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We were warned that the weather was turning with thunderstorms and all in the forecast, so we tried to get an early-ish start again without much luck, but not too bad. I think I have started every journal entry with a statement similar to this! Clearly I’m an early bird who likes to get the worm but… !

Bunnik bound

We were headed for Bunnik today as we had booked in to the Stayokay hostel there, just outside of Utrecht, given the weather forecast and the health of our youngest; she was fine and wanted to eat most things (no nausea) but most food was going right through her.

Most of today was on quiet roads without a reduced speed limit (which surprised me), just paint. But, to be honest, people were so respectful of other that it didn’t matter, giving lots of room to pass, not always slowing down but some times. The scenery was predominantly agricultural today.

The weather was fine. Mostly sunny and the rainy weather that we were anticipating, as we were warned by the other bike tourer camping at Leersum, didn’t materialize until we were snug inside the hostel tonight — thunderstorms.

My back was sore today and it loosened up on the ride but I definitely strained it doing the all night bathroom brigade at Leersum, argh.

I was relieved to be close to a bathroom in our hostel room and we didn’t end up really needing it that night, although dinner still didn’t sit well with our youngest.

The hostel was set in the Amelisweerd and it was stunning. Very beautiful. Across a small stream, a few minutes walk away there was a Pannekoekenhuis – finally! – and my husband and the girls were very happy. They even had some nice outdoor seating on a lawn beside the river under some beautiful trees. It was a touristy operation but the setting and amenities were spot on. There was even a children’s playground set back a bit further, we didn’t use it but it sure was a great spot for kids. The pancakes, however, were good but very greasy, so it was not a very good meal choice for my poor youngest!

Everyone was a bit grumbly today on the bike. Made sense for the girls, especially my youngest, and we had worked my eldest pretty hard the last few days in some intense heat and insisted on “waking her up too early” because of the jetlag. Oh well! A rest day was needed and we would stay here tonight and end up booking in another two nights (concerned about my youngest and wanting to be close to facilities) but only using one additional night.

A day in Utrecht!

Yes, this header is worthy of an exclamation mark! Utrecht is famed for its cycling infrastructure, including a pathway that goes over a school amongst other great wonders. So, we just headed off in to town with no real agenda other than to be chill, find a playground or two, and get some food. It was all that and more.

From the top, starting with breakfast…

The hostel breakfast was very good and adequate. And it was nice to set off on our unloaded bikes. We found our way in to Utrecht fairly easily and our first stop was a playground!

I finally took the time to adjust my seat a little bit here and it was so worth it!

We saw a group of school kids riding to or from a field trip (I assume), it was so uplifting and gave me hope for the active travel work that I am doing in Calgary these days:

We tootled around Utrecht for a bit, found a place to grab sandwiches, thought to stay and eat but couldn’t find enough bike parking — I know! The irony kills me!!! — so my husband went in to get some food to go while we watched the bikes. While we were hanging out in the street along the canal, a nice lady asked if we were on holiday and proceeded to tell us of the most marvellous urban kids’ farm, so we went there. And stayed there because it was enchanting and positively wonderful. Exactly what the girls needed to rest and regroup. The parents, too, really; there was even a cafe within the farm – amazing. Seriously, for the parents out there, when have you not fantasized about at least having a coffee cart at your local playground, let alone a fenced in nature playground with animals and food?!

After a few hours we managed to tear them away and ride back to the hostel. We tried a different route back and regretted it as we were riding on a quiet road adjacent to a very loud and busy road. We managed to head up in to the Amelisweerd and then it was beautiful and calm again.

Utrecht seemed great. I loved the children’s place. There were charming old bits, not too much modern stuff that clashed (at least that we saw), and tones of infrastructure. People seemed friendly, too. Quite flat though, no way to get your orientation/bearings, unlike Arnhem area where there are hills.

My youngest survived the day and seemed to be turning the corner and there weren’t any great emergencies but she felt restricted in what she wanted to eat. Yoghurt, bananas, white bread seemed to do the trick to get her poops back on track. Otherwise, lots of stuff seemed to give her a stomach ache (and this was a bit of theme for the rest of the trip).

Our trip