riding around Europe travel blog


Monday, July 31

Ommen to Geithoorn

3 hrs 43 min

66.1 kms

A bonus ride

1 hrs 58 min

38.6 km

It got chilly last night. I am glad that I pitched my tent where the morning sun would get at it. It was heating up nicely. I savored the heat till I began to feel guilty; early bird and all that stuff.

I packed the bike and was ready to leave around 8:30. I looked for recycling bins to put my two beer bottles in. There were none to be found. There were few trash bins also. Amazing, and this campground was clean. The tenters were encouraged to pack out their own recycling. And it was working. Except for bicyclists. I ended up putting the bottles by the reception office. Thank you very much.

It was a short ten kilometers in to the town of Ommen. I cycled into the center not really expecting to find a Tim Hortons. Found something close. There is a hard goods store, HEMA, in the Netherlands and I encountered my first one here. It had a small cafeteria style restaurant. I tied up my bike and went in. I grabbed a dish that had a egg patty in a baguette and also came with a croissant. I picked out a couple straps of bacon to go with the baguette. With coffee the cost came to 2.25 Euro. I scurried away thinking that the something wasn’t right.

The baguette sandwich was delicious. The coffee not so much. I finished and was outside unlocking my bike when I decided to get another baguette for the road. Turns out the price is 2.25 whether you go with the coffee or not. I now had emergency rations for the road.

It is a good start to the day. I am heading west to Giethoorn; there is a light westerly breeze. It is okay. The day stays okay until I hit Mappel, then it all falls apart. I look for my number posts as I ride into the city. Not readily available. I circle around and around before following a bike path to the downtown. Surely there is going to be a Knooppunt in the core.

No wayfinding signs show up so I stop at an outdoor cafe and have a sandwich. It is a fine ham and cheese, two slices, sandwich. The coffee is good, the staff is attentive. I ask my waitress where the Knooppunt might be. She talks to some ladies who arrived on bicycles, she talked to staff inside the restaurant. She apologized for not being helpful but did give me the location of the tourist office.

The tourist attendant tells me that a lot of people have a problem with the Knooppunt which I am looking for. She sends me off in the right direction and I find it. Salvation!

I follow the numbers out of town until I lose the numbers again. The sign makers had noted that the number was associated iated with a trail name. The numbers were replaced by the name. Bad!

Mappel is a crossroads of a lot of highways. I found a sign that gave a distance to Giethoorn, the highway had a bike lane, I followed it. Then I came across one of the Knoops that I needed. What to do?

I saw some kids playing and asked one where I could find Camping de Hoff. I was close; he should know where it is. No he didn’t and he didn't speak English either. He called a couple of his friends over. They couldn't speak English either. They were adamant that the road I wanted to take was a no go. With three kids jabbering at me I turned around and went out to the highway.

A short time later I stopped an approaching cyclist and asked her. She looked on her phone and told me where to go. I had a phone. I could do that. Thus I took the back road into Giethoorn and to my campground. It was a zoo.

My trail as I got close to the campground was a walking pathway filled with tourists. The town is a combination of Banff Avenue and Penticton and I was on it with a loaded bicycle and tourists galore. I am surprised I didn't end up in the canal.

I did get to my campground, got checked in and set up the tent. Then I went for another bike ride. This area is what tourists expect to see when they come to the Netherlands. There is a route that takes one out to visit small towns that built up around the water. I was going to see them.

Again I was having problems following the Knoops and was adding unnecessary kms to my day. I cut my ride short and decided to cycle back on a highway. In Canada, if something is not to be on the highway, the sign is a circle with the device in the center and crossed out. In Holland it is a red circle with the offending things inside. I didn't know that till I started down the highway. I was only on it for 5 km but I got honked at by traffic from both directions. I finally got off and let my heart slow down.

Giethoorn is a beautiful place what with the canals and the flowers. It is also a tourist trap. I found a place to eat supper without having to go on a budget for the next week. Then I retired to my campsite.

Oh, about the campsite. More expensive than the previous nights, had to pay for my shower and provide my own toilet paper. Remember that when you come.

Happy trails

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