Monthly Archives: April 2013

QUEEN’S DAY – enter the king…

So relaxed and natural. Not protocol fascists.

So relaxed and natural. Not protocol fascists.

Our Australian friend John met the new Dutch king on his trip down under a few years ago. Like me, John has a Dutch wife and speaks fluent bad Nederlands.

He and his wife were invited to an official reception for Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and the immensely popular Princess Maxima and checked on the correct way to address the royals. ‘Uw koninklijke hoogheid’ (‘your royal highness’) is a mouthful, even for Dutch people.

John practised the phrase faithfully on the way to the event. ‘Uw konning likker hoe geid…you konick linker hog height…’ It wasn’t going well. Continue reading


Filed under Holland


Riding with the wind for a change.

Riding with the wind for a change.

This island is 20 kilometres long, 10 kilometres wide and has more than 135 kilometres of cycle paths. It’s not hard to guess which country we’re talking about.

Texel, the most southerly of the Dutch Wadden Islands, is flat. Mostly. Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling


Mind the gap! Well done, the helmsman who can steer this French cruise boat through this passageway!

Mind the gap! A steady hand on the tiller was needed to steer this French cruise boat down the Schinkel.

A constant source of free entertainment is available from our Amsterdam balcony as we watch the bridge on the Overtoomsesluis open, stopping road traffic to let the boats pass.

The Schinkel, the canal below us, is the busiest working canal in Amsterdam. On weekdays there is a regular parade of barges, ferrying sand dredged from the harbour to places inland where it is more useful for building and land reclamation.

It’s only a few metres deep, and generally calm and flat, but oh, there are some impressive feats of helmsmanship on show. And there’s always something going on down there. Continue reading


Filed under Holland

HELP! My blog is under attack!

It looked innocent enough – a comment, albeit one with grammatical mistakes, telling me in glowing terms how great my site was and asking for my advice about how to set up a blog.

It turned out to be poison. Continue reading


Filed under Writing

DUTCH ID – the best electric bike?

A sight I won't see so often in future...Mevrouw T cycling behind me.

A sight I won’t see so often in future…Mevrouw T cycling behind me.

Is this an exciting step forward into the future of our cycling or an admission of defeat? We’ve bought an electric-assist bike.

Was this a good decision? Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling

AMSTEL LOOP RIDE – 44 km of pleasure mingled with pain

The drink station at Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

The drink station at Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.

The Amstel Gold race, perhaps the Netherlands’ most important cycling event, is on TV today. My modest ride along the Amstel River wouldn’t qualify as ‘gold’; it was more ‘aluminium alloy’ class.

But it wasn’t raining, the sun was making an effort to break through, and I needed to get some serious kilometres in before the Classico Boretti cycling event exactly three weeks from now.

Either my Brooks saddle or my rear end has changed shape since they were last in contact seven months ago. They’re no longer a perfect match. My loop was hard work, and that gave me an excuse to stop and admire the scenery along the way. Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Cycling, Holland

SHADES OF GREY – Vondelpark, Amsterdam

Oh dear, it is cold out on the Schinkel Canal!

Oh dear, it was cold out on the Schinkel Canal!

There is something to be said for jetlag. If you can’t sleep you may as well get up and get outside, and at such an early hour you’ll practically have the world to yourself.

This is fine if you have a camera over your shoulder and Amsterdam’s Vondelpark waiting for you just across the canal.

The Vondelpark was waiting for spring. It may have been in the air, but it was as yet undetectable to the naked eye. The park was mostly grey, so I kept it that way. Continue reading


Filed under Holland