Follow the dyke!

That was the common answer when asking for directions in Holland and I did, I followed many dykes,  some where the right ones and others took me nowhere. To start with I didn’t even know which were the dykes but soon got it and all was well…

Route finding is time consuming but satisfying,  each of those ‘wrong’  turns bring surprises,  a lush garden,  unexpected conversations,  peaceful countryside,  a fairground inside a nuclear power station.  Slowly,  following the wrong turns I’ve made it to Koln.

The first night I stayed with the most wonderful Warmshowers hosts.  They were incredibly open and generous,  they gave me not only a place to sleep but great tips,  sound advice and human warmth.  Exactly what I needed on my first day.  It was a good omen. 

I have been through some very beautiful places already but as ever what makes it all worth it is the people. The students I stayed with on the second night,  the fleeting conversation with the young couple in the ferry crossing the Rhine,  the two cyclists on their way to Rome,  the 68 year old French woman who cycles over 70km a say,  the young woman in the youth hostel who invited me to her house,  the German CEO of an international company with whom I talked about dreams and Séneca under a bridge in Dusseldorf and the young gypsy (his words) lad who gave me a plateful of sausages last night in the campsite because I looked tired. 

And now,  I am sitting by the cathedral in Köln soaking up the atmosphere and listening to soothing classical music.  This is the life!!


22 thoughts on “Follow the dyke!”

  1. Blanca, glad you had such a good time following the dykes!

    It all sounds to be what you were hoping for, and, to paraphrase the song, ‘You’ve Only Just Begun’!!

    Keep on having fun, Julie

  2. Love your photograph of the windmills Blanca, more please!
    So good to hear of the kindness you are being met by, a case of like attracting like.
    Dorothy and Patrick

  3. Hey Blanca! Hope you are having a wonderful start of your incredible adventure. All the best!
    Komron from Wageningen (Tajikistan:))

  4. Dear Blanca, we like it so much to read your blog, you are great! I love the city cologne, its the town where i was born and lived the first 20 years.Have a good journey, Doro and I are with you, Almut and Doro from Berlin

  5. Hi Blanca, I am so happy for you! Your adventures so far seem to be exactly what you had been hoping for! And when you get to it, have a glass of Sekt for me…a real hardship for you, I know

  6. What a great start Blanca. I know from experience that the kindness of strangers will be a major feature of your trip and it’s very fulfilling. Looking forward to further updates and pictures when you get that sorted. Happy cycling. Tony

  7. Really enjoyed reading your first blog post. You are already sounding like a seasoned traveller. It certainly is all about the people you meet on the way and you appear to be open to every encounter. I think this journey is really going to suit you. Good for you getting out there. I will follow with interest. Good luck!

  8. Blanca querida Me encanta que todo vaya tan bién para ti. Eso es el Karma my friend! y que bien escribes colega! Si es que eres una caja de sorpresas Seguiré leyendote y mi imaginación y mi corazón viajando contigo Besitos xxxx

  9. Life is sounding great. Glad to see people are proving to be wonderful individuals and looking after you on the way. Keep smiling xxxx

  10. Hello Blanca

    We met on the Harwich-Holland ferry and chatted in the customs queue at the Hook on the 9th July – the second day of your adventure. Look forward to seeing the photo Alec took of you – hope you can work out how to post the pics soon.

    You have made quite some progress since we met, looking at all your entries here. Fantastic, and we are still jealous.

    However, we have only just returned home ourselves, having been captivated by the Netherlands, so staying for nearly a month. We didn’t have an itinerary, other than to buy a map showing campsites, then head from one to another, inching our way to Germany and then south to slip back into the Netherlands in Limburg and head west. We too were frequently lost but discovered beautiful villages and lovely people.

    We did eventually find the EuroVeloRijn/Rhihn route but by then had met some German cyclists who said it was badly signposted between the Netherlands and Dusseldorf, and was rarely close to the river due to the industry on its banks. So we abandoned plan A, never got to Maastricht, but that means we have a goal for our next Dutch trip.

    We hope your travels go well and we will be dipping into your blog regularly.

    Happy pedalling!

    1. Hi both. Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful time. Nearly there with the Photos! Thanks for all the tips!

      Keep cycling!

  11. Sounds like you’re having a really rewarding trip so far- we knew you’d always meet lovely people as you are such an outgoing warm person yourself. Can’t believe you’ve got so far already- and glad you’ve got some friends arriving soon. It’s good to Read your travel tales- I look forward to more. Loads of love xxxx

  12. Woohoo – and you’re off to an auspicious start! You’re evidently fluent in many more languages than my woeful one – I worry about this lack of mine but I’m sure I’ll manage. Looking forward to sharing more of your adventures via your blog (we are of a similar age, you and I).

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