Wednesday, 8 August - Day 7: Hoek van Holland - Vrouwenpolder, NL
Today: 95,32 km (59.2 miles)
Trip to date: 642,93 km (399.5 miles)
During the night there was rain and thunderstorms. I got to "bed" early and slept like a baby for ten hours and woke up feeling much better than on the previous day. The temperatures this morning were in the low 20s C which was great. The downside was that I was going to be facing almost gale force headwinds the entire day. Ugh.
The ferry landing (water bus) to the other side of the Niewe Maas (once again, not the Waal / Rhein) was only a couple kilometers from the campsite. After a quick sandwich and smoothie breakfast from Albert Heijn, I made my way down there to wait. While waiting I met Judith, a woman from Utrecht, NL who was heading the same direction. We hit it off nicely, so we decided to accompany each other as far as her planned stop for the day. I was riding about 20 km further down the coast.
Judith is a professional management / leadership trainer, coach, counselor. Like me, her immediate destination was to meet up with her spouse the next day. Their plans were to continue together cycling for a week or so.
We had a very enjoyable day, and both felt that having company made facing the headwinds much less painful. We chatted the whole way on a range of topics. Strange (and good) that politics was never mentioned.
Riding with Judith was a good change for me as we had rest stops every 20 km or so. We had a nice stop for apple pie and coffee in the morning, and a long lunch stop on the dike between Goeree-Overflakkee and Schouwen-Duiveland islands at one of the restaurants catering to the many wind / kiteboard surfers that come here.
Kiteboarding, windsurfing, and kite / sail buggy riding are all extremely popular on the beaches in this part of the Netherlands. At one point I counted over 70 kiteboard kites in the air! There is also quite an industry of restaurants and surf schools on the beaches here. We saw cars from practically every country in Europe. Also, there were a good number from Aachen.
Judith stopped her ride in Burgh-Haamstede, NL on the island of Schouwen-Duveland where she had arranged to stay with a WarmShowers host. I continued on about 20 km, including the 10 km long dike and flood control system built between Schouwen-Duveland and Vrouwenpolder.
This part of the coast of the Netherlands is a huge holiday destination. Many of the small towns are overrun with vacationers and party goers. There are restaurants, pubs, and shops galore. The campground I stayed at had a pool, sports complex, restaurant, and shop. I arrived after the reception area had closed for the day, but, as I had called ahead to make a reservation there was an envelope with my name on it on the shelf next to the door. It contained directions to my pitch and the location of all the facilities. Fortunately, the tent pitches were isolated and relatively quiet. They weren't anywhere near being full, so I had plenty of room between me and the next campers.
After this long day fighting the wind I was glad to have the restaurant. I sat outside and enjoyed a terrific naked hamburger, frites, and a beer while being entertained by the live band they had playing inside.