When Alley arrived we talked about what she would like to do while in Amsterdam and she wanted to take a small bike trip to the coast and up through the Dunes. I was a TINY bit weary because I had a Grandma bike while I was there (omafiets). But, I had been doing day trips with no problems on it and hauling Sprocket and snacks around so I said yas, let's do it!
The thing I was most worried about was using the train with my big ol clunky bike that weighs a lot. Haha. But Dutch people know what's up and it was relatively easy to do everything with my bike, and I saw other people with bigger bikes too. Was I fitting in?!? Finally?! haha. Our first destination was going to be at The Hague.
We started at Amsterdam Sloterdijk station and took the train to Leiden and then from Leiden to The Hague would be all bike routes. (About 21km/13 miles)
Once off the train at Leiden it was beautiful countryside riding the whole way. Complete with horses, windmills, trees, geese. The Dutch countryside is one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had. Just riding along on a perfect bike path with no cars around and just other people riding bikes. It's quite pleasurable.
So, after a few hours of biking we finally got to the coast and got some lunch. I decided to chance it and order the Nachos. Needless to say they were disgusting but I ate it anyways because I was starving. Haha, and we all know I get grumpy when I haven't had food in a while.
We were staying in the Scheveningen area in The Hague and this is the view at the beach of the Scheveningen pier.
Duh, I always have to get ice cream everywhere I go. hehe.
Photo of me enjoying the sunset over the North Sea by Alley.
We were staying at an old couples house in Scheveningen, by way of Vrienden op de fiets. (Friends on the bike). Their house was right in the central area and was above an old store. The house was basically all wooden on the inside and had some really beautiful wooden furniture, and the biggest bathtub I had ever seen in Europe.
So the way that this works is you sign up on their website (linked above) and it's sort of like couchsurfing or warmshowers but for a minimal price. And you get a breakfast of the hosts choice in the morning. And it's for anyone biking through the NL. I believe it exists in other places but it's most popular in the NL. I don't have a lot of knowledge about all of these things but click those lanksss if you want to learn more! OR you can check out Alley's blog here because she talks about all things in regards to biking in Europe!
So this travel day was going to be a big one, and included quite a bit of hills. As you may know, the NL is flat as HELL. So it was a blessing and a curse because actually having hilly areas at the dunes was nice, but it was hard. haha. Also at this point I was frustrated because I started to notice it was SUPER hard for me to cycle and I was having a rough time. Also with all of the internal mental shit I had going on- at some points I just wanted to cry.
It was a hotter day and we were heading to Zandvoort, so it was more of a long haul at 38km/23.5mi. So with it being pretty hot outside we decided we HAD to stop and get some lunch and take a swim in the North Sea. At this point I had seen the North Sea a few times but never dipped my toes in it.
After we stopped for lunch and got back on the road we cycled from South Holland into North Holland and I managed to get a photo of that. Again, I was struggling SO bad with pedaling. At one point Alley said-- "Hey try to cycle with your toes and not your heels." to which I noticed and was like oh shit I can't physically do that. And she suggested we stop and move my seat up. The SECOND I got back on my bike it was pure relief and I felt like I could cycle one million times easier. Unfortunately our trip was almost over and my legs and knees hurt from cycling in a very compact way so I was happy when we finally reached Zaandvort. Once we arrived the station we had to wait a while before we could get on the trains because there are specific times we can be on it with bikes in tow.
The train station at Zaandvort is super small and there were only two platforms and trains only coming once every 30 minutes or so. And since it was such a beautiful day I guess there were a million people at the beach heading back into Amsterdam. There were also multiple other bikes on there as you see below. What I love about Dutch people is that they just make it work. We all helped each other get situated and we rode all the way back to Amsterdam.
My next blog post will be about the lovely Vanessa arriving!!! <3