Friday, July 27, 2007

Trip to Giethoorn

I have talked about North Holland and Friesland in a few of my last post and thought maybe people do not know what I am talking about. The Netherlands is made up of 12 provincies. North Holland(Noord Holland) and Friesland are 2 of these provincies.

Yesterday I traveled to Workum where I had left my bike. I took almost the same route as a few days before catching a train to Enkhuizen, the ferry to Stavoren and the train to Workum.

I rode through Friesland and into Overijssel heading towards Giethoorn but I could make it all the way there in one day. I really enjoy riding in Friesland I find the countryside really pretty and there are a lot of lakes and rivers. I crossed one of the rivers at Gaastmeer. There is a ferry there that only runs in the summer and it cost one euro to take it with your bike. This ferry is really only for people biking through Friesland and am sure they don't make a lot of money but saying that I went on it will 3 other people and there were 2 people that came over in the other direction so that is 6 euros in about 10 minutes. When I rode up to the ferry there was no one there and I was not even sure it was running even thought the sign said it was. I was glad when the 2 people on the other side rode up and a lady came out of a house to run the ferry. It was when they were on their way over that I noticed a bell that I was suppose to ring. If no one else would have been around I wonder if I would have ever noticed the bell.

The day was a lot of riding for me but I made to a small town of Oldemarkt where it appeared on my map that there were a couple of places for camping. I rode in circles for a while around the town but did find one of the campgrounds. Camping for the Dutch is something that is someway part of their culture and now I feel that I have really been ingeburgerd(integrated). I have camped in a Dutch campground even though from what I saw I think I was the only one without a car and camper. I also did not bring my own food with me so maybe I'm not really ingeburged. This is a big joke about the Dutch that they will go camping in someplace that is known for its food like France or Italy and will have the camper full of food from Holland.

This was the first time I have used my tent but I am proud to say I was able to set it up with little problem. The tent also got tested in the middle of the night with a down pour and other than the noise waking me up the rain was not a problem.

This map is to try and show the way I rode on these 2 days with Giethoorn being the little flags. Not really easy to show and also am not sure I have the route correct.

Today I rode from Oldemarkt to Giethoorn which is the town that was my target. It is one place that a guidebook I have recomends and even though I have thought about going here for a number of years it is only now that I finally made it. The town is name because the settlers around 1230 were peat diggers and found a number of goat horns. The book says it was original called Geytehoren and then shortened to Giethoorn. The book also says that this town is called the Venice of Holland. I don't think it lives up to Venice but it is a pretty little town.

I really enjoyed riding my bike through the town. Most of the streets are just for walking or biking and the streets are really only a path about 1 1/2 yards wide with bridges of about 2 feet wide ever 10 to 15 yards apart. Some of the bridges are high for the boats to go under and it was a ball riding up and down these bridges. I am surprised I did not kill myself or at least fall in the water.

I rode from Giethoorn to Meppel and rode in circles for a while until I found the trainstation and my bike and I caught a train back to Amsterdam.

This ride started at Workum, Friesland and went through a part of Overijssel and ended at Meppel, Drente.

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