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The Netherlands

The tall green sign gives distances to "Rhede (Ems)", "Neurhede", "Vlagtwed... Back in the Netherlands, with its different style of signs and road markings, and its yellow number ... When I was planning today's route, it took me a very long time consulting several different websites... Seeing this signpost for UNESCO World Heritage Sites made me assume that Fort Bourtange is one but i... The fort is this way. Tourists who don't want to walk from the car park are taken in the little buggy. The woman on the left is posing with an umbrella. The one on the right is taking pictures. The way into Fort Bourtange. Clogs. There are a few metal cut-out figures in the fort but I don't know what they are for. All the writin... Bourtange. I would call this Bourtange's central squre except that, ike the whole fort, it's a pentagon. Bourtange. At this point, I thought the red sheds around the fortifications were sentry boxes, although it seem... The stairs up to my room. My room. The man in the tourist imformation office said that he didn't speak much English, and then ... This is where my bike will be spending the night, in the rain again. In the six years that I've had ... The fort was completed in 1593, had its last battle in 1672 and was a military installation until 18... When I was looking online trying to work out where the hotel was, I came across pictures of this vie... My room came with a voucher for free entry to six of the buildings. It turns out that that's not muc... Bourtange. Looking towards the south entrance. Bourtange. The Captain's Lodge. The Captain's Lodge. I like how the door is propped open by a broom. The white building is the syngogue which is still occasionally used. There were some tourists inside... This is called the Horse Mill. It's across the road from the windmill which I showed earlier. None o... A blurry picture that got in here by mistake. Gears. Near the windmill. The windmill. Ramparts. View from the ramparts. The church. Bourtange. A man putting boxes into his car in the rain. They're not sentry boxes. They're toilets. Bourtange. There are no longer holes in the floor. Having drop toilets out here and asking 20 cents for the flu... Bourtange. Bourtange. The sign points down the stairs to the movie theatre, which is just a slightly bigger version of thi... Bourtange. Putting out the rubbish. Bourtange. The modern village of Bourtange is to the north fo the fort, beyond the big car park, but there are ... When I took ... I hope these things had a door on them when they were in use. The museum has just closed. This guide is now on her lengthy commute home, which looke like about 10... I'm not using a weird wide-angle lens here. The place is a pentagon so the street corner is 54 degre... That building is full of clocks. This isn't a particularly comfortable place to sit. A view of Bourtange at night. It's quite funny coming out of my room in the morning and finding this. Before the exhibits open for the day. Breakfast. I came across the border yesterday and pretty much straight into this weird village which has no sta... A pottery shop in Bourtange. A plaque on the building where I was staying had the date 2001. Everything about the building looks ... I'm in the red shed which overhangs the water in ... The day tourists have arrived. A sheep near the information centre. Hello. On the right is the flag of Groningen province. Flags are flying well today because there is an inte... Scenery. Dutch roundabouts are sometimes indicated just by the pattern of the cobbles. Sometimes, the centre ... Vlagtwedde. Vlagtwedde, with a man returning from the nearby supermarket. A road along the canal in the town of Stadskanaal. The same place but with a bike. Leaving a town. A place to shelter from a brief rain shower. An old sign. Just a street corner really. This house has deer and geese. Oh. I didn't expect this. I was on a track through the woods and suddenly it opened out to this beau... The beach. A closer view. The only person on this beach. I nearly crashed into these people here because they stopped at the junction but the left brake on m... Assen, the only city I will see today. The flags at the low level are all Dutch but at the high level, as in the previous picture, there ar... Assen. Assen. Assen. Well, it's clearly ... There are no teeshirts on it though. My route out of Assen. Assen in in the province of Drenthe, whose flag you see here. Just some people on bikes. Assen. Floaty things in the canal. Looking back towards Assen. Another bike. A metal detectorist. A canal lock. I believe I do. There's no need for me to arrive at the hotel this early so I'm going to watch this week's ... A prison. More about this later. It's probably fine that there are people on the roof. A house in the village of Veenhuizen. In the early 19th century, there was a large underclass of people living in poverty in Dutch cities.... Strange. The old prison is surrounded by canals. The back entrance. The free colony was built as a grid of straight roads to make it easy for the authorities to keep an... These are buildings which were added in about 1900 when this became a real prison. The building on t... Inside. Here, I don't have the problem of the door swinging shut while I'm picking up my bags. My room. Over the years, I have gone from buying maps as I go and posting them home afterwards, to buying map... The WiFi password in the information folder is correctly punctuated and even has the capital letters... The houses of this age at Veenhuizen have text carved on the front which is relevant to role of the ... There is some old wallpaper on the inside of the roof above the bed. I think the date says 22nd Sept... I first took a picture without the beer but the waiter suggested that it would look better with it t... The doctor's house now has a wall down the middle to divide it into two mirror-image halves, each wi... Somebody walking two horses past the building. Thatching. Yesterday, I passed a modern house with a couple of bay windows and quite a complicated r... Donkerbroek. A statue which apparently commemorates the occasion in 1749 when young people rang the bells to warn... The flags of the Netherlands, Friesland province and the village of Donkerbroek. Sleepy sheep. It's obviously an advertisement for a car service centre but it's in the garden of an ordinary house... Within this local area, all of the town names and the street names are in two languages. I'm more co... The building next to the petrol pumps is a bike shop. Emerging from an underpass under a motorway into one of the suburbs of Heerenveen. Heerenveen. A large antenna mast in a garden. A quiet road. I've deviated from my planned route. The diversion was unintentional but you can't say it wasn't wor... Only the biggest rock in the Netherlands! It's 44 tonnes but used to be four time this size until so... Friesian cows, in every sense. Another windmill. The Heineken lorry has just arrived. At a bus stop. Just some ferns that I passed on a track through the woods. The land has become very flat again. The road embankment is pretty much the only hill. A lifting bridge lowering in the distance in front of me. The modern road doesn't need a lifting bridge. A boat on a boat. My hotel, where you can sleep, eat, drink and more. For instance, if you arrive a few minutes too ea... The hotel is a strange mix of styles. It has a vaguely classical theme: there were some Roman column... A corridor near reception. The colourful building blocks at the far end look a bit out of place. I paid a bit extra to get one of the extravagant rooms but there are five of them, all different, an... A different view. Opening the curtains spoils the impression a bit. Coming from this direction, the hotel is the first building in the town, which is called Sneek in Du... The restaurant here is a buffet, which is great because there's lots of food, no waiting and not muc... A better view of a lifting bridge. Sneek. A farm. I'm assuming that the yellow arrows on the road are the recommended route into Bolsward for cyclists... A statue of a man who has just fished an old boot out of the canal. Bolsward. Bolsward. Bolsward. Bolsward. It's bright and sunny here but the wind turbines look rather feint, as if there is heavy rain fallin... I'm going to the left here. There's a reason why there are no places listed in the 5 to 35 km range. The village of Zurich. Beyond the embankment is the sea. According to the GPS, I'm three metres below sea level on this side of the embankment. The sun reflecting of the IJsselmeer. The IJsselmeer, where the Zuiderzee used to be. People learning to kite surf. Looking back to where I've just come from. I'm now at the beginning of the Afsluitdijk, the 32 km lo... The buildings are on Kornwerderzand, the artificial island. It incorporates a set of locks and a swi... Oh. Just as I was riding past a car park, this "bike bus" pulled in and stopped. It turns ... I've come into the exhibition about the dam. The exhibition was obviously created with foreign visitors in mind because it has almost no text. To... You can climb the ladder and stick your head through that small gap. At the top is a little bit of s... The swing bridge has opened to let some boats through, which is why all the traffic on the motorway ... The kite surfers are getting the hang of it now. She's waiting for a lift. One of the boats which was stopping the traffic. Another view of the same place. I'm still the only passenger on this ride. The driver seemed surprised about that. Half-way across t... A garden wall made of solar panels. Hello? What's going on here? Some sort of historical reenactment. The same place. The signs at this end of the Afsluitsdijk explain the bike situation much better than the ones at th... "Strawberry and cherry ice cream." One more. Holland. Very flat. My desination town, Wieringerwerf. My hotel is actually at a motorway service area so I'm surprised ... Even though it's on a motorway, it still has bike parking. There is also secure undercover bike park... Nothing remarkable about my room tonight, I'm afraid. I've got my own little patio with a view of the car park. Two of the things that I just bought in the town. It just amused me that they were such similar shap... A field. Here's what's in the field. When I took ... Sorry if you think there are too many pictures like this. A boat on the canal in Middenmeer. Middenmeer. Wind turbine construction. I've just realised the answer to a question which I asked ... Stages of construction. Sheep. They've seen me! As predicted, I do have a tailwind today. With a bit of struggling, I have managed to get the chain ... A ruined church. A strange pattern of thatching. The view from a small bridge. A typical Dutch roundabout. I'm on a road which is straight for several kilometres but has quite a few changes of character with... It also has this measuring scale all the way along both edges. I don't know what the units are, or w... A view. Somewhere around here, a bridge is closed so bikes have to use a ferry. It doesn't affect me though. The Eiffel Tower. One of several sailing boats on this stretch of canal. This one isn't using its sails. Dairy land. Another bridge... ... and the boat which caused it to lift. Push-button crossings are back. That shows that I'm back into the densely-populated part of the Neth... The bike heading to the right, with its typical Dutch passenger arrangement, has just come of the en... ... Solar Freaking Roadway. Okay, it's not technically a Solar ... I had half a mind to visit the French version, the ... There is an information board just off the the left of this picture but there's a baby asleep in fro... The station in Wormerveer. The Pink Windmill? A glass fire station. Remember this place? It was ... I didn't go upstairs last time. This block of flats has a strange thing on its roof. After 48 years and 18 days, ... Central Zaandam. See anything else you remember? Zaandam. Zaandam. The top of the green swirly roof includes a "C&A" logo. The particularly strange building is the Inntel Hotel, ... I think these buildings are all part of the City Hall. They were already here in 2011... ... but Subway wasn't.... Zaandam. The entrance to Zaandam City Hall. The inside of the station looks like this... ... but it's surrounded by all this. I'm surprised that eight years after my last visit, this development still isn't finished. This is where I'll be staying this year. It certainly has plenty of parking. The racks right outside... There's quite a choice of sockets in this room. Posh stairs. Part of the breakfast buffet. The bike parking is just outside the window. I've just learned, not from this buffet, that the skin on kiwi fruit is edible. I ate this one and I... The wooden buildings continue along the start of today's route. More. A house by a canal. Today's start and end points are only 18 km apart, although I'm intending to ride significantly furt... The rabbit popped up and scared the cow, which in turn scared the rabbit. Another plane. There's a swan. This is one of those roads which run along the tops of of flood defences. The flood defences aren't for the little canal in the picture. They are for the North Sea Canal, the... Locks. A plane letting its wheels down. I don't know what the pools are for. The same plane. An unusual building at what I think is a waste management facility. There are four motorways and some railways which tunnel under the North Sea Canal but none of the tu... The North Sea Canal. One of the motorways going into a tunnel. When I first saw this swan, it was sitting on the white lines in the middle of the road. It's a busy... The dome of St. Agatha's church looks Italian. Somebody feeding sheep. Another motorway tunnel. Ah. The sign says that the route across the locks is closed so I have to cross the river using the &... All that stuff in the middle of the picture is the locks. There is obviously a lot of construction g... The oil tanker ... The man on the left came and spoke to me and said that he once rode from here to Sweden as well. A ship outside the locks. Even though it's only a short trip across the canal, there are two ferries working. Somebody fishing. The waste reclamation place, now seen from the other side of the canal. One of the pumping stations which keeps the land dry even though it is slightly below sea level. That looks like coal heaped up next to a dock. There isn't a power station or a mine or a railway he... I don't know what the huge earthwork is. It's being neatly trimmed though. A heron on the bike path. In a park, where the bike path crosses a horse track. The horse track. Put the poles neatly at the right spot. If you don't like planes, today isn't the day for you. Halfweg. That seems to be just a block of flats with a clock tower. Another clock tower nearby. Goats. This very much looks like a pumping station but the sign on the other side of it says that it's a re... A little shrine. The pumping station and the reflection of its chimney. Now I'm getting close to Schiphol Airport. The control tower was in ... Schiphol. There are quiet roads with bike lanes along both sides of the canal. Here, they all go under the A5 ... There's strange traffic on that road. Schiphol has five full-length runways, one of which is quite some distance from the terminal. Today,... They obviously wanted to be in the a picture. ... Planes taxi across here... ... and then over these roads and the canal. Obviously, the canal can only be navigated by very low boats. There are no lifting bridges here. It looks like the planes are just out for a drive on quiet country roads. Another view. Here comes another one. It's quite a strange scene. The taxiway isn't as thick as I expected. The surface of the taxiway is about three metres below sea... A jumbo. Just a couple more? Okay, that's all. Bike traffic lights sometimes have the little white lights which go out one at a time to count down ... Yesterday afternoon, I saw a lot of bikes carrying with bunches of flowers. Here's another one. Hoofddorp. Hoofddorp station. Outside my hotel. "NP" is an abbreviation for "no parking", or maybe for Dutch words with the same... I'm locking my bike here while I check in but the weird thing is that apart from the two in this pic... I think I bought more sweets than necessary in Wieringerwerf. On this entire trip, I have only once ... I can watch this on a nice big screen this week. A view from the hotel. Breakfast here was good. I wouldn't say it was the best breakfast of the trip... Hoofddorp and its reflection. A double-decker train. This one is parked. It looks like ther's some sort of old fortification in the embankment. Scenery. It will remain a mystery. A moving train. Skyline. Another scene. It looks like he's filming himself out of the window. I should be over there. Just one that I passed. Sassenheim station. A flower farm. The flowers are arranged by colour. Leiden. Leiden. Leiden station. I'm pretty much following the railway all the way from Hoofddorp to the Hague. The medical department of Leiden University. That's a large blood bank. Outside the station and bus station in Leiden. Leiden. A Danish diplomatic number plate. The Louwman Musuem, obviously. Neither of these is how I expected the route into the centre of the Hague to be. Just after I had taken this picture, the man, who is also taking a photograph, turned round and call... A street scene with bikes. The Hague. The Hague. The station in The Hague. Trains arriving on two levels at once. A panoramic view. Construction. Must be Chinatown. The Hague City Hall. The trams down here at street level look quite old-fashioned. The entrance to an underground bike garage. The shopping area in The Hague. The gates open automatically whenever a tram comes. The Hague. The stairs are a big screen. It looks kind of dangerous. A department store. The style of the building looks early 20th century but the windows look hundreds of years old. A shopping centre. One of the shops looks to be covered in grass. Peek & Cloppenburg is quite a big chain of clothes shops. I've seen lots of them. Nine million bicycles in Beijing? The building on the right is decorated with what look like giant storks' heads. The Hague. The Hague. There are a lot of bikes here. I like how it's opposite a gym. The base of a windmill in a place called Monster. The same windmill. The big sand dune at the back of the beach. Cyclists heading up onto the dune. The beach is busy but I haven't realised why yet. Another part of the beach. Is that a whale? The view towards Rotterdam and the ferry port, where my ferry is already berthed. A house and garden. "Cherries grow here" This year, I've developed a fondness for pictures of things on shimmering water. More greenhouses. The sand dunes. Seaside buildings, next to a notice board about the Rhine cycle route, which must end very near here... A place to sit. A ship heading towards the mouth of the river. My ship is waiting on the left. On the left of this picture, you can see part of the flood defences which were in ... Shimmer. An old fort, with the date 1881. I wonder if she's waiting for the same ferry as I am. Pilot boats. I assume that they are pilots for the whole port of Rotterdam, not just the Hook of Hol... The bike sign for England, where I will be going tonight. Looks like I'm here a bit early. A ship being guided by tug boats at the front and back. Sonething very large being pushed and pulled round a corner from one branch of the river into anothe... Wind turbines catching the evening sunlight. Ships coming in and out of the mouth of the Rhine. The one on the right is a cruise ship which passe... The heavily-loaded bike belongs to a man from the Birmingham area who has been on a ride to Norway a... This is what's called a single cabin. I don't think I've been able to book one of those before. They... A view of the docks and oil processing facilities on the other side of the river. The streaks of lig... A similar view. It's quite a pretty scene at night, perhaps because modern lights are white. The areas which are sti... There is a man near me on the phone. I can't tell whether he's speaking German or Dutch but I can he... A lone camper van is waiting to be let onto the ferry. It's a busy river. There are always ships going past. More. Our favourite group of worlds. Each table in the restaurant is decorated with a blue paper napkin which has been made to resemble a... I think it's a bin. The bright red streak is the light on the end of the breakwater which separates the very last part o...