Monthly Archives: June 2011

ANTWERP, BELGIUM – a bit off-hand

The hand thrower, Antwerp.

Belgians haven’t always been nice to visitors in the past and it seems the tradition continues.

Antwerpen takes its name from the Flemish ‘hand werpen’ – or ‘hand throwing’. The story goes that the gates were guarded by a giant who demanded a toll of travellers. If they couldn’t pay, he cut off their hands and threw them away. Continue reading


Filed under Belgium, Cycle touring

PIEPERPAD – the end of the road

At least they have beer here.

So that was it, the Pieperpad. The finish in the village of Hengstdijk is a bit anticlimactic. No Big Potato, just a church, a cafe and two camping areas. Also a couple of cold beers waiting. The ride is officially over, but since the nearest train station is 30km away, over the Belgian border in Sint-Niklaas, there’s still some work to be done.

But it’s been a great trip. We can’t claim to have ridden the full 1000km, though we made a very good fist of it. Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Holland

HULST, ZEELAND – blown a little off course

Windkracht (Wind Force) do their thing.

I steered a few kilometres off the official Pieperpad cycle route, because I’d heard Hulst was a lovely quiet little village.

It was once an important fort, so it’s surrounded by a wall and a moat, with a huge cathedral and more than its fair share of attractive old buildings.

Somehow a small but noisy army had made it across the drawbridge. Continue reading


Filed under Holland

HORSE POWER – sustainable energy

Harnessing the team.

Leo de Visser only tills his fields with a horse-drawn plough. At least, I think that’s what he said. The thick Zeeland accent is a challenge to a medium-level Dutch language student like me. Continue reading

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Filed under Holland

DE BIESBOSCH – the Dutch go wild

Spoonbills feeding

Dry land is in short supply in the Netherlands, so there are few places where farmland has been deliberately flooded to create a nature reserve.

De Biesbosch spanning the provinces of North Brabant and South Holland, may be the wildest part of the country, so naturally a route planned by Greenpeace passes through it. We Pieperpad cyclists were very grateful. Continue reading


Filed under Birds, Cycle touring, Holland

RAIN – potatoes happy, cyclists not

You have to laugh, though sometimes we forget to.

This is Holland, where water is always around us, often under our feet and regularly falling on us from above.

We have been undertaking some wet weather product research so you lucky readers don’t have to do it yourselves… Continue reading


Filed under Cycle touring, Holland