Huizen to Giethoorn

Distance: 100km

Time: 4h 55m

Average speed: 20.5 kph

Song of the day: Cycling in a Zwartewaterland

Click here to see today’s route

We enjoyed our time in Huizen, though the hotel (despite being our most expensive so far) lacked tea and coffee making facilities, room service and bathroom products. Cheapskates! We ate at CornelisZ, chosen for proximity rather than being subject to our usual exhaustive research. It was very good, so who needs research?

Today was our longest day’s cycling on this trip, so we hoped for favourable weather. When we opened the curtains, though, we saw the view below (compare and contrast with yesterday’s similar photo).

Rain was already falling, and the forecast was for rain and cloud all day. There being no alternative, we set off! Initially the navigation out of Huizen was tricky, complicated by the closure of one of our intended fietspads. We worked our way along the coast of Gooimeer towards the bridge which would take us over to the larger of the two polders reclaimed from the Ijselmeer and Markermeer. On crossing the bridge we turned left onto the opposite coast, and followed that, in a chilly wind, until we turned North-West into the polder proper. Here, once again, we encountered a closed cycle path, and opted to wheel the tandem over the roadworks to the other side. This was the right move from a route-finding point of view, but left the bottom of the tandem caked in mud.

The next forty kilometres were in a straight line (more or less) across the polder, with arable crop fields either side. There was little variation in the view, and not much wildlife to see. It looked like this:

and sometimes had fields full of harvested but uncollected onions, like this:

The nearest coffee was 39 kilometres ahead, at Dronten. So there was not much choice involved in our cycling really – we put our heads down and time-trialled all the way to Dronten, at up to 26 kph. This may not sound rapid, but we were happy we were able to propel our fully-laden tandem at that speed for two solid hours. We were still rained on at regular intervals, but there was a sort of obstinate enjoyment to the process, despite the tedium!

At Dronten we turned into town, found a café and demanded caffè latte and chocolates. Two coffees each, in fact, as we were quite cold. We then returned to the tandem for the final ten kilometres on the polder towards Kampen, our intended lunch stop. We were still rolling along quickly though (this we credited to the chocolates 🙂) so when we arrived there we decided it was too soon for lunch.

Instead we headed for Zwartesluis, keeping our fingers crossed that the ferry there would be in operation. Fortunately, it was. We were happy about this, as it saved us the prospect of a lengthy diversion. The ferry carried us across the Zwarte Water to the town of Zwartesluis, at the reasonable price of €1.50.

On arriving at Zwartesluis we headed into town for a late lunch, having covered all but 15 kilometres of our planned journey. The lunch fortified us, and we cycled on through stunningly lovely scenery until we arrived at Giethoorn.

What a place it is! We were expecting a quiet location on the side of a lake, but when we arrived (and after popping into the local Spar for supplies) we were surprised to see just how picturesque it is. Oh, and how jammed with tourists, despite the inclement weather. Here is a typical view:

It is a warren of watery streets, with a museum and many restaurants. Boats take visitors on a tour of the area, or one can hire one’s own. Maybe tomorrow…! We checked into our chalet, which is situated at the end of a canal, looking over the lake.

We’re staying here for two nights, so tomorrow we will be at rest, and there will be no pedalling whatsoever!

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