EUROPE 2016

Bike and Barge - North Holland

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We were right on time into the huge Amsterdam Central Station. We plowed our way through the massive crowd to the front door and made our way across a canal to the #48 bus stop. We soon boarded a bus; but it was going the wrong directions; so we quickly got off and soon caught the right one heading to Borneo Island. After only about 10 minutes and two canals and one river, we alighted across the street from where our ship, the Angela Esmee, was moored.

The address across the street from the ship is Sumatrakade 1. Sumatrakade continues as Surinamekade; and the next street over is Javakade; and nearby is Borneokade. If kade means quay or wharf, what is the connection between these names?
If anything, the area around Amsterdam Central Station was even more crowded than Paris.
Waiting for the bus to the ship. The church in the background to the right is St. Nicholas Basilica, the major Catholic church in Amsterdam. Strangely, it does not have a Saturday evening mass.
Toasting with complementary champagne on the first evening is traditional with bike and barge cruises.
At supper time we began cruising along the IJ, the large river (some say it's a lake) running through Amsterdam and then up the smaller Zaan River to Zaandam. There was a lot of activity on the river that evening.
More revelers
I still want to try one of these some day.
Getting started from the ship moored at Zaandam on our first day of biking.
We would see a lot of the traditional wind mills today going through Polder country, land below sea level protected by dikes.
After biking along the Zaan River through the urban area for a while, we finally broke out into the country side. One problem with biking in the Netherlands is that all streets in small towns are brick, not as bad as cobblestones, but still somewhat rough.
Small town on the way to Alkmaar
De Waag - Cheese Museum and the tourist information Office in Alkmaar, our destination for the night.
The nose piece on my glasses had come loose; and I was able to find an optician in the center of Alkmaar, a few blocks from the ship. Like all towns of any size, it had a several blocks long pedestrian zone in the center.
Ready for diner in Alkmaar
Police station in Alkmaar viewed from the ship restaurant. It was the landmark for finding the ship.
Today's destination was Den Helder, a port on the northern tip of the North Holland peninsula. I was feeling slightly under the weather, so I decided to take a short cut straight north through the center of the peninsula while Gary, Lynn, Marcia, and Janelle took the long way along the North Sea coast. Jeanine decided to barge it to Den Helder.
Crusing the groetKanaal from Alkmaar to Den Helder
I'm not sure where this pirate ship was found.
Den Helder had a large seaport for being a relatively small city. This is the one of the pleasure boat areas of the harbor.
Here is a more commercial area. We saw many odd looking ships that must have something to do with North Sea oil exploration or extraction.
We also saw many sail boats from now on, including bike and sail. But I don't believe I every saw one with sails out.
Here is a competing bike and barge operation
The strange wing-like object ahead is a counter-weight used to open the bridge.
To open, it turns parallel to the bridge span.
During the evening we sailed to Oudeschild, a small harbor on the island of Texel.
We began the circular ride on Texel Island by heading north along the IJsselmeer, a large bay that forms the eastern boundary of the North Holland province and extends almost all the way to Amsterdam. Here we are riding on the seaward side of the dike.
More dike
Resting on the dike. Tables and benches were few and far between the whole trip.
It began to rain, as it did 5 out of the 6 days.
Fortunately we found shelter at a wind surfing place until the rain passed over. It was about the only shelter along the whole stretch.
We are now on the land side of the dike. You can see how far below sea level the land is.
By the time we decided to take an exit over the dike, we realized we had missed the official turn off to head west across the island. So we got in a few extra miles.

Riding along the seaward side of the dike, it seemed like we were at the end of the world. But once we headed inland, the countryside was very scenic, farms, farm villages, and a national park with dense forests. We made it as far as an overlook to the North Sea, but decided to turn around there because it was a long steep climb back up to where we were.

Unfortuanately, we didn't get any pictures of the rest of the island.
The next morning we sailed from Oudeschild to Medemblik back on the mainland. The dock was a pile of rocks; so the bikes had to be unloaded assembly line style down the hatch and across the gang way to a road.
Departing Medemblik
The first town was the attractive Twisk.
Typical drainage ditch running through the main street of Twisk.
As we approach Midwoud it started raining (what's new); and we were able to take shelter along side this garage without an overhand because of the wind.
Here we are riding on a bike path through farmland with half mile long, two story green houses.
More greenhouse across the road. They were growing a variety of flowers and vegetables.
Passing through a conservation area west of Enkhuizen. North Holland has very few wooded areas, almost always in a park or conservation area.
Bicycle bridge near the harbor in Enkhuizen, our home for two nights. We could actually see our ship off to the left; but because of various canals there was no direct way and we had to go by way of the center of town.
Boats and bicycles. I took advantage of an ice cream shop next to the bridge and the rare place to sit and enjoy it.
Getting closer to our ship in Enkhuizen
It was a good day to take advantage of the nice dining room/lounge. The people in the background belonged a 19 person family group from Alaska. The older generation is on the left, the younger on the right. The patriarch and matriarch, 85 and 80 years old respectively, made the tour on Bike Fridays.
The rain didn't stop us from making a trip to Aldi's in downtown Enkhuizen
We had spent two nights a Enkhuizen because of some problem with the dock at our scheduled stop, Volendam. Early the second morning we set sail for Volendam. Because of the aforementioned problems there, we again docked at a pile of rocks; so the bikes had to be unloaded assembly line style.
Crowd milling around waiting for bikes at Volendam.
Gary helping unload the bikes.
Gary going back for another bike.
The last day turned out to be very nice: no rain for the first time and no urban sprawl until we werw very close to the ship.
Outside tourist office in Monnickendam, our first rest stop of the day. There we were able to find the location of a public restroom, a very rare item in the Netherlands.
Bridge across canal in center of Monnickendam.
Capturing Monnickendam from the bridge
I'm not sure who that is next to me on the Monnickendam bridge. The public WC was well hidden away behind my back.
Not long after leaving Monnickendam we had to decide whether to continue on to Marken an island connected to the mainland by a 1.2 mile causeway. Not wanting to buck the strong wind on the causeway, we decided to continue on the long route to Amsterdam after getting a picture of the island and causeway.
The pretty village of Zuiderwoude
More of Zuiderwoude
I'm not sure where this is; but it has to be Zuiderwoude
Same bridge across small inlet
Church in Zuiderwoude
Zuiderwoude church cemetary
The Netherlands and Belgium are criss-crossed with a network of bike routes . Each junction between two routes is numbered, called a Knooppunt. At each junction is a sign with the Knooppunt number and a map showing the routes leading away from it, together with the number of the next Knooppunt. This system only included routes designed for tourists. There were bike routes between just about any two points. Each day we were issued a map with the routes on it, together with instructions listing the knooppunts. This made it very easy to to follow the route and to improvise along the way without getting lost.
Knooppunt # 1 in Broek in Waterland. Fiets is bicycle in Dutch.
Here you see the signs pointing to adjacent knooppunts. No's 2 and 38 are straight ahead and No. 57 is to the right.
Broek in Waterland
Leaving Broek in Waterland
Zunderdorp
Randsdorp. We could see the tall buildings in Amsterdam in the background; but the scene was still pastoral.
Durgerdam, the last village before Amsterdam proper. From now on we would be riding on the brick street.
Eventually we came to a free ferry that crossed the IJ and landed right next to our ship docked at Sumatrakade.
We happened to board the ferry with our two cruise directors/tour guides (I forget their names). I was disallusioned to see that the lady rode an eBike. The small battery is above the fender and in front of the tail light.
The ferry viewed later from the ship
Ceremonial presentation of the crew at the last evening meal.
Last glimpse of Amsterdam as we headed to Central Station to catch the train to Frankfurt am Main
Waiting on the platform at Amsterdam Central Station for ICE 123 to Frankfurt am Main. Normally, European train stations do not have waiting rooms. The only seating is in the platform.
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