De Kleine Rug

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It’s a warm weekend and the Dutch people are getting out, stripping off, boating, swimming and generally increasing their Vitamin D production while they have the chance.

Margaret, Ian and I visited the old town of Dordrecht. We climbed the 275 steps to the top of the Grote Kerk, the Church of Our Lady, a medieval Protestant church, while Margaret received historical facts from a knowledgeable Dutch man and wrote them down in her notebook. We could see Rotterdam in the distance and watched the Railway Bridge (Spoorbrug) opening to let sailing boats through. The Grote Kerk is actually the Leaning Church of Dordrecht. The lack of perpendicularity is pretty obvious – we read in a brochure that the tower is now 2.25 metres off plumb.

De Kleine Rug, our hostel, is surrounded by canals on 2 sides and backed by De Grote Rug, a large reservoir that provides drinking water for Rotterdam. Opposite us is a boat ramp and landing, a popular spot for people to launch boats, swim, sunbake, have picnics and just sit and watch the on and off water activity. When we arrive we call for the boatperson to come over and pick us up or, if we’re lucky, the boat might already be there having brought another guest over. Our bikes sleep overnight locked in a large shipping container.

Our evening meals are always excellent. We have become a well-oiled catering machine, turning out great food for 15 people – last night’s left over rice became tonight’s delicious rice pudding. This morning we farewelled Marian; tomorrow Jonathan will join us after we’ve cycled 75km to Nordwijk in the dune and bulb region (Duin- en Bollenstreek) of The Netherlands.

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