Osstburg to Roosendaal, Holland

Osstburg with its lighthouse

Windmachines with bicyclist from a bridge near Bergen op Zoom

I stopped today after only 68 miles which took six hours of riding. I could have gone on the the next big town, but I was tired, and beat up a bit, from riding Dutch bike paths and figuring out my way from city to city. It is very nice not to have to worry about traffic, but it has two costs. First, as in Belgium, Dutch bike paths are not as smooth as Dutch roads. That slows me down and beats me up. Second, unlike Belgium, in Holland it can take a lot of time and energy just to find bike paths and figure out which ones to use. I probably spent an hour and a half today on just those two things, and part of my reason for stopping when I did was 'lost the bike path fatigue.' Another part was 'here is good internet access' relief ;-}.

An underpass on the bike path just north of Ossburg
Note the weather

I started the morning with a great breakfast, as good as the four star breakfast yesterday morning. Then I rode to Breskin, the ferry stop some 10 km away. It cost me 3.25 E for a one way ticket to Vlissingen. I had wondered why my maps didn't show this ferry, and now I know. It doesn't carry cars, only people and bicycles. I waited about half a hour for the ferry and, as we boarded, it started to rain. Fortunately, the rain was finished by the time, half an hour later, when we arrived in Vlissingen.

The ferry coming in
The weather was not improving..

Waiting to get on the ferry

On the ferry, I repacked my bike for riding in the rain and put on my parka for the first time on this tour. When I got ot Vlissingen, I repacked a bit. Later in the morning, I removed my second shirt and my second kneewarmer because the day was warm.

On the Nord-Sea Weg

When I left the ferry station, I headed north. That was worked out well because I found the Northsea bike route which I have read about. Since I didn't want to follow that route too far, and since I needed bread and pastry supplies, I left that route and went into a small town north of Vlissingen. I found a bread and pastry place and a bike shop. The first provided me with snacks for the day and, as it turned out, supper. Then the young man that ran the bike shop showed me how to route to Roosendaal.

A ship, sailboats, and a typical Dutch lady bicyclist on the river

One of many draw bridges that let the ship and the sailing boats use the river

It was a straightforward route, first following the river to Middleburg and then mostly following the a highway to Roosendaal. There aren't a lot of routing option because todays ride was down a skinny peninsula with Vlissingen at it end and Bergen op Zoom at its base. Roosendaal is about 20 km due east of Bergen.

I stopped for lunch in Goes, which was an interesting experience since most of the restaurants were closed (on Saturday at noon?) and the ones that were open were tourist traps with high prices. I bought food from a Vietnamese snack vendor and used the bigger - these folks like their pastries substantial - of my two pastries as dessert. The city was full of people and very alive, so I can't understand why so many restaurants were closed.

Entering Bergen

The center of Bergen
It got a LOT more crowded when I headed south

In Bergen I made the mistake of going into the city center. It was really crowded with wall to wall people. Great fun, but also a pain to ride through! I made it out, but not before being yelled at for riding my bike where I was supposed to be walking it. The yeller was very emphatic, but, since he was speaking Dutch, I ignored him. I was using my bike as a scooter, with one foot on the ground and the other on the pedal on the opposite side of the bike and my hand on the front brake, so I think I was better able to get through the crowd safely than if I had been walking it. The yelling reminded me of an intense discussion, in mixed English and Dutch, that was going on at the ferry terminal. That was about smoking. The Dutch, like the Germans, tend to self righteousness. I prefer the French who are much less likely to take it on themselves to correct the behavior of other people. I would not dare ride on the road here, much less the autroute ;-}!

I got out of Bergen by heading south and east to where I expected to find the bike path going east. After some minor trial and error, I did find it. When I got to Roosendaal. I was not so fortunate. On the way in, I was on a bike path that was marked as going on to Rotterdam. Somehow - easy to do here in a big city, I lost that path. I then spent the next half an hour trying to find it. I asked half a dozen people, but no one knew it. Finally I decided I'd settle for the path to Breda which, I figured would run along the autoroute to Breda. With a little help, I found that path and, shortly after it started, this hotel. It is Bastion hotel, part of chain that seems to cater to business people. Not cheap, but good value.

This hotel has the best wireless internet access I've ever had - it is uploading images to the US at better than 50 kB per second as I type this - and served the best breakfast I've had on this tour. Last night I tried to upload my backup images - some 3/4 gB of them, while I slept. I was so tired when I set that transfer up that I transferred the wrong images ;-{. Now I'm sending the correct ones, and I'll stay here until that transfer finishes or I get kicked out at noon. I think I have plenty of time to get to Hamburg, so I can take short days or even rest days this week. Hmm, this could turn into a rest day. Note added: It started to rain and I learned that possibly storms are forecast for today. I'm taking a rest/internet access day here.

I have also decided to route mostly east from here to Germany. That will mean I'll be riding parts of both Holland and Germany that I haven't been in before. It looks like I'll have one more day of riding in Holland.

The fancy 'brick' path path in the foreground is bumpy
The simpler path that comes after it is much better

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