August 2021 Bike Holiday – Day 1

By Ruben
This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series August 2021 Bike Holiday

Just like Bilbo Baggins wrote in his poem in the Hobbit, I’ve always liked the idea that there’s just one road. A road that’s like a river with many branches, connecting the whole world to your front door. If you step outside one day, you might find that it can take you somewhere far away instead of to work or to the supermarket. So this summer, I decided to let it do that. I booked a few places to sleep, and last Wednesday, set out with a bit more of a plan than Bilbo did one spring morning long ago. All I had to do was just keep on pedaling.

1. Oude Loswal, Hilversum
Ready to go!
2. Cronebos
In the woods just outside Hilversum
3. Kloosterlaan, Lage Vuursche
The village of Lage Vuursche, which is near the lowest point between two ranges of low hills: het Gooi (behind me) and de Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Both are known in the Netherlands as posh places to live
4. Vuursche Steeg, Lage Vuursche
5. Dolderseweg, Den Dolder
Underpass under the railway from Utrecht to Amersfoort near Den Dolder
6. Slotlaan, Zeist
When I was growing up, there were basically four types of takeaway in the Netherland: French fries (and other deep-fried snacks), pizza, kebab and “Chinese”. This is the “Indo Chinese” takeaway on the corner of the street in Zeist in lived in from when I was almost 14 to when I was 20
7. Slotlaan, Zeist
A (former?) sex shop surrounded by newer buildings
8. Slotlaan, Zeist
Indo Chinese restaurants “Asia”. For some reason, Chinese restaurants quickly became a theme of this trip
9. Slotlaan, Zeist
I don’t know why I was taking pictures of crappy old buildings when Slotlaan is actually quite an impressive avenue. The building on the left is Zeist town hall
10. Slotlaan
The end of Slotlaan,…
11. Slotlaan, Zeist
… which leads to Slot Zeist
12. Driebergseweg, Zeist
13. Hoofdstraat, Driebergen
An art-deco building in Driebergen
14. Hoofdstraat, Driebergen
15. Hoofdstraat, Driebergen
16. Hoofdstraat, Driebergen
17. Rijksstraatweg
Past Doorn, on the road to Leersum
18. Rijksstraatweg, Leersum
Having cycled almost 40 kilometers from Hilversum, I thought everything was starting to look slightly different from the heavily suburbanized west of the Netherlands
19. Rijksstraatweg, Leersum
I can’t point out exactly what it is that makes it different, but it might be that things look a tiny bit more improvised
20. Rijksstraatweg, Leersum
21. Rijksstraatweg, Leersum
Indo-Chinese restaurant “The Great Wall”
22. Rijksstraatweg
You haven’t been able to see much of it up to now, but we’re still crossing the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, a ridge of low hills that were created in the ice age. To the Dutch eye, it is actually hilly here
23. Koningin Wilhelminaweg, Amerongen
24. Koningin Wilhelminaweg, Amerongen
In my experience, houses with porches like this are more typical of the east of the country than the west
25. Rijksstraatweg
Landscape between Amerongen to Elst
26. Rijksstraatweg
27. Elsterstraatweg
28. Rijksstraatweg, Elst
29. Rijksstraatweg, Elst
30. Rijksstraatweg, Elst
Indo Chinese restaurant
31. Rijksstraatweg
View from the Utrechtse Heuvelrug towards the plains around the Nederrijn (Lower Rhine) river
32. Rijksstraatweg
33. Utrechtsestraatweg
The name of this petrol station roughly translates as “Fill Up & Tear Off”
34. Utrechtsestraatweg
The last peaks of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug
35. Utrechtsestraatweg
You can’t deny that there are at least a few moderate hills here
36. Utrechtsestraatweg, Rhenen
Riding into Rhenen
37. Utrechtsestraatweg, Rhenen
The floodplains of the Nederrijn again
38. Utrechtsestraatweg, Rhenen
The Cunerakerk, which was named after Saint Cunera, who was originally a princess from the Orkney Islands. How she ended up in Rhenen seems to be a long and complicated story. But legend has it that she quickly became popular for her kindness and care for the poor, which gained her the trust of the king of the Rhine, who lived in Rhenen. She subsequently became a martyr when the queen strangled her out of jealousy. This story turned Rhenen into a place of pilgrimage in the middle ages, and this church was built to receive the pilgrims in the fifteenth century. It has since been destroyed and rebuilt a numerous times
39. Frederic van de Paltshof, Rhenen
The rest of Rhenen seems to have a history of being destroyed and rebuilt as well. It’s famous for being the place where the Dutch army capitulated to the Germans after the Battle of the Grebbeberg in 1940. Reconstruction already started during the war, but the town was damaged again during the liberation of the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945. This time, the railway bridge was destroyed, transforming Rhenen into the end-of-the-line town it is today

40. Rijnbrug, Rhenen
Rhenen seen from the bridge across the Nederrijn, which marks the border between the provinces of Utrecht and Gelderland
41. Rijnbrug, Rhenen
You can’t deny that Rhenen is on a hill
42. Rijnbrug, Rhenen
I actually cycled back up the other side of the bridge to make this picture so I could prove it to you
43. Marsdijk, Kesteren
Continuing eastwards along the dike on the southern bank of the Nederrijn
44. Marsdijk, Kesteren
45. Marsdijk, Kesteren
46. Marsdijk, Kesteren
47. Marsdijk, Kesteren
44. Marsdijk, Kesteren
Looking the away from the river into the region called de Betuwe, which is famous for its orchards (which I’m not showing you any of)
49. Rijnbanddijk, Opheusden
50. Dodewaardsestraat, Opheusden
From Opheusden, I took the road south past Dodewaard
51. Waalbanddijk, Dodewaard
Though it is about 60 km “wide”, de Betuwe is only about 4 km from north to south at this point
52. Waalbanddijk, Dodewaard
It didn’t take me long to reach the Waal river (another branch of the Rhine), which is the souther border of de Betuwe
53. Waalbanddijk, Dodewaard
I followed the Waal…
54. Waaldijk
… past the motorway bridge near Ewijk…
55. Waaldijk, Slijk-Ewijk
… and past this white church
56. Waaldijk
… until the city of Nijmegen appeared on the horizon
57. Oosterhoutsedijk, Nijmegen
58. Snelbinder, Nijmegen
Crossing the Waal in Nijmegen (you can’t deny that there are some hills here as well)
59. Snelbinder, Nijmegen
Though I’ve never been there longer than 3 hours, Nijmegen (population: 170,000) always struck me as one of the best cities in the Netherlands. It’s a bustling student town that doesn’t feel smaller than Utrecht, despite being only half the size.
60. Snelbinder, Nijmegen
One the country’s two oldest towns, much of Nijmegen’s centre was rebuilt after it was bombed in WW2. As a result, it sometimes has a bit of a strange cityscape
61. Stationsplein, Nijmegen
Nijmegen station, which was built in the typical post-WW2 style
62. Molentraat, Nijmegen
The centre
63. Molentraat, Nijmegen
64. Broerstraat, Nijmegen
The Grote Markt, or main square
65. Broerstraat, Nijmegen
Looking back down the shopping street, much of which was rebuilt after WW2
66. Grotestraat, Nijmegen
And looking forward towards a street down the hill to the Waal
67. Burchtstraat, Nijmegen
68. Burchtstraat, Nijmegen
One of the things I like about Nijmegen is that, unlike more popular cities in the west of the country, there still seems to be some space for spontaneous creativity here
69. Berg en Dalseweg, Nijmegen
Leaving Nijmegen
70. Berg en Dalseweg, Berg en Dal
71. Oude Kleefsebaan
From the centre of Nijmegen…
72. Oude Kleefsebaan
… it’s uphill (here you really can’t deny it)…
73. Oude Kleefsebaan
…until you reach an undulating plateau, which is where Germany starts. This road is in the Netherlands, but everything to the left of it (including the petrol station) is in Germany
74. Oude Kleefsebaan
The road on the left goes into Germany, while the one on the right heads back into the Netherlands
75. Hauptstrasse, Wyler
Even though it wasn’t far (at this point approximately 90 kilometers) from home, being in another country felt special, especially after a year and a half of COVID, in which everything suddenly became local again
76. Hauptstrasse, Wyler
Because of the Schengen agreement, the customs buildings sit abandoned by the road
77. Hauptstrasse, Wyler
The ones on the either side of the road are being used as storage space by farmers
78. Nimweger Strasse
78. Nimweger Strasse, Kranenburg
80. Grosse Strasse, Kranenburg
81. Wanderstrasse, Kranenburg
82. Klever Strasse, Kranenburg
83. Klever Strasse
84. Wasserburgallee, Kleve
Almost at my hotel in Rindern, 105 km from home
85. Opschlag, Kleve
I ended the day with an excellent meal at a Vietnamese restaurant called ‘Momi’ in the centre of Kleve (I took this picture while I waited for my meal on the terrace)
Series NavigationAugust 2021 Bike Holiday – Day 2 >>
This entry was posted in Gelderland, Germany, Kreis Kleve, North Rhine-Westphalia, The Netherlands, Utrecht (province)

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