Sunday to Wednesday: being passed by the Dutchies on the left hand side!

The title is a compliment to the many people older than me who overtook us during this holiday, riding old clunker machines with hardly any Lycra in sight.

After Saturday’s relatively long ride, Sunday was perforce a day of rest. In the afternoon and evening we ambled around Zaandam. Nothing new to report.  It was just gentle ‘being on holiday’.

Monday was another long-ish cycle day. We went by train to Den Helder, the northern most part of Noord Hollands’ mainland. It should have been 47 miles back to Zaandam but ended up being almost 53 (cyclemeter map). This ride made me realise that the average Noord Hollander has steel legs and cast-iron backsides, They just keep going, sat upright – aerodynamics be damned) and crack on at fast cadences. And a lot of this route was on brick surfaces that gnawed at me. It was mostly into headwind, with repeated crossings of the dune systems that protect this land. Just 20 metres up from geometric farmland were stretches of wild dunescape that felt almost alpine. Fantastically different from the verdant flat polderscapes we were used to. Elly’s words and pictures are good.

Tuesday was another off-bike day: lots of sleeping, followed by going to Amsterdam to do laundry and visit the science museum.

Today (Wednesday) was about a very short trip to the Zaanse Schabs, basically a large open-air museum of windmills and polder life. I’d forgotten that mills do much more than grind corn. The one that fascinated me was purpose-built for production of flax oil. (There will be photos when the hotel wifi returns.)

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