vrijdag 31 augustus 2012

A beautifull summer. Really !

While it's raining cats and dogs, goldfish, rabbits, horses and even some elephants outside some will say it's been a bad summer. Sun lovers mostly. I don't agree. It has been wet while working and that doesn't count for me. Selfish, I know. While not working it has rained also but there's a major advantage : a lot of people stay inside so I've got the forest (almost) all for myself. Selfish again, I know. Last sunday me and the family went for a walk on the Veluwe. During the 65km drive it rained. Within 10 minutes from getting out of the car it stopped raining and the sun started shining. Lucky me.
The Zandenbos south of Nunspeet has a big advantage : dogs are allowed to walk freely. 
Or do some mudwrestling like our Tasmanian Muddevil.

He takes home several kilo's of sand but at least he's having fun. I was able to resist the mud - the wife wouldn't appreciate me joining the dog - but had fun nevertheless.
After an hour and a half we arrived at a little lochan. The sky was getting dark and we were just in time to put on our raincoats. The downpour lasted for five whole minutes during which five people huddled together underneath one umbrella. That's how I was able to take this picture without ruining the camera.
Tomorrow it's the first day of the meteorological autumn. Am I being selfish when wishing for changeable weather ? I don't see myself as 'ard but at least it keeps away the softies.

zaterdag 18 augustus 2012

It has been a long time...

 ...since I've been on a bike for hours. The Dutch are famous for wooden shoes, windmills (the oldfashioned ones) and riding bicycles but I haven't cycled a significant distance for at least 35 years.
A week ago I opted the possibility of biking around the IJselmeer with my two sons. A distance of 400km in 4 days. Untrained. Common sense took over and I decided to restrict the distance and time to 66km and 1 day. From home we cycled a few km north to Muiden, a town at the mouth of the river De Vecht. Long ago the river De Vecht was a major river between the river Rhine and the former Zuidersea.
The castle Muiderslot has been of military and economical importance for centuries. Muiden itself has a canal and forts around it for defense and is part of the Hollandse Waterlinie, a line of forts combined with land that could be inundated to protect the west of Holland during times of war.
Zuidersluis - Muiden
We had started at 9.30 and the air was already warming up considerably. It was going to be a hot day with temperatures rising to near 30 C.. Luckily the headwind was low to moderate in force. 
Oldfashioned windmills along the Vecht.

We pedaled along the Vecht in a leisurely way, occasionally stopping to take a photograph or a little break. Yachts were going up and downstream. At noon we had a lunchstop in Loenen aan de Vecht and gave our buttocks some rest.
Loenen aan de Vecht
The southern half of the Vecht is famous for its many 'castles' and big mansions build by rich merchants in the 17th, 18th and 19th century. Just south of Breukelen is castle Nijenrode, going back to the 13th century. After having been destroyed during several wars it was rebuild in the 18th century and some additions were made later on. It now serves as a private business university.
Castle Nijenrode
Dark clouds covered the sky by now and I expected rain or even thunder as is always the case being furthest away from home. It didn't rain however and soon we were back cycling in scorching hot sunshine again. We left the river Vecht to enter the peatmoors of the province of Utrecht.
In the past lakes appeared where peat had been cut and those lakes our now mainly used for yachting, kite- and windsurfing and swimming. The small stretch of land in between these lakes is completely occupied by marinas and (holiday)houses. I found it quite depressing. The final part of our journey was mainly through our neck of the woods and gave us some shelter from the burning sunshine.

We'd covered 66km in 4hrs and 15mins with an additional 1hr15min for breaks. There were hardly any complaints from the boys although we used just ordinairy bikes so I think we'll be able to cycle around the IJsselmeer, covering 400km in 4 days, in the future.