Sunday 25 March 2018

Netherlands day1

We arrived at Harwich at just after 20:30. The boarding had just commenced although the sailing was not until 23:00. After a short queue we were on board and climbing 7 flights of stairs to our cabin. The Stena Hollandica is a modern ferry with and Italian flare on the internal design. We had factored in the Holland being 1 hour forward from the UK but had not considered the clocks changing to British summer time when we booked the tickets. So we lost 2 hours sleep on the journey. The arrival time in the Hock of Holland was 9:00am on our tickets but confirmed as 8:00 am when we were on board. So after a good night’s sleep were woken at the equivalent of “5:00 UK time” to be told breakfast was now being served. We had had disembarked and cleared emigration and we on our way towards Leiden by 9:00. A road closure and division added some additional scenery and provided the opportunity to stop at La Place for breakfast. A popular self-serve establishment with a wide selection of freshly prepared self-serve food. Breakfast gave us the opportunity to study the map and decide on a location for a bike ride. We decided to head 10 km north of Leiden to the coast at Noordwijk aan Zee. We found a place to park and got the Garmin to suggest 3 circular rides . We pick a route thought the dunes to Zandvoort and the back towards Haarlem before returning to Noordwijk aan Zee. A round trip of 28 miles. We had to replan when the route thought the dunes was closed because of a local event talking place. We abandoned following the Garmin and instead used the Dutch “knooppunten “ a junction route network where you pick the junction numbers you want to cycle to and follow the numbers signs. The advantage is you only need to remember the sequence of junction numbers . Information boards at the junctions provide the opportunity or extend or shorten the ride. We headed in a northerly direction following the junction numbers towards Harlaam. A café on route provided a tasty if expensive bowl of soup for lunch. We sat outside because although I had brought the lock to secure the bikes I had left the key in the car! We returned Noordwijk aan Zee via a circular loop. The ride went past several bulb fields so would quite spectacular in a few weeks time when the tulips have a chance to grow and flower. We arrived at the BB Het Vogelhuis at 16:30 where Jan showed us our large room with shared kitchen in separate extension to the main house. I had not reserved parking so had to leave the car on the road. Free on a Sunday but 10 cents an hour for the first 2 hours after 9:00 on weekdays and after that its 2 euros per hour . We decided to eat out so cycled into the centre of Leiden. Fortunately, we ignored the map as I had pick up directions to a couple of restaurants in the opposite direction. After a throughout investigation we selected a Spanish restaurant. The choice helped by the recommendations from some people sitting outside, We shared some fried padron peppers to start and then a paella.

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