Netherlands Bike Tour – Castles, Mills & Mansions

The route today was slightly changed from the original plan of taking a loop tour out and back in to Zutphen.  Today we ride on to Deventer. As always, the breakfast bell rings at 8:00 am and we all head up to the dining hall.  For each breakfast Linda provides us with an array of choices.   Several cereals, yogurts, fruits, breads, cheeses, juices, hard boiled eggs,  and coffee.  After breakfast, we then make our sack lunches from the remaining items, gather our gear and get the bikes off the boat.  On this morning we are off the boat at 9:00.   A pretty warm day, with no rain.  A very comfortable day to ride.

Old Mill at Hackfort

Our first stop is in a wooded area, accessible on a gravel road, to an old grain mill near Hackfort. It is fairly well maintained but apparently not still in operation.  These days its use seems to be more of a venue for shows.  We stopped to watch a crew work on the light and music system supporting a amphitheater  that overlooked the mill pond.

Castle at Vorden

From Hackfort, we travelled more gravel roads and paths, or narrow paved roads with very light car traffic.  Some of the paths are hard packed gravel that are fairly easy to ride, but others feature a deep sand or pea gravel base that proves to be difficult to navigate at times, particularly when the are soggy or soft.  These are  not Honeys favorite surfaces to ride, but the wide Marathon Slick tires of the Bike Fridays, plus their low and stable center of gravity, make it significantlyt easier than our conventional road bikes.   Today’s ride also featured the biggest climb of the tour, that Hannamieke had warned us about yesterday.  The climb was on a single track path through a damp and dark forest, that lasted about a 1/4 mile and climbed perhaps just 200 feet.  By this point it was obvious that this tour would not be about climbing.

Gravel roads have bike paths in the Netherlands

Then emerging from the forest we arrive at the Castle at Vorden. The Dutch versions of Castles are not the same versions as those in France and in Denmark. But, as in France, they mostly appear to be privately owned, and few are ever open or accessible to the public. This one does not appear to be in use, but I am certain it is not forgotten or neglected.  Then off through the countryside, stopping again at the numerous tiny little towns for a coffee break.

Castle Near Laren

We stop at the Mansion Verwolde, near Laren for lunch on the grass. Afterwards we wander about the gardens until the time comes for our hour long guided tour of the interior. This was at one time a very large property, owned for decades by a land baron family, and they seem very proud of its history. It also served as a hospital during WW II.

Solar Homes subdivision in Netherlands

Along the paths we passed a small subdivision of identical homes that were all equipped with solar panels.

All the stops made this a full day of riding. The approach to town  today was pretty crowded with much car and bike traffic, and we arrived in Deventer, to find The Zeelend  docked on the shore of the Ijsse, waiting for us.  With just enough time to take care of the bikes and equipment before dinner, with baked salmon.  Then showers, some quick taxi arrangements for our transportation through Paris later in the week, then a walk through the town of Deventer.  I very nice town, but like most towns here, with the exceptions of the pubs and restaurants, no other businesses seem to remain open after dinner.  I would guess due to the long days on the bikes, we were in no more than 4 stores the entire time 11 days we were in The Netherlands.

2 thoughts on “Netherlands Bike Tour – Castles, Mills & Mansions

  1. Eusebia

    Greetings! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!


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