Sunday, April 30, 2006

Monday 24th April - Making up for yesterday.

Yesterday was not so kind to us, we didn't sleep so well in Den Haag because of the obnoxious guests in the next room, breakfast and lunch were both quite poor, I got wet and cold, hel broke another spoke and we both got miserable. In the evening we hobbled in to Haarlem and got a room for 70 euro - breakfast included - which seems to be the going rate around here (actually I managed to get it knocked down from 80) and then things picked up. For a start the room had a bath, and we hadn't seen one of those since England. We were advised to walk round the corner and see the last bits of the annual flower show before it all got packed up so we headed out and saw some lovely floral displays, and just so happened to find an Indian restaurant along the way.

This morning we were both well rested, well fed (the hotel breakfast was very good), and the weather was looking grey but dry. Hel got her rear wheel completely replaced at a local bike shop and while she was doing that I was on the internet looking for accommodation for tonight and even got to make a phone call for a nice change. When we were all ready we had some options for where we could stay, and the sun had come out and it was a glorious day. It was also noon but nevermind.

There seemed to be a lot of large townlessness along our route and going by the hotel guides it was either going to be a 20 miles day or a 55 mile day. Since it was already so late and there was a fairly strong head wind we decided to play it safe and do the 55 miles. We knew it would be hard work and we did have to keep up a pretty energetic pace but it was one of the most rewarding rides I have had so far. The weather was really good, the ground was really flat, and for the most part we managed to avoid bad surfaces. They seem very keen on brick roads here, I am very very not keen on them, they are simply horrible on the trike and not much better on the tourer, thankfully today was mostly tarmac. It was good to really feel the benifit of all the fitness and strength we have built up, three weeks ago I would not have been able to stand up after a ride like today's, but I was smiling all the way and I feel fine.

The real highlight of today was lunch when we found somewhere about two minutes after agreeing that it would be nice to find somewhere for lunch. It was surprising because there weren't any shops nearby, just a parade of houses along a main road before it all opened up into farm land, but stuck on the end was a cafeteria, which over here is just like a cafe except you order at the till. This place just seemed like a good place for ice cream, there was something about the display of various toppings available that triggered my inate sense of mmmmm so I ordered a vanilla milkshake and hel decided to have a coffee one. After that I had another, but chocolate this time for a bit of variety. We also had some food but moving swiftly back to the very fine milkshakes all I want to do is think about them some more so sorry, no description, I am just going to quitely contemplate instead. Hel says that her pancake does deserve a mention even next to the milkshakes but what ever.

We are now right at the beginning of the 30 mile dijke, so that should make for a nice amount of straight forward cycling tommorow. I really hope we don't have any navigation trouble along a straight road with the sea on either side.

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