The question when you’re on an adventure is usually answered that you’re on one as soon as you have left your doorstep. You can have an adventure in your back garden, if you want to. They say. One who inspires me greatly to get started in long distance cycling is Alaister Humphreys. He cycled the world around in four years and is now promoting microadventures in order to motivate people to go out and about. Take your bike and sleeping bag after work and go to the hills, cook your beans, sleep under a starry sky, boil water for your morning coffee and be on time for work again.
All well and good, but it wasn’t until we reached Germany that we both had the idea of being away, of being on an adventure. We had time for a bike trip of approximately a week. We thought it would be nice to cycle along the river IJssel to Nijmegen and then a bit of the Roman Limes (the border line of the Roman Empire along the river Rhine). A bit touristic from the start, but what the heck we said to each other. Why not discover your own country a bit more?
We left Harns in the early morning and cycled along the old dyke to Spanga where we would meet a friend of mine (and my sponsor of my first big trip, Kleine Beer Brouwerij). Next day Kampen was our destination, where Ydwine’s sister lives.
After Kampen we followed the IJssel and there the ‘trouble’ started. The weather was really good, maybe a bit too hot and because then it was still a holiday so a lot of people were out and about. Above that The Netherlands is a bicycle country as you might now, so elderly couples on their e-bikes overtook us whistling and chatting while we panted on our loaded bikes in the blazing sun.
We still don’t know if we missed a turn or haven’t looked on the map properly, but all of a sudden there weren’t any other cyclists anymore. You would say that was a relief, but it was even worse. We got in the village of Giethoorn, which is called Venice of the North. Very small paths with loads of tourists that walk from one side of the village to the other side if they weren’t on the water. We struggled, but we survived!
In short, we didn’t make it to Nijmegen, we took a turn to the left in the direction of Germany, to Münster. Away from all the day-trippers. As soon as we were over the border and there wasn’t a living soul in sight, we could breathe again and said to each other that we now had the idea of being away, of being on an adventure. For me a big part of being on an adventure is wild camping. We did it once, since there are far less campsites in Germany than in The Netherlands. Wild camping is almost impossible in the crowded Netherlands where you can see a house or a farm in every field you’re standing in. Is that also why microadventures are more for countries like England and in Scandinavia for example. Or did we make a mistake from the start to follow a popular route? Or is it that I think The Netherlands is a bit flat and boring, so that I only have the idea of being away when I’m abroad, in unknown territory?
Than I’m lucky to say that we want to go on a longer trip to experience something beyond the packed, planned paths of The Netherlands and make an adventure of our own.