I have just arrived from a 5 day biking trip in the Netherlands. It was, in fact, an unplanned trip. Originally, the plan was to start walking everyday for at least a month from France to Spain for the Camino de Santiago – a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain. I did it a few years ago. This time, I am going to do it with a new travelling partner – Giraud, a Belgian guy I met last June in Paris.
But Giraud got sick and we had to postpone the trip for a couple of weeks. At the very last minute we decided to cycle a part of the Netherlands. The original last minute plan was to cycle from Breda, a Dutch city close to the border of Belgium, then to Utrecht, then to Amsterdam, to Den Helder, to the Hague and then back again to Breda.
But our plans changed again when we started to actually bike. We simplified our trip to spend more time in the cities and to hang out with our couchsurfing hosts. So in the end, we did Utrecht – Amsterdam – Haarlem – Amsterdam and back to Utrecht.
The bike routes of the Netherlands are impressive! It seems like every road has a bike path. It is incredible to see the number of people that are in their bikes!
We were hosted by some amazing couchsurfers in Utrecht, Amsterdam and Haarlem. In Utrecht, we were hosted by Coen, in Amsterdam by Michael but we also met with Peter, Cesar, Ad and Gerrit, in Haarlem by Martin, Camilo and Victor. Thanks guys for your amazing hospitality! You made the bike trip more special. 🙂
We even met some of my friends from Canada! It was such a funny and random encounter! I was sitting down in one of the steps facing the street in Amsterdam, tired from our biking trip from Utrecht, when I recognized a couple of familiar faces walking on busy the street. It was Pedro, a friend who I met in Toronto about 4-5 years ago! After he went back to Mexico, I never met him again although, we kept in contact through Facebook. I knew he was in the Netherlands to study but I also knew that he went back to visit his family in Mexico and I didn’t know that he was back in the Netherlands! And also, this trip was so unplanned and unexpected that I didn’t have the chance to think of who I know in the Netherlands.
With him was Ida, who I also met through Pedro in Toronto. Ida just came to Amsterdam to visit him. And they were on their way to meet with Renske, who I also met in Toronto!
What a beautiful random and unexpected reunion!
Tomorrow, Giraud and I will be hitchhiking to the Pyrenees in the south of France, where we will start walking for one month to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. We are not ready yet but we will wake up early tomorrow to prepare!
We will keep you updated with stories and updates from the Camino! 🙂 Giraud will also be writing posts in French. So watch out for his stories too! 🙂