Day 44, 30th June 2011, Dordrecht to Alsmeer

We have only stayed in two crook hotels on this trip, the first being the Hotel Pirie in Edinburgh, and the second being the Hotel Dordrecht in Dordrecht last night.

This hotel was quite expensive, and the large room was pleasant, but we could not open the window, which faced onto the street.  Nevermind, it was hot, so we turned on the airconditioner, but it didn’t work.

I tried to use the free WiFi, but it went through a proxy server that was supposed to limit the time you could log on, but I couldn’t connect, so this post is late.  Why they need to limit the time is not clear.  It is highly unlikely that they have been ripped off by guests logging on for too long.

They insisted we pay for breakfast, which was continental style, but the bread was stale, and one of the butters was rancid.

The point here is, as I said about the Hotel Pirie, that serving stale bread is a sign of slovenly contempt for their guests.  It costs no more to get it right.  The coffee tasted like instant, and the rancid butter is completely unacceptable.

We have stayed in some pretty ordinary places, but generally they are run by people who do their best to offer the service you pay for, but not these two.

This was our last day.  We had plenty of time to wander up to Alsmeer to the hotel we booked last night, the first hotel we have booked on this trip.  As the hotel is in the Schipol (Amsterdam) airport precinct, we knew we had to get there, and there was some saving by booking ahead.

We decided to follow route LF2B, which runs north and passes very close to Alsmeer where our hotel is located.

The weather was fine, and likely to stay fine as our bike computers were showing an altitude of around -80m, indicating a high pressure region.

We made stately progress, as it was generally sunny, and a good day for photographs, and we were in no hurry.

The path wandered through country defined by vast numbers of drains, canals and dykes, and was increasingly pretty as we made our way north. It seems that most of Holland is part of the vast Rhine delta, and this part of the country is particularly defined by that geography.

The villages also were increasingly pretty, with beautiful gardens around the cottages, and the occasional attractive barn-conversion home.

We passed through the market town of Gouda, which has the exuberance, architectural idiosyncracy and panache that characterizes so many Dutch cities.

This route provided a lot more than the town-to-town route we used yesterday, taking us past special places that we would otherwise have missed.

The overwhelming impact of this country is that it is man-made, and man has done a pretty good job over the last thousand years.  Presumably, much of this country was swamp.

We rode an easy 103km for the day and that is it.  Tomorrow morning we will ride the few kilometers to the airport, pack our bikes and be on our way.

I will add one more post to sum up, and perhaps convert this blog to a diary, but already I can sense the usual emotions that I feel at the end of one of our bike trips.  There is a sense of loss, combined with a desire to get home.  We have to radically change our eating habits, and there is almost a sense of mourning that the stamina we have acquired will gradually diminish.

Until next time, and there will be one.

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