Relaxing morning before gathering ourselves for the trip to Amsterdam.
The plan is to surprise our daughter when she arrives at Amsterdam airport; she thinks we don’t arrive until tomorrow. The theory is that she will be tired after a long flight (and an all nighter before that!) and that she will be pleased to see us. Let’s see how that goes then shall we?
We load up Claud who has been left chained to a fence for three days, and push our way to Rotterdam central station.
It is a fantastic sunny morning. Bearing in mind the atrocious weather experienced not too far away in Europe, this is somewhat of a miracle. We hear that the Tandem Club’s international rally, which is not too far from here, has not had the best of weather for the week.
We walk to Rotterdam central station; It feels like half of Rotterdam is having breakfast, coffee or some other substance in a bar or cafe along the way.
At the station it seems to take Louise a while to get the tickets to Amsterdam sorted whilst I babysit Claud. When she duly emerges with the tickets, it transpires that tandems are not really allowed on the train, but they have given us (and charged us for) a bike ticket in the hope the guards will turn a blind eye. Louise explains that we brought the tandem to this very station 3 days ago, but apparently this was allowed because we came from a different country (i.e. Belgium!).
The pressure is on. However, as normal, we had no problem loading Claud onto the train and no issues from anyone on the platform.
With our injury problems, we have been on many more trains than we imagined at this point and, apart from a couple of steep pushes up sets of stairs, have had no problem at all. I would say that the trick is not to mention you have a tandem as it avoids problems at the point of purchase. After that those operating the trains appear to have no issues whatsoever.
We arrive in Amsterdam and it is vey busy and boiling hot. Again, outside the station, there are a colossal amount of bikes, some parked in multi storey arrangements.
We check into the Clink hostel which is a short ferry journey from the station. It is converted from a former factory and is really nice. Though there is no bike storage, I manage to persuade them to let me keep Claud in the basement.
We wander round Amsterdam in the heat to get our bearings and find a few landmarks for future reference.
We then go to the airport to meet Emily, our youngest daughter who we have not seen for 5 months as she has been travelling. It is supposed to be a surprise, but I think she guessed we would be there.
Anyway, it was great to see her again and I think she was surprised and pleased to see us – even if it was only to have someone to carry her massive rucksack.
We will be spending the next few days together before she goes back home, via friends in London.
We have some things we want to do over the next few days, but we are all a bit knackered or jetlagged and decide to have a planning meeting in the morning.
Louise and I really need to get back on the bike over this period, certainly before the end of this stay, to make sure we are ready to start to move onto the Rhine and Frankfurt. It would be madness to try and cycle in the middle of Amsterdam, it would be like learning to drive on the M25 in rush hour. However there are opportunities outside the city, which we hope to take and I have picked up a handy map of all the cycle routes.
We may also decide to explore Holland a bit more than we envisaged on the bike before dropping down to the Rhine.
One step at a time though.