We awoke in the so-so campground, had breakfast, and packed up.
We are slow in the mornings, still, and this will be the trend throughout most of the trip, which is mostly okay. I write ‘mostly’ because it is nice to not have to adjust the kids’ clocks completely in order to make an easier transition when we cross the Atlantic back to Canada, but it is a bit of a shame because the weather was usually the nicest, least hot, and least windy in the mornings. Often dry and the wind seemed to pick up in the early afternoon as a new system of weather moved in.
We roll down to town, thinking we would supplement our meagre breakfast with another coffee and some pastries, but manage to miss the first town altogether and have to wait until the next. Waginengen. It was worth it. The centre of this town was charming and we found a lovely local organic grocer, Odin, that had great food choices for stocking up and had freshed baked goods. And strawberries! We scarfed lunch down on the sidewalk across from the store: fruit, quiche, young carrots, and a new licorice!
The ride west of here was windy up on a dyke. I was unsure of the new terrain we were entering, trying to be optimistic but also wistful of the parks and quiet woods we were leaving behind, knowing full well that this was the beginning of the end of that period of our trip and that the western part of central Netherlands is heavily populated and developed.
Shortly after the industrial and windy dyke, we deked off onto the most lovely hard-packed gravel path in order to by-pass a massive hill that the LF route would have taken us up. It was the best decision and one of my favourite bits on this trip.
Our initial plans were to go in to the Utrecht hills but my husband was wary of more forests and missing out on something different, plus the distances were shorter if we stayed low and we had a solid day to get to Leersum, as is, with kids tired from the intense heat and longer days from the two days prior. In the end I was very glad we stayed low as we found some lovely hilly routes through the woods, regardless, and camped at the best Naturkamperterreenen of our entire trip.
When we arrived in Leersum, a meer kilometre or so from our campground, my eldest veered her bike into a parked car because she was so fatigued. She managed to put a small scratch in the paint so we hunted down the owner but they wouldn’t let us pay for anything, saying it was an older car (it didn’t seem that old) and that we should go on and enjoy our vacation. I hooked up my tired kid to the FollowMe Tandem (thank goodness for that thing) and we rolled the last meters to camp. We have hardly used the FMT, maybe three times this entire trip, so I regret having to lug around the extra 4 kg (8.8 lbs), but it has been an important ingredient to keep going when we have used it.
The Leersum Naturkamperterreenen was a small orchard adjacent to an old farm that seems to now be run as a B&B, this campground, and a hobby farm (or full-fledged farm, I’m not sure). We pitched our tent under an apple tree. There was one other cycle tourist staying there, too — he was from near Rotterdam and heading in the direction we had come from. We got our first picnic table of the trip! There was a willow tipi for the kids to play in, a lovely sheltered nook for a fire, and a small shelter in case the weather was wet. The showers cost extra but were so lovely with a big rain head. And we slept beside horses in their field.
The girls were very, very happy here. They got their second wind and played up a storm, ate some dinner, then played some more.
This campground advertised a breakfast that they would serve and it sounded so delicious! We really wanted to order it but the owners were nowhere to be found. Finally we connected with someone who worked on the property and it turns out that they were out for the evening at a social event. So, it was not meant to be. If you ever stay here, please have it for me!
Unfortunately, I was up three or so times that night as my youngest had a bout of diarrhea. On the last run across the field with her on my front or when we got back to the tent and I was helping her in, I strained my silly lower back but didn’t realize it until the next morning.
- Overseas travel day: car, plane, train, & bike!
- Day 1 Riding: Arnhem through the Veluwezoom to near Loenen
- Day 2 Riding: Hoge Veluwe National Park
- Day 4 Riding + Rest Day: Leersum to Bunnik + Utrecht
- Day 5 Riding: Utrecht to Fort Spion
- Day 6 Riding: Multimodal day, Fort Spion to Dordrecht via Rotterdam
- Day 7 Riding: Rest days, then Dordrecht to just outside of Delft
- Day 8 Riding: via Delft to Den Haag, plus a rest day
- Day 9: Den Haag to Leiden via the North Sea Route
- Day 10: Leiden to Schiphol, then home!