The Vecht at Loenen.
It’s our last week in Amsterdam for this year. Time for one more bike ride, this one with my friend and guide Hans, down the Rhine Canal to Loenen, between the lakes to Ankeveen, along the winding River Vecht to Weesp, and home again.
The wonderful thing about cycling here is that even after years of exploring the area around Amsterdam on two wheels, there are still new routes for us to discover, all of them with quiet, safe, all-but-car-free cycle paths. Continue reading
The oldest town in the Netherlands. Not so many people know about it.
‘This landscape always reminds me of Holland,’ said my mother, years ago, somewhere outside Melbourne, on a road between Springvale and Frankston.
She’d never seen Holland and neither had I, but we both knew what she meant. What I only discovered recently was that the image we had of classic Dutch landscape came from 19th century paintings. Even the word ‘landscape’ comes from the Dutch ‘landschap’. Continue reading
A Dutch wind farm. ‘Too noisy,’ says Mr Abbott, who must have extremely sensitive hearing.
Dear Mr Abbott (Prime Minister of Australia) and Mr Hockey (Australian Treasurer),
I’m following your pronouncements online while spending some time in Holland, and I understand that neither of you like windmills. They’re ‘visually appalling’ according to you, Mr Abbott, and ‘utterly offensive’ in your opinion, Mr Hockey.
I read that your government has gone so far as to order the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to cease funding new wind farms.
You may be surprised to hear that many people over this side of the world seem to enjoy them. Continue reading
Once upon a time, there was a place of fertile fields…
Everybody knew the dykes were in poor repair. Extra taxes were raised to pay for urgent maintenance work.
But the dukes of Holland, the Hoeks and the Kabaljauws, were squabbling among themselves. They spent the tax money on weapons and armies and no doubt told their subjects it was essential for ‘security’. Fixing the dykes was important, just unaffordable right now. It could wait till the threat from the enemy subsided and the economy improved.
Then came St Elizabeth’s Night, November 19th, 1421. Continue reading
Bring it on! Trucks and planes will not bother me. I have my own cycle path.
The joys of living in Amsterdam. It’s a fine day, I need some exercise and I have the afternoon free. One of the most beautiful small towns in the world is an hour away by bike.
I don’t need a helmet, I’m not wearing lycra and this time I’m not even taking a camera. The phone in my pocket will do the job. Continue reading
A cool but fine autumn day. Indian summer in Nederland. Surely it can’t last much longer. Must make the most of it. Drop everything. Get out on the bike.
A car-free road, a sunny day and a tailwind!
There’s a stiff southerly blowing, adding a wind chill factor to the 10 degree temperature. I decide to ride with it for once, heading north out of Amsterdam, without any particular destination in mind. It doesn’t matter. This is classic North Holland countryside; fields cut by drainage canals, flocks of geese and families of swans, sheep and cows grazing…and a few one-off surprises. Continue reading
It’s one of Europe’s most popular cycling routes – on safe, car-free bike path.
We cyclists hate stopping. When you stop pedalling a bike, it starts to wobble, then topples over. It takes far more effort to get a bike moving than it does to keep it rolling along at a steady speed.
That’s why cyclists run red lights and ring angry bells at pedestrians blocking their bike path. It’s also why, when enlightened planners lay several hundred kilometres of flat, smooth, wide, almost uninterrupted bike path along the iconic Danube River, we come in droves to roll along it. Continue reading