Time: 2 hours 57 minutes
Average speed: 22.2kph
Total distance: 104.8km
Total time: 5 hours
Wordle scores: Captain 5, Stoker 4
The sun was still shining last night as we wandered out of the Hotel Elburg, past a wedding party clearly still very much enjoying their post-nuptial celebrations, and other punters who were awaiting the start of Eurovision.
We’d been thoroughly impressed by Elburg when we arrived on the tandem, and those opinions were reinforced as we walked through the immaculate narrow streets, along to the moat and walls, and then, retracing our steps, to the fish harbour situated through a picturesque archway just outside the walls.
We’d planned to eat in an Italian by the harbour, but sadly it was full. We only had to walk a hundred metres further, though, before securing a table, outside in the sun, at De Herberg. Salmon for the stoker and Schnitzel with mushrooms for the Captain were washed down with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and copious quantities of fizzy water. Then we ambled back to the hotel, and fell asleep to the sounds of the Eurovision fans.
If you’re ever near Elburg we’d thoroughly recommend a visit!
We had a very good breakfast (some truly excellent fresh bread) at the hotel, retrieved our tandem from the garage, checked we had all our possessions and pedalled off into the sunshine. Our task today was fairly simple: to cycle along the coasts of the Flevoland polders in a northerly direction to Lemmer. Once we’d crossed the bridge onto the more southerly polder we found ourselves on the cycle path which hugged its eastern coast. Initially we were cycling in dappled light through the surprisingly mature woodlands which have developed since the sea became land in 1957. Later we emerged onto the protective dike which protects the reclaimed land from the waters of the Drontermeer to our right.
There were yachts, cargo ships, kayaks and other vessels to keep us entertained as we pedalled, and we spotted several herons and, like yesterday, some geese and goslings in the water. The cycling itself was very enjoyable – the tandem is running very smoothly and, after yesterday’s shortish exercise, our legs were feeling good. We were keeping up a fairly aggressive pace (by our standards!) through the morning, and soon found ourselves at the bridge leading over to our lunchtime destination at the charmingly-named town of Urk! It was charming, too! Being somewhat early we had to have a (slightly alcoholic) coffee inside until the café was fully open. Later we sat out on the sunny terrace overlooking the harbour while we ate our lunch and re-hydrated.
I wish I could say we enjoyed the afternoon as much as the morning. The route was pleasant enough, heading due north along the wind-turbine-lined coast to Lemmer, but for the entire journey we were cycling through thick clouds of black flies. It was impossible to open one’s mouth at all, without swallowing one of the little *******s! The stoker was sheltered somewhat by the captain who, being bulwark-shaped, copped the worst of it.
Fed up, we stopped for a drink by the side of the cycle path, where the stoker had the excellent idea of repurposing a headband as a protective mask. This worked brilliantly for the remainder of the journey, and had a considerable beneficial effect on the Captain’s grumpiness levels!
Despite our travails we’d maintained an excellent speed and soon enough we arrived at Lemmer. On a sunny Sunday afternoon it was fairly crowded, and we dismounted to push the tandem along the attractive canal-side road, to our AirBnB, where the hostess was awaiting our arrival.
We’re self-catering tonight, so we headed to the supermarket for food and wine before settling in for the evening. In the morning we plan to have a look around town and find a café for breakfast, before pedalling off in the direction of Leeuwaarden.