Gorinchem – Rotterdam

De Goesting B&B, GorinchemOur B&B at Gorinchem was very special. Christina and her husband had bought a plot of dock-side land 20-odd years ago, and, while living on a houseboat, built, brick-by-brick, a house for themselves and an apartment to let out. They clearly love to sit beside the water, reading and drinking coffee. The B&B apartment was charming; so close to the water it felt like a houseboat, though apparently without risk of flooding as the water level is carefully managed. We slept in a box-bed; a cupboard containing a full-length bed.

Christina had helpfully provided some tourist information, including timetables for the local ferries, which forced a change of plan. The ferries we had planned to take to Woudrichem, and later across the Steur, would not start running until noon on a Sunday, so we were forced to re-route via bridges. It was not a big inconvenience, the main thing was to reach the Biesbosch, a glorious wetland well-populated with bird life. It was a rare warm sunny day and we enjoyed the luxury of an easy-paced comfortable ride, stopping at the wildlife museum on Biesbosch Museum Island for coffee and cake.

Being Sunday, racing cyclists were on the road in large groups with team jerseys. It made us realise that we had seen very few fast cyclists in Germany, but the Netherlands certainly made up for that.

In Dordrecht, we stopped for sandwiches on the docks where a couple of young lads were larking and apparently practising their English. “The monkey is in the the car” said one repeatedly, while the other replied “fuck off!”

We reached Kinderdijk, and the spectacular sequence of windmills standing alongside a canal. This is a popular tourist attraction, with many people of all nations tottering on rented bicycles. Here we needed to take a ferry to Slikkerveer via the Ridderkirk ferry terminal. This turned out to be quite tricky because the ferry stop at Kinderdijk had been moved and there was no advertised timetable. But, as so often, we were lucky that the right ferry (number 6) arrived by chance just as we had started to contemplate a 15 mile diversion to reach Rotterdam.

Happy cyclistsWe excitedly took on the final leg into Rotterdam, past the Feyenoord stadium, and celebrated success as we crossed the Erasmus bridge, our last crossing of the mighty Rhine.

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