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Our Holland Vacation
1999

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We recently returned from a wonderful trip abroad where we went on a bicycle tour in Holland and wanted to share some of our reminiscences and visual impressions of this lovely country.

We were searching the internet for travel information to Holland during tulip time.  After perusing several barge tour sites, we noticed a link to Van Gogh Bicycling Tours, owned and operated by Hubertha van Teunenbroek and Mike Sorgi.

After visiting their website and being the adventurous sort, we decided to try the "Country of Tulips Tour" that winds through scenic western Holland. It sounded like a nice trip.
 

Prior to the start of the tour, we spent some time in Amsterdam, which we found to be a fascinating and picturesque city, full of surprises. There is a little bit of everything to see in Amsterdam; orange haired punk rockers standing at a bus stop next to quaintly dressed old ladies, prostitutes showing off their 'wares' next to an old church.

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The "coffee" shops sold more than just coffee as you could see by the "far away look" in people's eyes as they exited. But the city itself was beautiful, with quaint buildings standing side-by-side along the canals. The people were friendly and the city was in interesting mixture of old and new.

 

 



 


The Tour Starts

vangogh-team.jpg (33348 bytes)The tour began in Leiden where we met Mike and Hubertha at the train station on Sunday at noon. As we stood at the designated meeting place, we noticed other travelers standing in the general vicinity and asked if they were on the Van Gogh tour, too. We were excited to learn that yes, they also signed up for the same vacation! Some found Van Gogh on the internet like we did, others by word of mouth from their friend's own cycling experiences with this great tour outfit.

 

 

 

 

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We felt immediately at ease when we first met Mike and Hubertha. From the beginning, they were both informative, helpful and fun to be around. We were particularly impressed with their wealth of knowledge and their enthusiasm in sharing their cycling experiences as well as the history, culture and beauty the Netherlands with us. They paid attention to every detail, making this one of the most relaxed and carefree vacations we have experienced.

 

 

 

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This tour included a full time support van to transport all your luggage (or tired bicyclists) and to provide maintenance on the bikes. The touring bicycles that were provided  were efficient and comfortable.

 

 

 

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We visited Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, which we both found breathtaking, where thousands of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths were in full bloom in an idyllic 80 acre setting.

Over 100 flower and bulb companies display their flowers here and they are planted in such a way as to provide continuous color throughout the blooming season.

 

 

 

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Imagine, millions of bulbs are planted here and the results are spectacular! This easily was the most beautiful display of flowers we had ever seen.

 

 

 

 

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We stayed in comfortable family run hotels and took day trips to a variety of interesting and scenic locations.

 

 

 

 

 

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We had many interesting meals, including this stop at "De Pannekoekenhut' (pancake house), where you could have just about anything served over your pancakes. I went with apple-cinnamon, one of my all time favorites. Here we are outside the pancake house, after chowing down!

 

 

 

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Here's a few of our group sporting the Van Gogh t-shirts! 

 

 

 

 

 

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We loved cycling along old canals experiencing gorgeous tulip and bulb fields in full bloom...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...and the ever-present restored windmills.

 

 

 

 

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Here is a  field of blooming purple hyacinths. As we cycled past, the perfumy scent was overwhelming!

 

 

 

 

 


   Courtesy of Janny Loomans

One of our stops was lovely old city of Delft where we stayed at the Delft Museum Hotel.

 

 

 

 

Delft is renowned all over the world as the city of Delft blue earthenware. This is based on an age-old history. In the 17th century, the 'Golden Age', dozens of small potteries arose in Delft in buildings which formerly accommodated breweries.

 

 

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Delft was one of the home ports of the Dutch East India Company. When the Delft potters became acquainted with the imported Chinese porcelain, they began manufacturing Delftware with designs based on these patterns, which is nowadays still made by hand.

 

 

 

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      The Voldersgracht - Delft

 

 

                  

 

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We cycled through the sand dunes along the North Sea near Katwijk and pedaled through some lovely residential areas near The Hague (Den Haag)
(Photo provided courtesy of Astrid & Ruud Hasper)

 

<= World Court Building in the Hague

 

 

 

Our trip concluded near Leiden at the Avifauna Hotel which has a large bird sanctuary at the rear of the hotel!

Bill especially looked forward to the end of each day's ride to explore the local pubs and cafes, sampling some of the best beers of Holland and Belgium. He shared some of his favorite brews below:

Click on thumbnail to view full images

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Please visit Bill's other Beer related webpages at Bill's Favorite Beer Links Page and Bill's Beer Label Gallery Page

All in all we had a wonderful time. We enjoyed sharing this tour with 10 other adventurous cyclists in our group. It made for a very pleasant cycling experience. Again, a special thank you to Van Gogh for providing a wonderful bicycling experience. We definitely intend to "Go with Van Gogh" again! 

 vangoghlogo2.jpg (8167 bytes) Van Gogh Bicycling Tours


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