GONE BIKE ABOUT...

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Amsterdam - Rotterdam (The Netherlands) - Bruges (Belgium) - Dunkirk (France) ...ferry ... Dover - Canterbury - London (England)
500km

   
 
It was supposed to be a surprise weekend in London to see Ireland's great Christy Moore in concert. However, Kurt found out and improved on the idea by suggesting we cycle there... from Amsterdam!
   
The overnight train from ZŁrich (City Night Line) fitted the bill and we arrived to glorious sunshine in what has to be the one of the most bike-friendly cities in Europe.Well, that is if you have your wits about you and don't obstruct the bike lanes for the impatient local cyclists.


Room for 6 to sleep

   


Amsterdam

 

A break along the River Amstel


Lovely quiet bike paths

 


Neat thatched house with straw bales for walls

 


Rotterdam train station

Rotterdam was well worth the stop with an amazingly impressive harbour and modern architecture to compete with the best.
   

Modern architecture in Rotterdam


Cube houses designed by Piet Blom

   
Of course, being the largest harbour in Europe, containers offered a very colourful panorama, with the odd windmill thrown in for good measure! Folding, lifting, tilting and whatever else bridges in the Netherlands do allowed for numerous tea breaks en route.


Container landscape

   

Rotterdam


Tea time!

   
The bike lanes/routes didn't disappoint, and brought us through a real cross-section of the countryside and up on the famous dams. The only thing was the wind. We were headed in the wrong direction!
   

Goedereede

   


A windy experience on the dam

   
Darina continued to deliver on the surprise element guiding Kurt to pre-booked accommodation along the way. It was our first time trying out the Airbnb site and we had some beautiful overnight stays, including a converted barn in Vrouwenpolder.


Converted barn in Vrouwenpolder

   

Ecological trail
In Belgium, an ecological trail means you have to share it with sheep! Bruges was another fabulous stop, made all the more special by our Airbnb host MaŽl who brought us on a very enjoyable and informative walking tour of the city.
   

Arriving in Bruges


MaŽl, our Airbnb host

   

Bruges, Belgium


Downtown Bruges
   
Our cycle in France was short and sweet as we took the ferry from Dunkirk to Dover, affording us absolutely fabulous views of the famous white cliffs. Kent countryside was a welcome contrast to the flat, monotonous terrain on the continent and the local cyclists were all up for a chat!


Dunkirk, France

   

 
Dover - Canterbury - London
   

The white cliffs of Dover, England

   

First sign we encountered 


Dover

   

Kent countryside

   

The Sun Hotel, built in 1503
The Sun Hotel in Canterbury, a favourite of Charles Dickens in the good old days, was a great place to rest our weary bones. Overlooking the magnificent cathedral where archbishop, Thomas Beckett was murdered in 1170, the hotel is a prominent fixture on the Canterbury ghost tour. Judging by the enthusiastic tourists' calls and their flashlight direction, it seems we were keeping the ghost company that night!
 

The Old Weaver's restaurant


Canterbury cathedral

   


Traditional British fare


Chilham

   
Bicycle paths were on very quiet roads, or trails with cumbersome barriers to keep traffic out.


Well sign-posted trails

   

Cyclists only

   

Leeds castle, Maidstone area

   

Christy in the Royal Festival Hall
We arrived in the nick of time to jump in the shower, meet Katie for a curry and enjoy a brilliant night with Christy. And Kurt didn't forget his socks 'n shoes 'n shirt 'n tie 'n all!

 
   
Then there was a little time to enjoy the sights and variety that a big city like London can offer, before surprising Kurt one last time with tickets for Billy Elliot, the musical!


London Pride

   

English breakfast (without beans!)


Dim Sums in Bayswater

   

One last surprise!
   

The London Eye & River Thames


Buckingham Palace

   

Converted church accommodation
Our accommodation in a beautiful modern apartment was another Airbnb contact - this time in a converted church near London City Airport, making our departure stress-free.
   
We were mega impressed with the bike routes through London itself. Google maps have the lot! On the continent the cities were what made the trip. In England, it was the Kent countryside... and, of course, our good man Chrishty!

As I sat lookin' up at the Guinness ad, I could never figure out
How yer man stayed up on the surfboard after 14 pints of stout!


The Docklands

   

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