To Haarlem

Kathy, Anne, Amal and I took the tram to Centraal Station.

We walked about 10 minutes, dragging our suitcases behind us clattering on the brick and found a place to wait to meet the barge. Or so we thought.

However, we were not in the right place and decided to try the other location some of us had in our info packets. Eventually we found our barge, Clair de Lune.

After one more round-trip walk for me to find the last two members of our group – who had taken a taxi to the correct dock, but I didn’t know that – we assembled in the salon. Pietr (red jacket) will be our cycling guide.

We settled into our cabins. Small but comfortable! I have a double bed, others have twins which criss-cross at the feet, one bed being higher than the other.

We motored out of Amsterdam and left the big city behind. At a canal-side stopping place, the bikes were unloaded (10 e-bikes and 4 bikes not). All bikes had been labeled with our names – a good idea because they all look alike.

Our first stop was Spaardam – the home of Hans Brinker. There are so many bicycling paths all labeled with arrows and mileages to the next destination. We stopped at a church in the country

where, Pietr told us, a giant had once lived. He was about as tall as Pietr (6’3) but his arm span was much wider – to the gray rectangles (where he was chained, for thumping people on the head but that may have been a joke by Pietr).

Dutch bikes take a while to get used to. The seat to handlebar space is narrow and the front stem is quite long. You sit up quite tall as you pedal along.

A newly-built windmill to replace the one that burned down.

To say the least, it’s COLD and windy. We are all bundled up.

me and Jeorgianna

We took a circuitous route to see more of the countryside before entering Haarlem, then it was a matter of finding where Clair de Lune was able to dock. Today was our short riding day, 10 miles.

There are 12 in our group + Dominique and Francois from France (front left table). Back left: Kathy, Anne, Amal, Sharon. Front right: Marsha, Cheryl, Jane. Back right: Rupert, Jeorgianna, Barbara, Lee. Almost time for dinner and we are all hungry.

Especially delicious, the Creme courgette (cream of zucchini soup):

After dinner, we walked into town to the square.

A wish fulfilled. Anne really wanted to see the house of Corrie Ten Boom, one of her favorite authors.

The town was quite alive with people in restaurants, enjoying late dinners and drinks. However, our group was happy to head back to the barge and tuck into bed. **Note to Tom (Anne’s husband): So sorry I’m a bit late in this post. There is no wifi below deck so I prepped all the pictures but had to wait to finish in the salon the next morning. Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

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