Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A day trip to Kinderdijk and Dordrecht

I went on a lovely bicycle trip today from Leiden through Rotterdam to the waterbus to Alblasserdam with a quick trip to Kinderdijk and then down to Dordrecht. Very pretty.

I've been soooooo lucky with the weather this week.

I might even going to try camping outside tomorrow...

But about today!

It was foggy when I started out around 915am.
The first bike path obstacle was not a duck, it was a drawn drawbridge.

Luckily, the thing has a sensible timer, so unlike a duck I didn't have to scare it out of my way.

The next and only issue that seemed to be a challenge was Zoetermeer.

Oh, Zoetermeer.

The signs to get around and out of Zoetermeer were twisted out of proper orientation and then, non-existent. I think I went in circles.  The maps I had with me suggested a very simple straight route but I couldn't find it! Finally, a nice flower delivery man gave me directions and offered me some coffee. I began to suspect there was a conspiracy to keep people forever inside Zoetermeer. I thanked him and took off in the semi-correct direction. I had to change course a few more times but eventually I found my way out. It was a strange experience because in most other cities, I've had no problem at all with the signs that I was using. I've had problems with the knooppunt system before, but never with the "red and white" sign system (I don't even know what it is called, it just is.)

Out of Zoetermeer, it was far more simple to get to Rotterdam. The route did not feature many cute animals so my speed was faster than usual. I stopped for lunch and then went to Erasmusbrug to catch the waterbus. I took a picture of my bicycle on the boat... parked in a bike rack... on the boat.
Yes, they have bike racks on boats in the Netherlands.

I exited at Alblasserdam and rode along the river to Kinderdijk. It was pretty! The sun was out. I had eaten. I was so happy.

I back tracked a little bit down to Papendrecht and then to Dordrecht. I followed the wonderful red and white signs without a problem... but instead of taking the "brug" option, I chose "veer." Stupidly, I thought it might be a tunnel. Or course, it was not. Duh, it was a ferry. And I'd seen the word before many times in the day so I have no excuse for not knowing what it was except maybe I was tired... but on a positive note, it was a ferry!

I put my bicycle on the boat again and as a special bonus, I had a great view of the Noah's ark being built near Dordrecht.

Hello Ms. Giraffe.


  1. Ah beautiful! Going to the windmills of Kinderdijk is a trip I have on my wish list too. I would have to take a rental bike and from your story I understand that would be best from Rotterdam?
    Oh and you made two tiny typos in the name Kinderdijk, it is correct in the first sentence, not in the title and elsewhere in the text. Mark

  2. Heh, Thanks Mark! :) It's nice to go by the waterbus from Rotterdam... you could take the train to Rotterdam, rent a bicycle there and go for the day with a roundtrip waterbus ticket.

  3. Zoetermeer is admirably designed to keep speeds low and make sure traffic doesn't race from one side of town to another through residential neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, this seems to apply to cyclists as well. Normally in a Dutch town you'll see a route for cyclists to avoid all the traffic-calming madness (cf. the route straight through Merenwijk) but Zoetermeer was built on 1970s ideas. Go figure.

    Also, the confusion you encountered with the node systems stems from the regional nature of the node network - or I should say "networks". Each network is locally planned and funded, and they don't always make sure that identically numbered nodes are placed far away from each other.
    This (incomplete) list should give you an idea.

  4. I swear I posted a comment here. I guess it got eaten, like my previous comment on the station bike culling in Leiden.

  5. Just found it... sorry! Spam filter gone awry!