Bruges is very quiet before 9 o’clock so we enjoyed the streets in search of a place where to have breakfast and eat Waffles!
After a titanic breakfast we went to visit the Minnewater park: sourrounded by trees and and adjacent the MinnewaterPark you will find a small lake called Minnewater or Lake of Love.
A local legend says that you will experience eternal love if you walk over the lake bridge with your partner! This legend makes this spot one of the most romantic of all the city, so we really suggest to come here to enjoy a walk or a ride. Or just sitting on a bench. Just be careful of the Swans! Don’t feed them or they will follow you as your shadow! You have to know that this park is full of swans and that they are the symbol of Bruges! Another legend says that Maximilian 1 of Habsburg, after being spared by a popular uprising in which a town administrator named Peter Lanchals was taken prisoner and killed (whose name means “long neck”), punished Bruges by condemning the citizens to feed the “long necks” (the swans) forever!
What a pity we didn’t have another day to spend in Bruges!
Time to pedal towards Antwerp
The warm morning light was inviting us to squash a nap under the trees but our goal was to reach Antwerp, 100 km away.
Antwerp can be reached in two ways that have the same mileage:
passing trough Zelzate
passing trough Ghent.
We highly recommend you to pass through Ghent if you have not already visited it. (We did it before so we decided to pass through Zelzate). Luckily we were in favour of wind and the music box gave us the right motivation to start out hitting the ground riding! 😀
One thing we learned during this journey is that if you mentally divide the road into small stretches, fatigue decreases.
Our method is to divide the road into goals: 10 km at a time, step by step. I know it may seem weird but it really helps a lot, especially on long routes!
Just outside Bruges, we took an alternative route to N9, parallel to it . It was a cycle path completely into a forest, surrounded by trees and nature with “the birds singin’ sweet songs of melodies pure and true saying’ this is a message to you uh uh” 😀 Hope you get the quote of Bob Marley!
You can easily do it with a Mountain bike or a gravel, ’cause it’s a flat but dirty road.
We did it without problem on a city bike, just pay attention if you have a road bike. We were in perfect harmony. You know, when sunlight penetrates between trees,when you can hear sounds of nature and breath pure air, it’s magic!
Imagine: Nature, trees, harmonyand us, with our stereo box and doping songs 😀 It was surely the best route moment of all the tour.
Back on road N9, we passed trough some little town. A particular mention goes to Eeklo, where the Tour of Belgium in 2010 is started.
Hurrà for water!:D
Path close to Zelzate
Huge Bridge just before Zelzate
Here we are 😀
After 50 km we reached Zelzate, a little town close to the Dutch border, in advance on the schedule but a a little bit tired. It was the first alarm bell.
How could have we been able to refresh ourselves if not with a beer? 😀 We usually use this tactic for each route stop so as not to relax the muscles too much.
Back on bikes, we did other 20 km towards Lokeren, following the N449 until it crosses the cycle path along the canal Moervaart. This cycle path is a beauty too! You know, we have a weakness for watercourses and we easy fall in love with every cycle path along water, but it was truly amazing! Such great colors to see in autumn. You don’t believe us? Here some pics of that piece of paradise!
This path bring you directly to the entrance of Lokeren, it’s easy and gorgeous!
Try to make a tour by bike of The Netherlands, a country with a huge and perfect cycle infrastructure, you’ll always be worried about the conditions of cycling in other countries.
Anyways, we were really surprised about how good were cycle paths in Belgium!
Once in Lokeren, we realized that it was so late: we didn’t have forces for a strong and final sprint of 30km and we didn’t want to let our host wait too long.
We decided to take a train from Lokeren since there is a train station there that brings us and our bikes directly to Antwerp in less than 30 minutes.
It’s always good to consider an alternative way if you have some problems.
That’s why we recommend to study the roads conditions, services and all what concern a bike trip in the nation you want to visit.
We will go further into this discussion in the next chapter, troubles are coming!:D
The first thing we did once we set foot in Antwerp was searching for Bart’s house to have a shower and go to explore the city.
As we did in Ghent we decided to stay in an Airbnb and also this time we had a really good experience: our airBnb was in the the south of the city which is really close to museums, bars and the historical city center.
The studio is very comfortable with a nice view on one of the city’s most fashionable streets.
Unlike the first experience in Airbnb we didn’t talk much with our host, we just exchanged some musical and literary tastes and then went on a relaxing tour through the bars and restaurants.
The beauty of Airbnb is that being someone’s guests you will find yourself in their home, in the tastes of people that reflect in the furniture. For example, our guest really liked Japanese = we slept on a tatami.
Luckily, the square near our stay was full of bar and restaurant so we decided to stop there and eat in a local place. We do not know exactly what we ate but it was good! chicken meatballs in a tomato soup. We just know that we ate meatballs because the menu was only in dutch!
we have a nice memory of this evening because right behind our restaurant there was a concert on a balcony and after eating we went to dance in the middle of the melee.
After a bit of revelry, we went home to rest and relax in order to be ready to explore a little bit of the city the day after.
We had less then half a day to visit the city so we decided to wake up at 7.30 am.
We have to say that sleeping on a tatami has been a good experience contrary to our expectations and visiting the city on a Sunday early morning was quite relaxing.
Are you are wondering about what to do in Antwerp? Here some tips:
The first thing we did was to visit thelocals call it and the unique wooden escalator at the entrance.
Due to the necessity to create a connection between the city’s left and right banks and after many plans failed, the locals approved the Underpass in 1931. Originally they considered to build a bridge over the river Scheldt but this plan was abandoned because this solution would have hampered maritime traffic. This tunnel is still used by pedestrian and cyclists
and it really deserves to be seen! Going on the left side of the city allows you to see the beautiful skyline of the city! YOU CAN’T MISS IT!
A few hundred meters from the tunnel you will find Het Steen, a medieval fortress in the old city center of Antwerp. This fortress is also the oldest in the city and used to be the old city center.
At the entrance of this castle you will find a statue of Lange Wappers that in the Flemish folklore is a giant who used to terrorize the inhabitants of the city.
Not so far from this zone the city center of Antwerp shines with all its beauty.
Grote Markt, the main square, is one of the most fashinating of all Europe and it is the beating heart of the city! despite the square has suffered two big fires and the structures are no longer original the center retains a great charm.
You can find everything in this part of the city: you can find the Heritage site Stadhuis, the renaissance style Karbonkelhuis (Diamond house) that owes its
name to the diamond-shaped decoration of the lower floor and at the center of the square the statue of the painter Rubens. There is also the Rubenhuis to visit, so if you have more time then us it really pays! 🙂
If you love shopping don’t miss MEIR, the most important shopping area in the country!
This street it is considered one of the most expensive of all Benelux and rents can easily reach €1700/square meter/year according to PRO-REAL ESTATE.BE.
Antwerp is very beautiful and its rail station is really a pearl. It had been constructed between 1895 and 1905 by Auguste Ambeau on a design idea of the architect Delacenserie. Considered one of the most beautiful rail station in the world it is one of the symbols of this city.
Just outside the station there is the Diamant quartier where you can admire tons of exxxxxxxxxxxtra expensive jewels! Just admire it. Or buy them if you can. And if you can, please buy us also two Specialized. We will thank you for the rest of our life! Everyday we will call you in the morning or before to go sleep and say thank you. Love u!
Time to go now, thanks for reading our blog, see you next week with the last part of our trip: FROM ANTWERP TO BRUSSELS!
We will talk about how Arthur flat a tire 7 km before the arrival 😀
Outside it was cold and the previous evening we returned late after a ride through the streets and breweries of the city of Ghent.
The radiators were at full capacity but getting up from bed was a leap of faith 😀
A new town was waiting for us so, after getting up we got dressed faster then a lightning, we went downstairs to have breakfast and after half an hour of talking with our hosts we were ready to go! Their kids are fantastic, the eldest son is able to speak 4 languages and he is only a kid! Unbelievable how he switches from one language to another to make his life easier, although not the life of the listeners 😀
What to do now? First of all we went to have another breakfast at Paul Boulangerie: we saw some delicious cakes that it would have been a pity not to taste them!
So, full of energy we were really really ready to go!
We will kill you, wind!
The road to Bruges is really easy and flat, you can follow the sign to N9 till Koning Leopold Straat and then follow the canal named “Kanal Gent-Brugge”. Roads are really clean and safe so you shouldn’t have problems.
stay here! 😀
The only thing you need to be careful of is a small detour to Knesselare that you should follow otherwise you will find yourself like us and other cyclists in front of a bridge under construction with the road closed, and this will make you lengthen your trip by 4 km.
In addition, following the river you will not find any restaurant, so if you detour to Knesselare you will definitely have more opportunity to find a
restaurant or shop open!
Anyways, both the routes are beautiful and surrounded by infinite green fields, populated by cows, chickens, and weird animals that Bruno decided to call….. drumrolllllllll……. WEIRD KANGAROOS! Exactly, Ladies and Gentlemen, exactly. Weird Kangaroos! We do not have any photo of the weird kangaroos (Arthur: I think that they don’t exist, but don’t tell this to Bruno).
And cows, cows everywhere, and do you want to know something about cows?
After a little discussion and some mooing Arthur sent a photo of the cow to his mother and when he got back home he found it on the wall.
A little bit disturbing btw
But you know what is funny too? Bruno while eating at the local carrefour in Knesselare! (as I said before there are no restaurants along the river so we did a detour to this little town). Look at him eating a gorgeous sandwich!
For the next trips we promise to inform ourself better about the wind! Being Bruges close to the sea and us in its direction we have found a killer wind against us for almost the entire track! Buuut as we said in the last article the best thing to do in this situation is to change your attitude into a smile! And swear. Just a little bit, it could help! 😀
After the stop in Knesselare we decided to continue riding through the little villages following the N337 and sooo we left the canal! We suggest to follow this route too because the villages are pretty and deserve to be viewed 😀
Last kilometeres sweating like children at the park we reached Bruges!
Can you hear
Check the weather first. If it’s a windy day and you aren’t ready for it, don’t choose the “Kanal path”, but the “Little country path”. It’s more sheltered from wind and you shouldn’t suffer it. Just follow the N461 until Knesselare, then it will begin the N337, that reaches directly Bruges.
What to say? We were really lucky, apart from the wind it was a hot and sunny day and also this time we reached the city one hour before the sunset.
Blast from the past: Bruges
Bruges is a pearl, of course touristic but very charming!
Bruges is a blast from the past, she is romantic, it’s like to live in a painting. Cobblestone roads that thread under beautiful brick arches, and pass through beautiful houses and wonderful stone churches. And how not to mention the canals that cross and embrace this beautiful city?
If you are a couple don’t miss this Unesco heritage city because it is very romantic. Our girls wanted to kill us for going there without them!
As soon as we arrived in the city we found ourselves in front of the imposing, Gothic, Sint-Salt-Salvatorskathedraal.
Breathtaking at daytime and fascinating at night when it is all illuminated. A MUST SEE!
Bruges is a city to explore by bike or by foot, especially Markt, the central square, where Belfort is located! Belfort tower is one of the symbols of the city and used to control the territory. If you want you can visit and climb it to watch one of the best landscapes of Belgium.
We visited it only from the outside due to the long queue.
The square is surrounded by historic buildings, among which there is the Historium, where you can wear magic glasses and catapult yourself in the virtual reality at 360 degrees of Bruges of the Fifteenth century.
After the visit of the city center we were a little bit tired and desirous of a bed where to lay for the rest of day so we decided to reach our hotel! Last 2 km with a pain in the ass literally but aware that the next day we would have had the wind behind us.
For this second day we chose to stay in a hotel, and for this, after much research, we found the hotel right for us: Hotel Velotel, but before leaving the sky gave us a beautiful
show: a rainbow blown up from nowhere, without it having rained, right in Markt, and a gorgeous sunset! Hey Bruges, do you love us?! 😀
The hotel is not far from the city center, just 2 km but by bike it’s very close to!
As you noticed we rarely decide to sleep in the city center and this is because we love to see the less touristic part of the city, the local’s houses, the parks and so on.
We had a really good experience in this hotel. At the arrival we had been welcomed by the front office manager Geert with a glass of juice and this made us very comfortable. He is an easy going person and a good feeling immediately!
If you are a bikewanderer like us we really recommend you this hotel because is Bike friendly indeed it has a large deposit for the bikes! 🙂
The room was pretty and clean and you can’t imagine how Bruno was happy to see the coffee machine inside!
You have to know that he is Napolitan so he doesn’t have blood in his veins but coffee. A lot of coffee.
Obviously, there are no shortages of figures!
We don’t know who is to blame, but one of us has forgotten Bruno’s bag outside the room and at the moment of taking the shower we couldn’t find it. We started looking for the bag in the wardrobe, under the bed, in the bathroom, we couldn’t find it and at some point Bruno heard someone knocking. He asked Arthur if he had heard it but Arthur replied that he had knocked on the closet so no one knocked. Bottom line Arthur went down to the reception desk to ask if they had found the bag and here is explained the knocking on the door! It was the cleaning agent who knocked to ask if that dead bag on the floor was ours: D
Ok. Let’s forget about it!
After the shower we were really hungry so we went back to the city center to eat something and visit the city at night!
Eating in the city center is not cheap, about 24-30 Euros for a main dish, more than a flight ticket from Milan to Brussels. LOL
After dinner we had a walk in the city center to see Markt again. Its lights are really suggestive and the little streets is something you shouldn’t miss.
There are a lot of pubs so you can do a lot of things in the evening.
Upon returning to the hotel we met Geert who was dismantling from his shift and the receptionist so we stopped to talk about our stay in Bruges and our journey. We also took a photo with them!
Sleeptime! Longest ride of the tour for us the day after!
Next week we will talk about how we reached Antwerp and the rail network in Belgium. We will give you some nice tips about bikes and trains 😀 Thanks for following us and keep pedaling!
Just before to start, we wanna introduce you to this tour.
We’ll divide it in 4 posts, one for each day that we toured:
From Bruxelles to Ghent;
From Ghent to Bruges;
From Bruges to Antwerp;
Back to Bruxelles.
It’s time to start. Take a seat. 😀
Bruxelles: Time To Ride!
Early, early in the morning, but very early in the morning, as usual, we got up to take the plane to reach Brussels.
After a double breakfast, one at home and another at the airport, we took the plane and once we reached Brussels we decided to have another breakfast in one of the fabulous bakeries of the city center! We love to stay healty ah! 😀
Once we arrived, after the breakfast I mean, we rented two city bikes at Velo Central.
The bikes were quite good, not the best for traveling but they’re okay for 40-50 kms a day.
The main flaw is that they didn’t have an insurance for bicycle theft, so you should better lock your bike and if possible, bring it inside your Airbnb or choose a hotel with a bike deposit.
I’m not saying that Belgium isn’t safe but in case someone steals your bike you will have to pay €350.
If you wanna travel by bike but you’re not a ruptured cyclotourist we suggest you to bring your own bike, or at least combine your riding with trains! 🙂 We will talk about rail network and bycicle in the future posts!
There are many bike rentals (ProVelò, Cyclo, Villo!, BlueBike) in the city (not too much in reality) and they offers quite the same prices. Villo and BlueBike are not good for traveling but only for the city).
Since we have decided to visit Bruxelles at the end of our trip and not in the first day, after a quick look around, we left the city for Ghent.
Due to the high-traffic Brussels wasn’t an easy city to cycle, even though it is full of cycle paths. A lot of cars invade the lanes for cyclists but once you get out of the city everything turns out to be a paradise! After few kilometres of uphill climb and the incredible traffic in Molenbeek, the Islamic district of Brussels, the road became free and the fun started! 😀
Road To Ghent!
Cycling in Belgium is really easy and well organized. As we said in the last article the country is almost entirely covered with cycle path and indications. To reach Ghent we followed the road N9, that connects Brussels directly to Ghent. It’s the best way to reach the city, even though the first part goes up and down hill! So prepare your legs and your motivation! 😀
& DOWN! 😀
You can do this route with all kind of bikes. It’s about 55km and the cycle path condition was pretty good, just pay attention if you use a fixed, ’cause the steady climbs and downs could cause you some issues. We saw a lot of e-bikes during this track 🙂
We did a little stop in Aalst, a little town in the middle, where we ate at the local Spar.
Unlike our expectations, food wasn’t bad; on the contrary, Belgian cuisine is very good!
You know,we are italian and hard to please with food but we didn’t eat any Italian food in those day, just to say. 😛
We will talk about it in the further post. In Aalst we ate just a sandwich 🙂
After the break we covered the last 30 km upwind, a killer wind, but of course if you are a cyclist know that the best thing to do in this situation is to change your attitude, change your attitude into a smile! 😀
Outside Aalst we realized that the landscape had changed. We found ourselves in the Flanders with beautiful canals, uphill and green fields. It’s hard not to fall in love with this part of the country!
Enjoy it! 🙂
Show us your beauty, Ghent!
A little bit tired because of the early get up, we arrived in Ghent at 5 p.m.
What to say about Ghent?
Ghent is one of the most fascinating city of Belgium, the gem of the Flanders such as the “rival” Bruges but less touristic. Its city center is full of interesting museums, art galleries and nice shops. Unesco heritage site, the city center is Emile Breunsplein, the most photographed part of the city where the cathedral Sint-Baafskathedraal is located.
If you, like Bruno, love the gothic style, YOU WILL LOVE GHENT.
St. Bavo’s Cathedral is the symbol of gothic style in this town and is really famous for housing a masterpiece of the Reinaissance: Jan and Hubert Van Eyck’s The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb also known as The Ghent Altarpieces. The cathedral also hosts some beautiful artworks by the painter Rubens.
There is a lot to do in Ghent: we suggest you to stay there a couple of days and don’t miss the Castle of the Counts built by Philip of Alsace in 1180, the Belfry Tower that is the proudest city symbol of indipendence and the Cloth hall.
Time to reach our Airbnb now, so after a couple of hours wandering in the city center we followed Coupure river to reach our host house: “Swonnie“!
We were a little bit excited to make this experience and I can say that our expectations have been met fully!
Tom and his family welcomed us very warmly, we felt like we were longtime friends.
He speaks 8 languages so if you ever go to visit him he will surely talk in your language better than the national average of your country 😀
As we said in the last post many people use AirBnb because it is cheaper than hotels and you can find a room even in the city center for a bunch of Euro. But, as we think, the soul of AirBnb isn’t just a matter of money but also a cultural exchange with your host.
Furthermore, we had the opportunity to stay in a typical Belgian house and to climb its typical stairs 😀
Belgian houses could be a bit weird for people who come from “ South Europe” because we have a different architecture style: Belgian houses are narrow and tall, built on several floors connected by steep staircases.
They were so little that we did them in a kind of slow motion!
For dinner we went back to the city center and ate a gourmet burger at Ellis, a nice restaurant in Korenmarkt, a square located in the city center and one of the most touristic location of the city because of the several historical buildings.
After dinner and few beers we did a night ride through the beautiful streets near Vrijdagmarkt.
The atmosphere was pure magic, this neighbourhood really deserves a walk at night because of the beautiful lighting of the buildings! It was like a ride in the past! 🙂
Belgian people really know how to enhance their cities, for example with the promotion of their local brewery. Each town have own typical beers.
GREAT! FOR US! 😛
At the end of the day we were really tired but also happy: we really wanted to visit Belgium and we were about to abandon the idea of visiting this country in those days for some organizational difficulties with work, but you know, nothing can stop a nomad mind! 😀
In the next post we will talk about the second day: from Gand to Bruges, so if you like our adventure stay tuned! 😀
We have just returned from Belgium and we are happy to say that it has been a really beautiful experience.
We read a lot about this country and we were really curious to discover it with our wheels (not really our, we rented two city bikes “adapted for travelling”).
This time, differently from our trip in The Netherlands where we booked only hotels, we decided to try AirBnb in two cities: Gand and Antwerp.
AirBnb is a platform where people can share their houses or a room with travelers and differently from an hotel you can spend time with your host, talking about everything you want.
So,why to choose AirBnb or any other sharing accomodation platform as Couchsurfing?
Many people use AirBnb becauseit is cheaper than hotels and you can find a room even in the city center for a bunch of Euro. But, as we think, the soul of AirBnb isn’t just a matter of money but also a cultural exchange with your host. It’s great opportunity to discover a country not only as a tourist but live like a localor just get recommendations for “secret spots” and good restaurant from people in-the-know.
We met very beautiful people during our stays. We met the polyglotal Tom(he knows 8 languages), his wife and their beautiful childrenthat hosted us in their cozy and typical house in Gand. With a glass of white wine in our hands, we talked about politics, living in Flanders and the difference in accent between North Italy and South Italy having a lot of fun.
In Antwerp, our host Bart, really suprised us with his house and his “tatami bed”, especially Arthur was really excited because of the Vynil collection from Chopin to Radiohead and many more. And of course Murakami’s books. And of course the tatami. And of course everything. Lol
During our trip to Belgium we didn’t use only AirBnb but also a hotel and the house of a friend: we stayed in Brugge at Velotel hotel because of their bike friendly attitudeand the distance from the city center and in Bruxelles in the house of a friendfrom Italy that is now studying in Belgium.
In the next articles we will talk about all this, we will tell you everything, from the first morning to the last afternoon, from thewaterfall of beer and the Belgian foodto the cycle culture of the country.
You have to know that Belgium is a country forcyclotourist, the cyclepaths cover almost all the territory and the drivers always respect the cyclist. If a driver blows the horn is because you’re doing something wrong
We will tell you about how Arthur blew a tire 7 km before Bruxellesin the middle of nowhere and how he pushed the bike to the station, how Bruno almost damaged his knee playing football at the Parc du Cinquantenaire.
We will also talk about the excellent rail network that allows you to transport your bike wherever you want 🙂
If you want to know details about Belgium all you have to do is select one of the following link:
Holidays are over but every weekend is a good opportunity to explore the world by bike, especially your neighborhood or the nearby cities.
Sooo, we decided to write a list of the nice spots near Milan.
These places are easily reachable so if you are a tourist do not despair, Milan is a great deal for daily trips!
– From Milan to Pavia: it’s about 85 km (roundtrip) along the Naviglio surrounded by nature and beautiful small towns.
You shouldn’t miss the incredibile monastery of Certosa di Pavia, 8 km far from Pavia, one of the italian Reinaissance’s most notable buildings.
We really recommend to spend a day in this city center and its surroundings. Do not miss the Dome and the Covered Bridge constructed by the devil 😀
– From Boffalora sopra Ticino to Arona Lake (Lago Maggiore). A little bit harder, about 120 km (roundtrip), but if you are in shape you can easily do it!
Boffalora sopra Ticino is near Milano (20 min by train).
What we love most of this route is that is one of the best and picturesque cycle path in the Area: it’s all along the river and fields and it’s about 60km length.
– From Milan to Morimondo: Not so difficult, about 25 km from the main places in Milan. If you start from Milano Porta Genova you can follow the Naviglio Grande untill Abbiategrasso and then follow for Morimondo.
Morimondo is one of the most characteristic villages in the province. A little town that host one of the Italian most famous medieval Abbey.
Here, time seems to have stopped. There are many things to do here: visit the abbey,enjoy a good meal in one of the restaurants and drink a liter (hey hey i’m jocking) of beers produced by the monks.
– From Milan to Vigevano: Vigevano is a small town near Morimondo (15 km) that really deserves a visit. The city center named Piazza Ducale is the heart of the city.
Here you can find an exemple of italian architecture, one of the most suggestive and scenographic area. Just think that the great master Arturo Toscanini considered Piazza Ducale to be a musical simphony, a four-sided orchestral composition akin to the four movements of symphonies.
– From Milan to Como Lake: It was our first big roundtrip of about 90km.
We think Como don’t need so much words, it’s a gorgeous and famous place!
just pay attention if you use google maps. it hates cyclists.
It was our first trip and in our inexperience we found ourselves climbing mountains and descending at crazy speeds.
That’s all for now! 😀
If you have some tips or personal tracks feel free to contact us, we are going to update this list and your experiences are welcome 🙂
Hi Guys, with this post we are going to start a new directory about your journeys and little trips.
Before we started traveling by bike we had been inspired by other people, so with this directory we would like to inspire you with all the stories that other bikewanderers will send us.
The first story that we would like to tell you is Luna Y Daniel’sjourneythrough Latin America.
No big plans, no certain routes, no time limits, just the goal to reach Patagonia.
But hey, this trip is not like the others, this trip has something special.
Do you want to know what I mean for special? I mean Patas y Pedales, not just Pedales but also Patas, also their dogs: Brandy and Kiam Yin.
They,human and dogs, met for the first time in Caracas, 2011, during a bicycle trip and now, five years later, they are travelling up down South America “as a pack” as they say when they introduced themselves to us: “We are Luna and Daniel, the humans, Brandy and Kiam Yin, the dogs. We are biketouring South America in a way to promote the idea to travel with your pets as a pack, and not leave them home alone”.
Why South America? To follow Bolivar’s dreamto unite most part of South America and now, while on the road, they are realizing that Simòn Bolivar was right, that differences, because there are differences, are not so big!
Quoting from their blog Patas Y Pedales: “We also wanted to connect with our roots, with our ancestry.South america is a huge melting potbut we want to reach its core, find its essence, our essence. It has so much diversity, so many different ingredients to cook, so many traditions, so many indigenous groups, so many landscapes but a single heart (ed). So much to explorethat we can’t see and experience everything, but at least we’ll take a nice and slow look to anything that present itself on our path.”
We liked so much their idea of traveling that we decided to share it with you aaaaand if you want to know more about this couple and their adventure all you have to do is to follow their Blog ! 🙂
Hope you like the idea too and if you have a pet think about it! 🙂
Goodbye friends, see you in the next post!
Utrecht: time to leave. Why is life so cruel? 😀
Could someone give us his/her house for free? 🙂 Or just host us for a period that goes from now to eternity? 😀
We left Utrecht but not until we had had two breakfasts. The first at the Hotel and the second one in a cozy franchise bakery named Stach. You can find it in every city of The Netherlands.
Have you ever been there and tried their lemon cake? You will dream about it at night, I’m telling you.
Goodbye Utrecht, you will always be in our heart! ❤
Road to Amsterdam: Hilversum & Naarden
To reach Amsterdam we decided to follow the same route we did in October: a little stop in Hilversum and lunch in Naarden.
The route from Utrecht to Hilversum is surrounded by nature. Green fields and blue sky, weird pigs and cows everywhere. A special mention to the last stretch of the way fully immersed in a kind of wood that hides some of the best houses we’ve ever seen.
Once we arrived in Hilversum we noticed that something was changed in the General Market square where we stopped to eat a weird but tasty sandwich with fried shrimps in October. A little bit shocked we asked to a local if something has changed in the last six month and he confirmed that the square was been renewed. We don’t know why but this thing shocked us.
It was a quick stop, so perfectly on time we started pedalling toward Naarden to eat in a local restaurant named Het hert.
Yummy hamburgers there! 😀
There’s a lot to say about this town. Naarden is a little beautiful city famous for itsstar shape and because is one of the most preserved fortified city in Europe.
According to Wikipedia “is an example of a star fort, complete with fortified walls and a moat.”
Indeed, one of the attraction is the Vestingmuseum located on one of the six bastions that gives to the city its distinctive star shape. If you want to discover the story of this fortress and the economic importance that this city had till the recent past you should not miss it! You will find a brochure in Dutch and English. Don’t make our same mistake: Arthur asked for the english part when the entire page was in English. LOL
October in Naarden
The first time we went there we could taste the renowned Dutch Kindness.
We were two runaways adventuring with bikes in a land that is not Italy, where people do not speak our language and we don’t speak their, just few words in the same shitty english that we’re using to write here 😛
Anyways, we were in trouble to find a hotel for the night when we decided to ask to the girl at the reception of the museum for help. We couldn’t imagine that she was going to make a quarter of hour phone call just for us and showed us the way to reach the hotel! Amazing.
Another memories was a group of guys. “. We asked for something to do in the City and they literally started to run to bring us to “the best brewery in Naarden“. Wow!
After lunch we were a little bit sad, our journey was going to end but at the same time we were really happy because of what we did: we were thinking to all the people we met along the way and the support that they gave us, to all the smiles.
Biking is freedom for us, it enables you to feel life as the way you feel it when you are child. It allows you to keep the contact with the people, to watch the world from another point of view, to feel every kilometre you ride.
With these feelings and thoughts we were leaving Naarden when a fabulous storm came to remember us that feelings are for weak and if you don’t want to drown under the rain you should pedal and shut up 😀
Sooo under the heavy rain we started to sing loud and out of tunes italian songs and pedal to reach Amsterdam.
Have we already talked about green field and blue sky? Cows and sheep? Green fields and Blue Sky? 😀
Just outside Naarden, after riding along a part of Ijmeer, a lake that we thought it was the Sea, a twenty kilometres path in the pure nature extends to Diemen, a town 6 km before Amsterdam.
What is happened along this road it’s unbelivable! And we have a video to demonstrate it.
We were resting along the way: you have to imagine three young guys, talking and walking when a man that was walking behind us farted passing us. Birds singing, green trees, blue river and a farting man. We laughed for two weeks about this..
We are back, Amsterdam!
Last stop: Amsterdam.
Once we arrived we went to the hotel to finally have a shower and then we passed all the time wandering around the city. After those km by bike we weren’t tired so we decided to eat something in the city center and then explore the surrounding of the HarleemmerPoort.
The day after we did the same of the night before, we returned the bikes and had a little walk in the city to buy some souvenirs for our families.
Thanks again to all the people that helped us during these trips, the one in october and the one in may.
Just few words to end this post, just a promise to us: next time we will stay in this country for more time because it really deserve it.
See you in next posts guys!
Enjoy your rides and keeep pedaling! 🙂
Breakfast time, crying time. I don’t know why but we never get used to English breakfast. We’re grown up with Cappuccino and Brioche or Latte/Tea and Biscuits and the very idea to eat an egg or some beans at 7.00 am kills us. But it’s okay, to travel is to discover new thing, new people, new culture: okay we’re jocking, we found bread and marmelade 😀
Before to leave Rotterdam we wandered around and again, the first thing you can notice is multi-culturalism.
We have a lot to learn from Rotterdam: about one third of its inhabitants is of foreign originand the mayor is from Marocco. We can say that Rotterdam is one of the most multicultural city or maybe the first of holland and this is due to his port, one of the most important in the world.
We saw a lot of Feyenoord’s flag in the city and we remembered that the society has here.
For a casuality we watched a video on facebook that speak about the winner of the Eredivisie title: The Feyenoord! Wow, that was the day before we reached the town! After 18 years they won the title! Is it because we were going there?! 😀
We left Rotterdam with the promise to come back and dedicate more time to the city.
Road to Utrecht: Gouda
On our way to Utrecht, we decided to stop and visit Gouda, a small city famous for its craftworks and of course cheese and stroopwafels.
We really suggest you a day trip to this city. A lot of old buildings and pretty canals. Plus the city is totally cyclable with the exception of Kleiweg and there is a lots of parking for the bikes.
So, after a very tasty hambugerandGoudacheese-based lunch and a quick stop at the AlbertHeijn to buy some biscuits ( biscuits with cinnamon = life), we left Gouda to reach one of our favourite city of holland: Utrecht.
We don’t know who we have to thanks (really??) but from Rotterdam to Gouda the rain has stopped and an incredible heat killed us 😀
We have a funny video where we stretch out the sweat from our t-shirt 😀 A must see!
Before this trip we did another one a little bit smaller in October: Amsterdam-Utrecht via Breukelen and Maarssen and Utrecht-Amsterdam via Hilversum and Naarden.
The first time we have been in Utrecht we stayed at the Stayokay hostel in the centre of the city. This hostel have a privileged view on the medieval centre and is perfect for who is traveling on a budget.
Why we love Utrecht so much , one of the most unsung city according to Lonely Planet?
We don’t really know, maybe for its central canal, the oudegracht, the Dom tower wich is the tallest of The Netherlands, or its houses. It’s a weird feeling, in italian we use to say that this city is a “bomboniera”, a bombonnière, for the charm. You can walk and get lost in its cozy shops, small streets or in its unparallel “movida” in the city centrek.
As we were saying, we arrived in Utrecht around 6.00 pm, but this time we booked a room at the 13th floor of Nh Utrecht Hotel. The view was amazing, we could see Utrecht from the top at one km of distance.
Canal in Utrecht
Time to sleep now,
see you next week guys, stay tuned for the last chapter of our trip: Back to Am via The lovely Naarden!
Wish you good trips and nice rides! 🙂
Byee, Arthur and Bruno – BikesPhilosophy
Bruno is starting to hate the rain (Gouda)
Bruno and Arthur are starting to LOVE the rain (Gouda)
This is the second chapter of our bike trip in The Netherlands.
So, where were we?
Morning, Rotterdam to reach, bikes and a lot of rain.
What’s better?! 😀
Our goal was to reach Rotterdam via Scheveningen, one of the most famous holland shore and Den Haag.
After a quick breakfast and a look around, we started pedaling toward Scheveningen under the rain .
It isn’t too far from Leiden, around 20km. We passed through Meijendepark, the largest dune area in South Holland.
Open dunes, lakes, forest: a MUST for who loves the nature.
Finally we saw the sea!
Magically, once we arrived in Scheveningen, the rain has stopped and this boosted our spirits: we decided to get off the bike and run into the sea. Dressed 😀
North Sea is cold, really cold and we rested for a while there to enjoy the peace of the ocean.
We were so excited that Bruno forgot his action cam on the bicycle bar! (glad to have found it on the bike after 1 hour)
After just 5km we reached Den Haag.
What a pity we just had lunch and a little walk around, because this city deserves more then a day to be visited. It’s simply WONDERFUL!
You know, this happen very rarely to fall in love so fast, but you can breath a really positive air, a cosmopolitan air!
As a metter of fact the International Court of Justice is based here.
If you are planning to visit Den Haag we really reccommend you the shopping district and the museums: from Rembrandt to Escher, from the royal palace to the Gemeentemuseum where you can find the unique collection of Piet Mondrian’s artwork.
Badly, we couldn’t stay here forever, Rotterdam was waiting us aaand guess who’s knocking at the door? Clouds, very big grey clouds and a killer wind asking for our blood.
On our way to Rotterdam we passed through Delft, a pretty city famous for his blue porcelain known as Delftware and because Vermeer was born her.
You can find his “Girl with a pearl ear-ring” in Maurithuis in Den Haag.
Ahh clouds, clouds clouds and rain, it had rained so much that we arrived in Rotterdam soaked to the skin but we were so happy and satisfyed that wasn’t a problem for us, and hope so for the kind girl at the reception of our hostel 😀
We don’t use to watch the city on google view when we plan our trips so, Rotterdam was a good surprise for us: after being destructed during the second war it has been reconstructed unleashing the fantasy of the various architechts.
What we won’t forget? One of the stunning sunset ever 🙂
Ehmmmm…we won’t tell you what we eated. We’re italian.. again 😀 But it wasn’t our fault, we were too hungry and all the restaurants were closed.
Time to sleep, we went back to the hostel to rest for the next step of our journey: Utrecht via Gouda.
Early, early in the morning, but we mean very early in the morning, we woke up and took a plane to reach Amsterdam.
Once we arrived in the city of freedom we rented 3 bikes and started to have alook around.
We’ve been many times in Amsterdam, but if you don’t have many days to dedicate to the city, you must visit the following main places:
–Museumplein: Here you can find the Rijksmuseum,in which you will see a lot of artworks of the Flemish art, the Stedelijk Museum, based on modern art and the Van Gogh Museum, in which you can admire the life of Vincent, from the start to the end;
–Dam: A beautiful square composed by “Nationaal Monument“,the obelisk in memory of the fallen soldier of the second world war, the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum,the Royal palace and the Nieuwe Kerk( new church);
–Canal System: yeah. It’s great, beautiful and long more than 100km!
We’re not going to tell you that you could visit the city by bike, oh no, you MUST do it! 😀
You will feel like a real citizen.
According to one of the last census, the 850.000 inhabitants owns 847000 bikes and every year around 15000 bikes are fished up from the canals. THINK ABOUT IT! 🙂
The greatness of the bicycle infrastructure in The Netherlands is unbelievable, they have more than 32000 km of cycle path, so you can go everywhere you want as we did.
Road to Leiden
IT’S PEDALING TIME! Once we moved out from Amsterdam passing through the greenVondelParkand the Amsterdamse Bos, two of the biggest and suggestive parks of the city, we headed to Leiden, crossing Westeinderplassen, a complex of lakes belonging to the territory of Alsmeer, a city that hosts the largest flowers and plants trade centers in the world.
Cycling around holland is really easy. As we said before, cycle paths cover all the territory. You can follow the LF routes to reach every place or city you want.
The territory is almost flat, full of beautiful houses, green fields, cows and canals. After 45 km of this beauty we reached Leiden.
Here we are, Leiden! 😀
Leiden is a beautiful small town full of history: the oldest university in The Netherlands is here (built in 1575), Einstein taught there, and the pilgrims lived here for a while before to get on the Mayflower.
The city centre could be really romantic if you go there with your partner or just relaxing if you are here with your friends.
Coming from Italy, we thought that here the passion for football was certainly smaller, but when Ajax scored against Monaco in Europa League semifinal, we have doubted it.
The entire floor trembled!
Wow, we laughed of that for about 10 minutes!
Passion is passion, wherever you go.
We were eating pizza (yes, we are italian and we CAN’T survive without pizza or pasta once a day 😀 ) on the canal and it started to rain cats and dogs: we ran inside as fast as lightning with our lovely food!
So be aware of the climate and don’t forget your meal on the table. Please.
If you don’t have time to visit every single attraction, we recommend youto visit the centre and just get lost in the quiet streets of the city.
We rested in an hotel near the central station and after a good breakfast, we were ready to reach Rotterdam via Scheveningen and Den Haag!
We talk about it there: 2° From Leiden to Rotterdam;
If you have questions about our trip you can contact us! 😀