Day Three: Lemmer to Leeuwarden

Distance: 57.6km

Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Average speed: 23kph

Total distance: 162.4km

Total time: 7 hours 30 minutes

Wordle scores: Captain 4, Stoker 5

It was a lovely sunny evening in Lemmer, and the shopping, laundry, charging of multiple devices and all other daily tasks achieved, we sat on the padded bench in front of our apartment and enjoyed a glass of wine. There was a cat sitting in the window of the owner’s place, its bed an old empty TV set! We waved to him through the window, and while we sat chatting about the day’s events and watching boats pass serenely by on the canal, he strolled round the corner and joined us on the bench. Very sweet.

Lots of people passed by, walking, cycling or arriving at neighbouring houses, and all greeted us very cheerfully. The people of the Netherlands seem very at ease with themselves, and with their place in the European and international communities. The contrast with our own struggling, divided country seems even starker if anything, than it did in our last visit in 2017.

The wine drunk and the cat fully fluffled, we retreated indoors where the Captain rustled up a delicious dinner, and we spent a relaxing evening lolling on the sofa reading. And so to bed.

No cafés were open for breakfast today, it being Monday, but we discovered all the makings for coffee in the apartment, and the Captain nipped out to the bakery for croissants and chocolate broodjes to fuel us for the day’s ride to Leeuwarden. We stayed there on our last Netherlands tour, it’s the only common stop with this trip.

Before setting off properly we headed down to Lemmer’s lock for a nosy. It was huge! It had five boats in and wasn’t even half full. It must take an age to fill up or empty. We arrived just as the gates were opening and the boats heading out into the open water alongside which we cycled yesterday.

Nosing complete, we headed out of town and straight into node-following protocol. We were into the countryside pretty much immediately, huge fields full of Friesian cows. It’s a big agricultural area, lots of farms, mainly dairy presumably.

The fields have small irrigation canals running around them, and our cycling today was accompanied throughout by the very loud croaking of the frogs which inhabit them. It’s tadpole-creating time of year, so goodness knows what they’re up to in there!

The farmhouses are quite strange, there’s clearly a vernacular, with large, tall buildings, loads of windows at ground level, but mostly roof above that with few, if any windows except in the gable ends. I can’t imagine what they are like inside. Here are some examples:

We piled along, making very good speed. It was quieter than yesterday, being Monday, and we were not so much in ‘pleasure cycling’ territory in any case. We passed Sneek, a possible lunch stop, but it was way too early, so we pushed on towards Terherne, where we’d identified a possible Eethuis. We landed at a sort of water park, the on-site Eethuis closed and no apparent way to continue to the next node. We were joined by two other couples on bikes, all of us looking a bit confused!

The conundrum was resolved when a little electric ferry turned up.

The next node, 43, was reached by water. We decided we didn’t want to do that, and would scoff some cereal bars and push on towards Leeuwarden. One of ferry pilots got off while people embarked and disembarked, and engaged the Captain in conversation about where we came from, where we’d been, and where we were going. Amazingly he had spent last night in Leer, our first German stop in a few days time. “Is it nice?”, I asked him. “It was”, he replied, grinning, “until 1945 when the British flattened it!”. “Er, yes, sorry about that”, we mumbled.

He hopped back on the ferry, and it was just setting off when another couple of cyclists arrived. Our pilot friend hallooed them and they confirmed they’d like to get on. “Ah, more English!”, he said, returning to the quayside, “what is going on in England that you’re all here? Is it Brexit?”. We grimaced, as you can imagine! “Did you vote for it?”, he asked. “No!”, we bristled. The other couple maintained a diplomatic silence!

Cereal bars duly consumed, we set off again, and after another pleasant half-hour we arrived in Leeuwarden, where we’re settled into a lovely room in the Post Plaza, the hotel situated in the very grand former Post Office building. We’ll have dinner in their restaurant tonight, and then an early night, as we will be up betimes tomorrow to cycle to Harlingen for the 10am ferry to Terschelling.

Here’s today’s route and a short video.


We learned this morning from our hostess that the cat’s name is Gabbie or Gabber (cat of several names!), and he is famous:

That’s him in his TV in the bottom left. The sign by his TV implies that you must pay 50 Euro cents to take his picture. The cartoon is difficult to translate because it’s not in Dutch, it’s in Frisian, the dialect of Friesland, where Lemmer is located. It’s almost like an autonomous region, all the places have two names, one in Dutch and one in Frisian. Anyway it seems to be something along the lines of the people in the cartoon following Gabbie’s example and getting filthy rich!

2 Replies to “Day Three: Lemmer to Leeuwarden”

Comments are closed.