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North Sea Route and the Meijendel

Today we packed up camp for the last time and rode a bit north then west into the Meijendel and it was awesome. Highly recommend it. It’s this gorgeous sand dune area along the coast, parts forested, parts open and hummocked. That and it’s adjacent to a world class city!

map of meijendel at entrance
cycling meijendel

We were running low on food for breakfast but didn’t want to buy more and we fuelled up at the cafe therein. It was a spectacular building and setting; the food was fine, typical, and totally met our needs.

Right by this cafe is an awesome nature playground of sorts in the woods with ropes courses and everything. We could have got lost here for a few hours!

pannekoeken meijendel
crushed shells instead of crushed gravel

Then we continued a bit further west into the park, closer to the coastline and started to headed north and were gently carried by a tailwind through dunes and pine forests all the way to Katwijk. It was splendid. We made it to the North Sea!

biking meinjendel

Riding this small section of the North Sea route makes me want to ride the whole route, at least through the Netherlands. The terrain was undulating and just so lovely. The sand dune landscape was so unique; the Hoge Veluwe had a unique dunes cape, too, but they were different from each other in shrubbery.

The roses were in full bloom and I think that there might have been mock orange or some other similar fragrant white flowered shrub blooming, too, so we would ride through these heavenly heady wafts of sweetness.

north sea bike route
fox in the meijendel
north sea route meijendel

Katwijk to Leiden

We had a wonderful lunch in Katwijk, the girls had a romp on the beach while I watched the bikes, and then it started to sprinkle with rain so we dashed and headed inland again, to Leiden, where we had a Fietsers Welkom hotel booked for the night, near the train station. We opted for a hotel with that designation to assure that storing the bikes wouldn’t be a hassle nor insecure and I’m glad we did as it worked out really well (but, my goodness, the sticker shock for the price of a hotel room was a bit much after paying for camping).

The ride in was okay. Some was meh, some was beautiful. It was fascinating to yet again have the last riding of our day timed with all of the children riding home from school — a theme of most of our days, and I loved it.

wildflower boulevards netherlands

We rode by brand new greenfield developments and it was interesting to see the typology of buildings (mostly single family being built here), without huge yards etc, and just a nice size. It seemed like a relatively affluent area. The gardens were just stunning and quaint, each one slightly different, interacting with the canal in various ways. There were canoes and even some motorboats on one canal. It was all pretty darn cool.

Leiden

And then we rolled into Leiden and it was charming.

We checked in to our hotel, showered to warm up and dry off, put on dry clothes, and then the weather cooperated and we walked around and explored. First we found a really good places for fresh fries (finally!) to stave off the hangry. Then my husband found the Burcht and we went to the top of it which was awesome to finally get to the height of land again to have a view! 

burcht leiden netherlands
leiden netherlands

That’s one thing that’s so peculiar getting used to in the western part of the Netherlands: it’s so flat and there is no view! It can be quite disorienting at times!!!

flowers growing everywhere netherlands

We eventually settled on an Italian place for dinner and ordered a margherita pizza and two antipasto plates, one vegetarian and one meat. It was perfect and just so yummy. Everyone ate well and was content.

We got chilly eating outside, even under the heat lamp. The girls still wanted gelato for dessert though so off we went and found some! Then we walked home to go to bed — our last sleep in the Netherlands, for now.

Journal entries from our trip