De Bosbeek


We all woke up before dawn and drank tea and repacked panniers. Once the sun came up we did an exploration of Indische Buurt, our area in east Amsterdam, before a bagel breakfast in a canal-side cafe. It is cold so multiple layers of clothing are needed as well as gloves.

At Amstel Station Margaret’s Bike Friday annoyingly decided to auto-fold as we lifted it into the train so we took to it with a hammer, broke it into small pieces and chucked it into the nearest canal.

After taking the train to Utrecht we began riding towards our destination, taking the non-scenic route alongside the main road – my fault for overriding Garmin’s (the GPS) suggestion. At Wijk bij Duurstede, about the half-way point, we had a traditional lunch (bread and cheese) before organising a taxi to deliver Margaret to the hostel as she is 84 years old and had done over 30km in cold conditions. Ian and I continued by bike and arrived in Bennekom as the temperature dropped and drizzle began. Here, Albert Heijn (The Netherlands equivalent of Coles) provided free wi-fi. This supermarket chain believes that shoppers should be able to sip coffee as they browse the aisles, so they provide coffee (from a machine) and shopping trolleys with coffee cup holders. Coles – lift your game!

To summarise the highlights of today: cows, cherry blossoms, tulips, children kayaking on canal, 2 middle-aged Dutch women with aero-bars for faster riding (looked better than it sounds), man cycling in wooden clogs, apple pastries, black & white spotted sheep (Friesian cow style), espaliered trees with multiple horizontal branches, impressive cheese shop, the linguistic fluency of the Dutch people.

We are now in the Friends of Nature House De Bosbeek, near Bennekom. This is the closest you can get to being in a remote location in The Netherlands – it’s at least 20 minutes cycling to the nearest Albert Heijn. We have 15 members of the Day family in residence here encompassing 4 generations. So far the dynamics are congenial – and there’s every reason to expect that this will continue!

Today’s route






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