I wanted to get away at a reasonable time this morning, but there was no need to go setting records, so I had a leisurely decamp and got going at about half 7.
I sat and watched the second half of the Belgium vs Brazil game at the campsite owner's insistence last night. I was so tired I nodded off a couple of times, but was thankful it didn't go to extra time as I would have had to make my excuses and head for bed!
Anyway, off I went under sunny skies once more, following the gps track Helen had knocked up for me a couple of days ago.
It started off fairly rural - or as rural as the Netherlands gets, but fairly soon I was in built up areas. Not in a bad way - there were some very clever ways to keep things pleasant in a very densely populated part of the world. To my left were nice houses with attractive water features and grassy areas. To my right was a massive motorway! However - there was a 5 metre high barrier that all but blocked out all of the noise, so you'd never know the road was there. Apart from the massive fence of course!
I did occasionally go through smaller towns away from the main roads - or rather main cycle paths - which broke things up nicely and enabled me to stop a couple of times for food and water etc.
I spent a lot of time reflecting on the last month. So much so that I was on autopilot for much of the time, alone with my thoughts. All positive thoughts I should add! I was just enjoying the ride and the miles slid by.
When I got to Rotterdam, things got interesting! What a crazy place! The transportation system just works. How, I don't know, but it does!
The cycle paths and roads criss cross each other all over the place. Then throw in the trams and you have one giant spaghetti junction of cars, bikes, mopeds and trams all wanting the same bit of infrastructure space. I concluded that the only reason it works is that all parties generally obey the rules. If a cycle path crosses the road, the cars or cyclists give way when they should. When the tram bells ring, everyone waits - nobody wants to get hit by a tram after all! It was actually good fun mixing it up in the organised chaos, but I was happy to get out of it all on the quieter paths to Masluis.
I bimbled along the path for a bit before getting to the turning for the route along the waterweg to the ferry port. Now, I've done this before and both times were into a brutal headwind, but at last - this time, the wind was light. Bear in mind I've been battling constant headwinds for about the last thousand miles!
I had a very nice ride in and arrived at the terminal only to find it pretty much dead. There used to be a nice bar at the train station where I figured I could get a cold drink and maybe an ice cream - perhaps even some WiFi. But the station is no more and neither is the bar!
So after the best part of 70 miles, I just plonked myself on the grass and hit up the itv app to watch the closing kilometres of the first stage of Le Tour. Looked a bit chaotic, but I didn't hang around as there were more pressing matters at hand - a football match! And it was starting soon!
I headed up the road a bit and found a nice bar to watch the footy. No telly, so it was phone again - which is fine as I'm used to it by now, plus Dutch commentary does my head in!
I bought a few bits off their menu to keep them happy and sat in the sun watching the game. I enjoyed it very much and kept a bored young waiter up to date in what was happening.
After that it was time to get in the queue to check in. Bit of a wait which I spent chatting to a couple of Brits on motorbikes who were on their way back from a pretty mental tour way out east to the stans.
So now I'm on the boat and settling in for a couple of hours relaxation on the sun deck before heading back to the cabin for a good night's sleep.