George and Jean's tour of Belgium and Holland, September 2007

We wanted our annual tandem tour to end in Holland this year so we could visit George's daughter Anna who had recently moved to The Hague with her husband and new baby. We had begun to explore Holland on a short visit earlier in the year and found that its towns and countryside have a lot more to offer to tourists than we had imagined.

As usual when touring by tandem, the options for transporting the tandem to the start and finish were limited; after some research, we established that our splittable tandem would be accepted as baggage on a Eurostar train if registered and sent in advance (conventional tandems are banned), so we booked tickets to Lille, which is in France very close to the Belgian border. For the return journey, the Hook-of-Holland - Harwich ferry was conveniently located 20 km from The Hague and the train from Harwich to London seemed to accept bicycles.

We worked out the route shown below with some help from friends who had toured extensively in both Belgium and Holland. Of course the cycling facilities in The Netherlands are incomparable and those in Belgium (at least the Flemish part in which we travelled) are not far behind. The towns and countryside through which we passed fully lived up to our expectations, as did the bed-breakfast and hotel accommodation.

Overall, it was an excellent tour with plenty of variety, good museums and architecture in most of the towns we visited and the cycle tracks and other cycling facilities we used were so good that we felt we had returned to an under-developed country when we got home, at least as far as cycling is concerned. Compared to our experience of cycle touring in many parts of France, the things we missed most were the small restaurants serving local or national cuisine and the local food shops (boulangeries, pâtisseries, charcuteries). Not that we starved or anything, just that we had to plan and buy the supplies for our picnics a little more in advance!


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To view our daily logs and photos click on a link below:
Kms
Total kms
Accommodation

Day 1: Eurostar to Lille, cycle to Kortrijk (French: Courtrai)

49
49
Hotel Groeninge
€70
Day 2: Kortrijk - Gent
75
124
Kasteellan, studio
€70 w/o breakfast
97
221
Hof van Aragon
€90
Day 4: Lier - Maastricht
117
338
Country in the City
B & B
€85.
Day 5: Maastricht sightseeing
Day 6: Maastricht - Venlo
103
441
Inn d'n Acht B&B,
Helbeek 8
Day 7: Venlo - Nijmegen
85
526
B & B, 303 St. Annastraat,
+31 24-3501808.
Day 8: Nijmegen - Otterlo
55
581
De Vogelvlucht B & B
Day 9: Otterlo - Utrecht
79
660
Hotel Ouwi
Day 10: Utrecht - Gouda
55
715
Zwanennest B & B
Day 11: Gouda - The Hague (Den Haag)
68
783
Return via Hook of Holland
20
803

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