Heather and Drew's European vacation 2011 travel blog

house where William of Orange lived

bad actor

private home circa 1700

narrow channel

moving footbridge over narrow channel

just fits!

the Clam

Today we started out by traveling on the barge along the very busy river to Willemstadt. The barge trip was very lovely with lots of different scenery as well as marine traffic.

Willemstadt is an affluent town as noted by the types of yachts in the harbour. Our guide Luke first showed os the heights of various floods as noted on one of the buildings in the harbour. The highest was in 1953 when the water was just about up to my shoulder where we were standing, which was a fairly high spot in the town. This meant that many of the houses would have had water up to the level of their ceiling. It was a disaster that prompted the Dutch government to start an aggressive plan of fortification to prevent such an occurrence from happening again.

Luke then took us to the home of the famous William of Orange, which is now a lodge and we took a few photos of people in the stock in the garden.

The morning ride was through nice tree-lined trails of agricultural lands. We spent some time trying to determine what was growing in the field as we rode by. Just before lunch we came up to a lock system that had a footbridge that you had to wait to be extended from the far side. You pressed a button and waited for 10 minutes for the timer, then pressed it again and waited another minute for the bridge to start to slowly extend across the gap. Then it only stayed across the gap for a few minutes. One poor couple got separated and had to wait for a second opportunity for the footbridge to extend.

After we crossed we stopped for lunch beside the lock and watched a few boats go through, including one very large barge that barely fit. It seems the Dutch mariners are very adept at putting their large craft through very small openings.

After lunch we rode into a strong head wind along a long causeway that seemed to be all uphill. Most of the uphill was due to a high bridge over a commercial waterway system. The bridge opened for a large sailboat just as we were arriving. It was a fairly busy highway with four lanes of traffic so the bridge was back down in no time. From a far distance the observation tower beside the bridge looked like a japanese pruned tree, however as we got closer it became an observation tower that you could see for quite a distance. More hard slogging up wind finally brought us to a seaside village that Luke said had the best fish in the Netherlands. There was a giant clam at the harbour that we took a few photos at and stopped at a little fish and chip store.

Off on our ride again after repairing a flat tire, which apparently needs four strong men to fix, we rode along the side if the water on dikes which were very well made. The wind was still strong but still in our faces, although the sailboats on the water were moving quite nicely. Finally, after a second repair job on the tire we arrived tired and thirsty at Zierikzee. Very happy to see Elodie.

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