Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Like a painting: windmills along the Rotte

It’s been very quiet on this blog! We recently got back from a month in Australia, so I have plenty of photos to share. However, we’ve been really busy, and I have another exciting trip coming up, so posts about Australia will have to wait a bit. In the meantime, I’d like to share some photos taken on a recent bike trip close to home. All the photos were taken within 1 hour, on a 10 km bike trip. I may be living in a big city, but it’s really not very difficult to get out of the city and see some beautiful scenery – even if you just have an hour to spare! :)

Within 10 minutes from home, I reach the edge of the city, and am greeted by this view from the shores of the river Rotte…

Continuing my trip, I reach the first windmill on my route. This is De Prinsenmolen (Mill of the Prince), built in 1648. The evening light was really pretty and the views looked like a painting…

The same mill seen from a little further along the route (looking back). The jetty is private, but I guess the ducks don’t care about that! Near the opposite shore you can see a rowing boat that comes from the nearby rowing club. Must have been a beautiful evening for being on the water!

I continue my trip to the second mill on my route: Molen de Vier Winden (Mill of the Four Winds). I usually cycle right underneath it and never had a very good view of it – nice to see it from the opposite side of the river!

The light was now becoming truly spectacular and I almost had to pinch myself that his was real. What an evening… A coot passed closeby, some rowing boats passed, the clouds reflected in the river…

I took a panorama because I wanted to include everything: the mill, the houses, the boat on the jetty, the church in the distance and the beautiful tree. I borrowed the jetty of a house that was being worked on. I thought the owner might not like me on his jetty (quite a few have “private” signs on them, although not this one), but he came out to ask if I had been able to get some good photos and that it was such a beautiful evening. How nice!

I continued a bit further, but the sunset was now becoming so spectacular that I didn’t get far. I took a panorama looking in the opposite direction as the one above…

And another photo of the sunset, with quite spectacular beams!

After that, I put my photo gear away and cycled the 5 km back to home. A mini trip like this can still be so rewarding!

De Pontjesroute

During my last week in the Netherlands, my Swedish friend and colleague Jakob came to visit. Of course we went to Amsterdam, but I also wanted to show him the “real” Netherlands – part of the country that I find really beautiful, which looks very very Dutch, which is actually the part you can rightfully call Holland ;) but perhaps best of all, without hordes of tourists! And of course this had to be done by bike :)

We took the train to Uitgeest and started cycling from there. The route we followed most of the way is called “de pontjesroute” or the “ferry route”, as you use 4 ferries – one big one that you share with cars, one small one just for bikes, and (extra fun!) two self-service ferries :) (For a map of our route, and a link to the official map – scroll down to the bottom)

It didn’t take long until we spotted the first windmill…

The first windmill of the day, on the way out of Uitgeest

We cycled on a very narrow path next to the lake (barely wide enough for two bikes next to each other). We watched a sailing school with many sailing boats on a canal.

Sailing boats

And we cycled past another windmill, with a small bridge and sluice next to it. The windmill was in use, and the sluice also opened by appointment, for canoes and small boats.

Windmill panorama

Mill & bridge

Not long after that, we took the first self-service ferry. There is a cable running over the bottom and you can wind it by turning a wheel. It’s quite hard work actually!

One of the self-service ferries

A nice old cafe next to the bike ferry at Spijkerboor.

Nice old cafe next to the ferry at Spijkerboor

The bike ferry called Jan Hop, where we paid a small fee for the crossing.

The bike ferry Jan Hop

In this region of the Netherlands there are a lot of wooden houses with this characteristic green colour.

The typical green wooden houses of this region

De Rijp, which I think is the prettiest small town in the Netherlands. I once stayed there in winter, in an amazingly pretty B&B, click here for photos of that trip.

De Rijp, one of my favourite places in the Netherlands

A small and narrow (one person wide) bridge in De Rijp.

One of the many canals and bridges in De Rijp

The very pretty town hall and bridge in De Rijp.

The town hall and the bridge at De Rijp

Ice cream time! We spent a lot of time in De Rijp, visiting the town hall and the church famous for its collection of stained-glass windows. If anyone is interested, here is a video I found on youtube, showing the inside of the church. We donated our last coins to the church, as it looked like it badly needed renovation!

Ice cream time!

We went for a walk around the many pretty streets of the town. There are many canals – must be fun to grow up here and play with boats :)

Boys playing with a boat, must be so much fun to grow up here

We bought a picnic lunch from the supermarket here, hoping to find a nice place to stop and eat it. Just outside de Rijp however, we had to cycle through a very open area, against the wind, and partly next to a busy road. The views were still great though: flat fields with grass, water, farms and a big big sky :)

A very Dutch panorama

Oh and cows of course!

Cows and a very pretty sky

We actually cycled all the way to Akersloot where we finally found a really nice place to stop by the lake. Very good, as I think we couldn’t have cycled much further, we were starving!

A bench by the lake

It was such a nice day and it was great to lie in the grass for a while.

Falling asleep by the lake, such a nice place

When we got to Castricum, we had to decide whether we would take the train from there, or finish the circle by continuing to Uitgeest. In the end we decided to do neither of this: instead we cycled to the beach at Castricum aan Zee (Castricum by the Sea).

Jakob on the beach

I loved the skies that day! We stayed at the beach for a long time, almost staying for the sunset, until we remembered that we still had some distance to bike to get to the train station in Castricum.

The beach, dunes and a very pretty sky at Castricum

Here is a map of the route we cycled, which was almost 50 km in total. The official map of the pontjesroute can be found here

Map of our cycling trip

From Castricum we took the train back home again. We were exhausted after a long day of cycling (much of it against the wind, as it always seems to be in the Netherlands), but what a fun day!

Midsummer Night Ride

Last weekend I did something crazy: I took the train to Grua and cycled all the way back to Oslo through the forest, nearly 60 km – in the middle of the night! It was beautiful: sunset at nearly 23:00, an orange moon rising, a sunset melting into sunrise, with beautiful twilight colours. I hardly saw anyone (except for a few people camping in the forest), but I did meet two big moose and heard the eerie call of the loon echoing over mirror-calm lakes. Oh and a billion annoying little flies, but let’s forget about that ;)

From Grua I cycled a long uphill to Mylla, where I took a short break to enjoy the views…

Evening views at Mylla

Perfect reflections

Mylla panorama

I cycled along the south side of the lake (Mylla), never far from the shore and pretty views…

A rowing boat in the forest

After leaving the lake and climbing up through the forest, this view suddenly opened up – magical!

Suddenly this view opened up - magical!

Moody skies around midnight. There was a lot of rain on the way, and I kept thinking it would start to cloud over, but it actually cleared up after this :)

Moody skies around midnight

I stopped very often, as I couldn’t resist taking photos of views like this…

The skies kept changing, but the colours were beautiful all night

The whole route was along forest (dirt) roads, but one small part went on a narrow track with boardwalks through the forest – fun :)

I mostly cycled on dirt roads, but there was a short part that went through the forest on a narrow path with boardwalks

At the end of that path I reached Gjerdingen Dam…

Gjerdingen

There were a couple of cabins here, and the light was on in the house. There were also two tents used by cyclists at the shore of the lake.

A couple of cabins at Gjerdingen Dam, and if you look closely there are two tents in use by cyclists

More pretty views…

Such fantastic views...

And some really magical views at Hakkloa. If the little flies weren’t driving me crazy, I would have stayed here much longer!

Magical moments at Hakkloa

After that there were some gruelling climbs up from Bjørnsjøen (I skipped Kikutstua as I was getting tired by now and wanted to get home), but after that it was mainly downhill all the way home. I finally got home at 4 in the morning. I met a lot of people on their way home from a night out, which is always surreal when you’ve been in the quiet forest for hours.

If anyone is interested in this route, it’s described here: Til byen fra Grua. Recommended! You need to book and pay to take your bike on the train from Oslo to Grua, but this is easily done online, even last minute.

Cycling around Maridalsvannet

Today I went for a long bike ride (nearly 35 km) through the forest and around Maridalsvannet, a large lake north of Oslo (and the source the city’s drinking water).

This is before I got to Maridalsvannet though, a much smaller lake in the forest…

A small lake in the middle of the forest

Spectacular view over Maridalsvannet – so pretty!

Great view over Maridalsvannet!

I wasn’t the only one out for a bike ride on this sunny Sunday :)

Lots of cyclists around on a sunny Sunday

Parts of the ride went through farmlands, I loved it! There were lots of flowers around as well, and I particularly enjoyed cycling downhill with the wind in my hair and the sweet smell of flowers in my nose – life is good :D

Cycling through farmlands