When the weather in Holland is beautiful, you need to seize the day and enjoy it. Ditch your errands or any solid plans — get outside and let the day take hold of you. You’ll thank yourself when you’re sitting in a cafe watching rain drip down the window, dreading to go back out in it, and daydreaming of dryer days.
So yesterday Jeff, our friend Dan, and I decided to take on the sunny Saturday with a bike trip to Amersfoort. It’s a city about 20 km from Utrecht — and the second largest in the province. But for some reason I didn’t know any of this beforehand, and pictured it quite differently (more on that later…).
If you bike it as straight shot, you can get to Amersfoort in about an hour, to an hour and a half. But we took a few detours, which made this kind of mediocre ride much longer, but more exciting (a long stretch of the ride is actually just next to a motorway). When first leaving Utrecht you head out of the center, past the university, and into the pastures. The city is just minutes away, but soon you’re transported to a
rural world of cow fields, apple orchards, and hidden pannekoeken houses. It is very Dutch, and picturesque (see excitement in shameless selfie) and I can’t wait to head back and take some cow pictures on the next
warm sunny day.
Soon enough, my lovely Dutch countryside adventure was over, and I was cycling beneath some trees by the highway. I was a bit disappointed because Jeff and Dan raved about the scenery from their bike trip to Amsterdam the week before. I was expecting something a bit more…charming. But it wasn’t before long that we were headed off the beaten path, right past suburbia, and into an old abandoned air force base that’s now part playground, part nature reserve. It was the perfect spot to admire the sheer flatness of this country, and look up at the blue skies and wispy clouds.
We then saddled back up and headed for the dunes. Staying off the more boring motorway, we headed through the forest, up a pretty steep hill, and down another. We — actually Dan asked for directions in Dutch — and we carried on towards Holland’s little desert. We parked our bikes and walked up with our sandwiches in hand for a little lunch and to admire the change in scenery.
We then headed back through the woods to Amersfoort. It was about a fifteen minute trek before we were there. The city hits you with tall, modern skyscrapers, outlined by modest and pretty suburbs. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, and it wasn’t until we cycled into the center, and I saw the church tower, that it all felt a bit more familiar. I pictured the center extremely tiny and not very lively. But it was Saturday, and there was a festival, so there were children running wild and friends drinking beers on the square. I didn’t capture this very well, or at all actually, and only managed to get a few shots of some of the side streets, and Amersfoort’s famous gate.
I enjoyed the city. It was charmingly tiny, and the buildings tilted forward, and leaned on their neighbors. Vines creeped up walls, and the cobblestones clocked beneath my feet. We winded through the old streets, following the setting sun.
After a beer we headed back home a little sleepier. We took the faster route, which meant riding alongside the highway. It wasn’t so bad though, bathed in the light of the setting sun. We even rode through the pastures on the edges of the city, where the cows were turning in for the evening, and the dew was already starting to collect. We were going quite fast but I managed to snap a final few photos. It was the perfect way to spend such a beautiful Saturday. The boys are already planning a bike trip to Germany. But yesterday’s trip left me a bit sore, so I think I’d need to invest in a nice butt-pad to make that journey!