North to Noordwijk


A balmy day dawned and we were packed and ready to leave by 8am. We’d done a good job of eating left-overs last night and so had little food to pack and we’d saved almost a full pannier of space with the excess warm clothes entrusted to Kees. The collection of panniers in the bow of the boat looked colourful and impressive.

M. Garmin did a good job guiding us out of Dordrecht, over the Merwede (part of the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta and mostly fed by the river Rhine) and on to Kinderdijk. We’d beaten all but the early bird tourist buses in Kinderdijk and the collection of traditional polder-draining windmills were quite a sight. We saw many families in their Sunday best answering the call from peeling church bells across the polders.

We had to plug into a head wind for a while before morning coffee at a bucolic cafe filled with lycra-clad cyclists half-way through their Sunday morning workout. Soon we were able to turn off the wind onto narrow paths threading between small brim full canals and swans’ nests leading us to Gouda.

Gouda was splendid with narrow streets, canals and wonky old buildings. We had lunch on the gorgeous plein (town square) with its impressive stadhuis and then headed off down-wind to Leiden. We passed a notable intersection between a motorway and canal. The motorway went under the canal. Many gardens had rhododenrons in full bloom.

In Leiden, the Dutch were making the most of the warm sunny Sunday afternoon. The canals were clogged with pleasure boats and grassy banks covered with fairly naked sunburnt locals. The cafes were doing a brisk trade. Holland to the max!

After Noordwijk we hit the tulip fields spread out in the lee of the coastal dunes. We haven’t spotted the North Sea yet but may well dare a plunge (or extended wade) tomorrow morning.

The YHA hostel in Noordwijk is modern and not busy. We ate at a nearby Indian restaurant which was satisfactory.

One Response to “North to Noordwijk”

  1. Linepark Abroad (text by BP, photos by RL) Says:

    Sounds glorious, apart from the head wind. But no pics???!!!!

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