen some of these rather strange concrete buildings with very few windows on our way into Emden. The museum was very fascinating as it was the first second world war museum that we had come across in Germany and it was interesting to see the recollections from a German perspective. We spent such a long time there that we had a bit of a race to get back in time for the ferry, as always when you are in a hurry we got stopped at a level crossing and had to wait while a train load of gift wrapped Audi TT's passed by. We got to the ferry jetty just as the ferry was pulling in and we were soon chugging off towards Delfzijl. On reaching Delfzijl we stopped quickly to buy some milk and headed northwards with our friend the sea wall, towards a campsite marked at Nieuwstad. It was some where along the way that I realised that my cycle computer wasn't working. On close inspection we could see that the wires had been pulled out from the top. It must have been caught when it was loaded on the ferry. When we arrived at Nieuwstad there was no campsite to be found it was either an 8 mile ride further on or a 4 mile ride back to the campsite at Delfzijl. We decide that there was more chance of getting a replacement computer in Delfzijl, so we turned around, at least we had the wind with us on the return journey.
Delfzijl - Uithuizermeeden 16\8\03
We spent the morning in Delfzijl buying and fitting a new cycle computer to replace the knackered one. Delfzijl was obviously having a bit of a festival as they had a whole lot of classic cars lined up in the main street, accordion bands playing, model steam engine rides, fair ground rides and many market stalls. Having fitted the computer we were in need of some sustenance, a nearby fish restaurant gave us a chance to sit down and read up on how to drive the new cycle computer. The lady who ran the restaurant was really nice and recommended the special, Haddock with shrimps and salad. I must admit it was an excellent fish lunch. We decided that as it was early afternoon we would camp at Uithuizermeeden.
Uithuizermeeden - Holwerd 17\8\03
The route through to Pieterburen was very pleasant riding through open farm country and we stopped in Warffum at the post office to post some maps & books home. We stopped to have a look at the Windmill 'Der Vier Winden' built in 1846 and to have some lunch. After Vierhuizen the route took us up over a Dyke by the West Polder, there were a set of steps with a groove at the side for the bikes, but it was still hard work pushing heavily laden bikes up them! From there we were on to sandy tracks through the Marnewaard military area. This is quite spooky as they seemed to have built what looks like a mock town, I presume for street to street training. There was no activity while we were there, but loads of tank tracks(You will need to watch out for red flags). At Lauwersoog we saw the ferry that goes out to the island of Schiermonnikoog and plenty of sail boarders enjoying the good North Easterly winds on the Lauwersmeer. Luckily we were going in a SW direction and were able to take advantage of it also, we the turned west to rejoin our old friend the sea wall. At Wierum we passed a group of teenagers who had obviously been mud walking as they were covered to the waists in thick black mud! The village was all decorated with flags for a festival and many of the gardens had unusual displays, the best of which was the Dutch Olympic ski team! (see picky), after a few more kilometres we were in Holwerd and at the campsite near the church.
Holwerd - Vlieland 18\8\03
We left Holwerd early to try and reach Harlingen reasonably early in order to catch a ferry to Vlieland. The route criss-crossed the main road to Marrum. We kept to the main road before getting back on to the NSCR. At Zwarte Haan we got one of our rare views of the North Sea and then we had to climb up the sea wall by the memorial to the Dyke builders. It's amazing this North Sea Route there are not many times that you actually see the North Sea!!! As we got nearer to Harlingen we saw a sail over the sea wall, so we climbed the dyke again to see several Dutch barges who were out to sea, we suspected that they probably racing. We got to Harlingen at 15:15 and saw from the timetable at the Ferry port that we had missed the 14.15 ferry and that the next ferry to Vieland was at 17:30, well we needn't have rushed!. We decided to have a drink at one of the local cafés, which turned into a pancake stop as Frank indulged in this enormous strawberry, pineapple, banana and cream affair. As we were there we thought we might as well have a quick look around Harlingen and get some food from a supermarket whilst we waited for the ferry. Harlingen is a nice town with a very busy harbour. We arrived back at the port to find when we tried to buy our tickets that the 17:30 ferry was the high speed one and didn't take bikes(no mention of this on the timetable). We would have to catch the 19:00 ferry which would get us into Vieland at 20:30, well we definitely needn't have rushed!!!!. While we waited I decided I might as well use the time and did a 'Standalectomy' on Frank's bike replacing it with the new stronger stand that we had bought in Aurich. We caught the ferry and arrived on time, there was still some day light left so we had a quick cycle around the north part of the island. We cycled up to the harbour which was absolutely full of yachts and Dutch barges and then around the woods of the Kloos Douwes and back to Oost-Vlieland before making our way to the campsite at Lange Paal. We arrived at the site just after 9.30 and just managed to get our tent up before it got dark. The facilities at the campsite were quite good, however because it was dark we ended up having showers by head torch light as there were no lights in the showers, a novel experience!
Vlieland - Texel 19\8\03
This proved to be the most memorable day of the tour. We again had an early start as while we were waiting for the ferry to Vlieland we had rung the company that ran the ferry to Texel to check the time. Fortunately she spoke English and confirmed the time saying that it left at 10.30am but we would need to be at the Post House at 11 o'clock! I questioned this and she repeated "11 o'clock". Did this mean that it was leaving at 11.30? We thought we had better err on the side of caution and arrived at the Post House just before 10.00am I'm glad we did as they were just finishing loading the 'Vlielors Expres' a massive 8 wheeled truck that was our transport across the Vlielors sands to were we would catch the ferry. Obviously the woman on the phone had got her numbers wrong! Even with a plank to assist us, it wasn't all that easy to get the bikes up on to the back of the big truck. We were soon on our way across the wide open sands which are used as a firing range by the Dutch army, on the way we had to stop for the driver to report an unfortunately sick seal pup. At the end of the 7km drive we came to the jetty which was a rickety wood and rope affair that wouldn't have been out of place in a 'Tarzan' movie. Fortunately the truck backed up to the jetty which meant that it was relatively easy to off load the bikes, however we both managed to get on the wrong side of our bikes (may be because we are both right handed, but we both find it easier to push our bikes with them on our right side). What with that and the fact that the jetty was only just wide enough for our pannier clad bikes, it was windy, slightly wobbly and with only a single rope to stop you falling off, it was certainly a bit of fun if not a bit scary, especially as the last bit on to the floating pontoon which was moving up and down with the waves. When the ferry arrived we decide that to make loading easier we would remove all the panniers. I'm quite glad we did, as the boat was bouncing up and down quite a lot against the pontoon. Our bikes were lashed to the outer railings and we sat on the benches on the deck side, as we got into the main channel it started to get quite lively and while we were having a good chat to a German couple who were also cycle touring we were hit by an enormous wave that came over the prow of the boat! well we all got soaked! Fortunately for us it was warm and sunny and we soon started to dry out. The rough sea didn't last too long as we moved into the shelter of Texel island. The jetty on the Texel side was of a similar construction however this time we made sure that we had the bikes on our right sides to get off! Texel is the largest of the Friesian islands with sandy beaches and large areas of wooded dunes on its west coast and a large area of reclaimed polder farm land on the east side. We spent the rest of the day exploring it and it's main town Den Burg.
Texel - rest day 20\8\03
As with most of our rest days we had our usual lie in and went to the beach in the afternoon. There was a good wind for kite flying, although it was a little chilly when the sun went in. For some reason a kite surfer chose our stretch of the beach to launch his kite, this was great for me as being into kites I hadn't had a good chance to see kite surfing in action. We stayed rather later than we realised and found that we had missed the shops, fortunately for us the campsite had a rather good café.
Texel - Egmond 21\8\03
We set off against a bit of a strong side wind and headed southwards to Horntje to catch the ferry to Den Helder. The Ferry is an interesting experience as it is all automated, there is no charge for going from Texel to the main land so you don't see a ticket seller. You wait for the lights to change and the gates to open and then you just walk onboard, we wondered if there was actually going to be any crew on board? Obviously there must be, but the only people we saw were the guys running the café! When we reached Den Helder there was a message over the tannoy and we waited again for the gates to open and then walked off! From Den Helder we set off along the side of the sea wall and headed straight into a very strong wind and passed some tourers going the other way who gave us a very sympathetic wave. Just after the 'De Lange Jaap' lighthouse there was a steep hill up to Fort Kijkduin, I passed a parked English car and gave the occupants a wave, as I waited at the top the English car pulled up beside me and the driver asked me where we had been touring in Holland. I told her that we had actually started in Denmark and had covered just over 600 miles and were headed for the Hoek. She said that if she had been wearing a hat she would have taken it off to us as she was impressed with the distance. I had a long chat with her, it transpired that she was actually Dutch and originally from Den Helder, she had married an English man and was living in England, she was in Holland with her daughter looking up various relatives. She wished us well for the remainder of our trip. By that time Frank had arrived and we decided that we might as well have a look at this Fort Kijkduin, it was quite interesting as it was originally built by the French in the Nepoleonic era and subsequently altered by the Dutch and by the Germans in the second world war. The Dutch have made a good job of renovating it and it houses a good museum showing it's history. From Fort Kijkduin we found it hard work through the dunes on the NSCR as it was so up and down and we were buffeted by the strong westerly wind. In the end we abandoned the NSCR and went along the roads running parallel to the route down to Callantsoog where we stopped to have a look in the Kite shop (surprise surprise!) and had to resist the temptation to buy something! The route after that was a little easier as we were in the lee of the dunes , soon after Camperduin we were into some very pleasant paths through the woods of the 'Groote Ganzenveld', this gave us some nice shelter from the winds. On leaving Bergen aan Zee we were again into the dunes but on this amazing red brick cycle path which continues for 4km until we got to the main road to Egmond. We decided that this was far enough for the day and found a pleasant campsite just north of Egmond aan den Hoef.
Egmond - Hoek van Holland 22\8\03
Realising that it was only 70 miles to the Hoek and as we had done this part of the route back in 1997 we decided to crack on and try and go back a day early. We were soon on to the cycle route through open woods through the 'Noordhollands Duinreservaat' and soon found ourselves on the outskirts of the industrial port of Imujiden and on a the ferry over the 'Noordzeekanaal'. On leaving Imujiden the route quickly takes you through park land to Driehuis and just before the 'Zuidkennemerland National park we found a very nice cafe which served a rather good 'Uitsmijter', which if you haven't had one (and you should do!) it's a very tasty snack, it is slices of bread with sliced cheese and ham served hot, with several fried eggs on top , it's yummy! As the next part of route took us through the National Park we had to pay the 1€ entrance fee. The ride through the park is slighly undulating terrain through woods and was a welcome change from the dunes of yesterday. We were soon down to Zanvoort, which is hardly the most picturesque seaside resort we have been to and again we were buffeted but the strong westerly winds. We again decided to head inland to get some shelter from the wind and continued on down to the Hoek via Katwijk, Wassenaar and Den Haag. It was just before 9.00pm that we reached the campsite at the Hoek, they were just closing the reception. It was quickly up with the tent and in the showers before they closed them at 10.00pm. Whilst we were cooking some supper, we had a good chat with a Belgium chap and his son who were touring up the Belgium and Dutch coast and by 11.30pm were in bed. In some respects it was hardly worth going to sleep as we knew we would have to up by 5.00am to catch the early ferry to Harwich.
Hoek van Holland - Home 23\8\03
A very early start this morning, as we had to be at the ferry port at 6:30am to see if we could get on the ferry a day early. Fortunately for us the 7:30am ferry wasn't full and we could board with no problems. Unusually we were the only tourers on the ferry. Perhaps like we have done in the past, most preferred the 16:00 ferry and judging on how tired I felt I was inclined to agree with them. On boarding, it was soon into breakfast as we had only bothered with a quick cup of tea before breaking camp and then to the cinema to watch the film 'Bruce Almighty. It must have been good as I managed to keep awake throughout it all! We were soon docking at Harwich and were on to the train and home. All in all a good and successful tour.