Heading off to the Netherlands with the family for our bike adventure I was expecting great infrastructure and friendly people. We’ve certainly experienced lots of both, but we’ve been blessed by extraordinary kindness every day.
From members of the Australian national cycling team lending us their stand up bike pump in Amsterdam’s airport when we were putting the bikes together to campsite neighbours offering coffee on rainy mornings when Derek’s stove wasn’t starting, we’ve met lots of people who have gone out of their way to help out. Even if the campsites are full, when we arrive, there always seems to be room for us.
Maybe because there are so many bike touring travellers here – we see around 40-50 every day – there isn’t a formal Welcome Cyclists network like we have in Ontario or Bienvenue cyclists like in Quebec. There are simply too many people travelling by bike to make special exceptions. But the kids and their big cheerful grins win everyone over.
A few days ago we were eating second breakfast outside a grocery store in Landsmeer (a beautiful small town outside Amsterdam) when a man came out of the store and asked us how long we were travelling in his country and how we liked it. We had a short conversation and before driving away, he gave Jasper and Anna Sierra 5 Euros to treat themselves to ice cream!
Today we are staying in a Mini-Camping – 15 campsites on a very small farm a few kilometres away from a very popular windsurfing and kite surfing spot. Jasper was invited to help feed the mini ponies, sheep, chickens and duck this morning.
Soon we’ll bike into town in search of more fuel for the stove and a post office as the children have found gifts they’re keen to mail to their friends. As in every lovely town we’ve biked through in the last two weeks, I’m sure there will be lots of bike parking outside every store and we’ll see people of all ages riding in to pick up a few things, like fresh bread, delicious cheese and local fruit and veggies.
Hope everyone is doing well. Sending warm wishes and big hugs,