Posts Tagged With: Culture

Day 27: Wesel, Germany to Arnhem, Netherlands

89 km and basically flat.

Had to put on riding shoes that were still damp, but everything else is dry and hopefully will stay that way. The forecast has 4% chance of rain 👍.

Today riding was mostly on levees on bike paths. We went through a town called Rees where there were concrete statues of town people so had to stop and take a photo.

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Rees township

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Riverside path in Rees

Then back on the bike paths. Some bike paths are shared with walkers and some are just for bikes. This changes frequently and occasionally you are not sure which is the correct path for bikes. So a couple of times we accidentally went on the wrong path, and within a minute or two a German striding along – often with walking sticks – would politely or extremely rudely wave sticks around to direct us to the correct path.

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Countryside after Rees

There were lots of people walking dogs, and they were frequently off the the lead but when there were riders approaching they were all called to heel and sit, waiting for them to go past. Well almost all of them, a couple were joyfully ignoring any commands from their owners.

There are lots of dogs here, they are allowed on trains, buses, in restaurants and hotels.

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Bike paths, good riding, with climbing today of only 48 metres!

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Loaded coal ship passing Emmerich am Rhein

We crossed the border into the Netherlands at 49 km. The rest of the day was pretty much the same, riding on levees lots of other cyclists, walkers and dogs. Lots of canals appearing, and the pasture was very green.

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Border crossing

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Crossing the border from Germany into the Netherlands

There were quite a lot of sheep grazing along the river banks. Different from our sheep in NZ, there was one that had black spots, and quite a few black sheep.

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Black and white sheep

We got to the Hotel at 2pm, and quickly got changed and went by taxi with John W and John H to Kroller Muller museum and Sculptor park, 40 km away. When the taxi arrived I thought “this cant be for us” as it was a gleaming new Mercedes S something series, with sunroofs and leather seats. The driver (also called John) was immaculately dressed – this is nothing like the Wellington cabs. John agreed to also pick us back up at 430pm so we would be back at the hotel in time for the riders meeting.

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Driver John

The Kroller Muller museum has the second largest collection of Van Gogh in the world – 90 paintings and 180 drawings. Plus works by Monet and Picasso and many other artists. There are 25 hectares of sculpture gardens, plus a surrounding 5,500 hectares of forests, grasslands, and sand drifts. These are home to deer, mouflon (wild sheep) and wild boar. There are over a 1,000 white bikes at various places around the park that you can use for free to ride around the park. We could have spent all day here but we only had 2 hours.

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Vincent Van Gogh – Terrace of a cafe at night

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Vincent Van Gogh – Self portrait

The Kroller Muller museum represents the life work of Helen Kroller Muller. Between 1907 and 1922 she and her husband Anton bought 11,500 works of art. One of the largest private collections of the 20th century.  Helen’s dream was to have her own museum where she could share her passion with other art lovers. This dream was fulfilled in 1938 when the Kroller Muller museum opened.

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Claude Monet – Monet’s Studio Boat

I had a great time looking around but I felt like I only skimmed the surface.

John the taxi driver picked us up on the dot of 430pm, and drove us through the park grounds on the way back.

We got back to the hotel just in time for the riders meeting and dinner. I had dinner with Brett, John W, Graham, and Henry Gold. I had bell pepper soup which was rich and tasty, steak and salad with fries, cream brûlée, and red wine.

Tomorrow is the last day of riding!

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Tolkamer, The Netherlands

Categories: The Odyssey | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 39/164: Mendze to Marianita

The plan is to ride about 100 kilometres, and Cristano will scout out a camp, as doing the rest of yesterday and today’s ride is too much. Especially as we still have a number of riders suffering from gastro.

I slept quite well on the stage, but with unknown riding and climbing I decided to go in the lunch truck to lunch and ride from there. We had two climbs before lunch and one after. The one after was not that steep but it went on for about 25 kilometres! My legs were tired from the day before so I decided to start from lunch. 54 kilometres with a 25 kilometres hill would be plenty for me today. I was on my bike for 4 hours.

The first bit of the ride was a 15 kilometres downhill with great scenery. Then the climb. Well, it certainly went on and on and it was hot – it got up to 36 degrees! The summit had 2 false tops but finally I got to the top and coasted down to the campsite.

We are staying at a place called Marianita. We are camped on a large netball court, with a large roof overhead. One of the locals has set up an impromptu shop with beer, homemade lemonade and food.

No cellphone service again and no wifi. I got to camp at 2pm so had time to catch up on washing and get it dry. We had chicken and rice for dinner and vegetable stir fry.

The locals put on an impromptu show for us of their local dances. We gave a koha (donation) in appreciation.

Categories: Ecuador, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 25/164: Rest Day Two in Agustín

It was nice sleeping in a bed and waking up, and being able to have a warm shower. I had better make the most of today as there are six days riding before the next rest day, with four days riding until we cross the border into Ecuador.

Today a group of us had organized to go to St Agustin archaeological park. The park opened in 1936 and is constantly being improved. It is based on the site where statues from previous inhabitants of this land have been found.  There is no known name for these people so they are referred to as the early culture of San Agustin. There are two schools of thought:
1. That it was one people who evolved over a few thousand years to following different practices and customs (such as how they bury their dead)
2. That there were 3 separate groups of people during this time (approximately 3,500 BC to 100 AD).

At some stage they have organized an elaborate irrigation system for the hillside to grow crops.

The earliest inhabitants had the practice of burying their dead under the floor in the middle of their houses. Further on the rich, or high standing, had tombs with statues depicting various significant animals and things such as water and people guarding them. There was one bit of hillside that over 700 years they flattened – bit different to now where it is a project we undertake over a long weekend. The earliest evidence uncovered at this stage dates back to 3,500 BC.

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Statues at the cultural village in St Agustin

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Cultural village in St Agustin

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San Agustin archaeological park

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Statues at the cultural village in St Agustin

The walk around the park took about 3 hours, and we stopped at a cafe where one of the riders – Erwin – asked for a drink of cane sugar, and we got to see how they feed it through a flattening machine about 4 to 5 times, and it produces enough for a glass. It is a greeny colour and tastes really sweet, but is meant to be very good for rehydration.

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Sugar cane and machine that grinds them into sugar cane juice

Editor's Caption: And now for a photo where you can actually see the machine (Photo credit: Of course, Sue's blog)

Editor’s Caption: And now for a photo where you can actually see the machine (Photo credit: Of course, Sue’s blog)

The cane sugar drink is in the plastic cup next to Erwin

The cane sugar drink is in the plastic cup next to Erwin

We caught a bus back down to the town and four of us stopped at a restaurant for lunch. We got the special of the day, which was a really nice meat based soup with beans and carrots in it, plus I think spinach as was quite dark for cabbage. Also a main of chicken which is sliced so thinly they must have a special machine to do it (as this is common way of presenting cooked chicken here), rice, and my favourite – fried plantain (not), some type of peas, and chunks of potato with avocado (which sounds pretty strange but was actually very nice).

Erwin and Sue at lunch

Erwin and Sue at lunch

Couple who own the restaurant we went to for lunch

The couple who own the restaurant we went to for lunch (Editor’s note: classic Kaye photo)

Then I went off into the town to get a haircut. I was pretty nervous about this but I can’t go 6 months without a cut. And having done it, I don’t have to worry about it again for a few months. It turned out ok, and was the grand sum of 6,000 pesos (approximately $3 NZD). The last time my hair was cut for 3 dollars I was probably about 2.

On the way back to the hotel I stopped to try something I had seen for sale in the village. Not sure what you would call it. The lady making it was slapping it round and round on a stick, it looked like it had golden syrup or molasses in it. You got a small pottle of it, after it had been dipped in brown or raw sugar. I’m still not sure what it was, it was thick and sticky and sweet. I am not a convert, but the locals were lining up for it.

The lady making toffee like stuff

The lady making the toffee like stuff

Then I went back to the hotel to check on the instructions for tomorrow, and to sort my bike and bags.

A group of us went to a restaurant in town, and ordered the special of the day again, which this time was a thick soup, and chicken, rice and beans. After that I went to the supermarket to get more water.

I got back to the hotel and tried to get onto the wifi – it was ok to send an email but not any photos.

Tomorrow is a 161 kilometre ride, with 2,250 climb, so lunch truck to lunch for me 😀

By a statue in the cultural park (not long before the $3 haircut)

By a statue in the cultural park (not long before the $3 haircut)

View of country side San Augustine

View of country side San Agustin

Coffee place in San Augustin - riders Peter from NZ and Anna Greta from Denmark

Coffee place in San Agustin – riders Peter from NZ and Annegrete from Denmark

Same coffee shop in San Augustin ( Asha from USA and PHil NZ)

Same coffee shop in San Agustin (Asha from USA and Phil from NZ)

Type of bus that the locals catch around the country

Type of bus that the locals catch around the country

Side view Of the type of bus locals ride in around the countr

Side view of the type of bus locals ride in around the country

View of back street in San Augustin

View of back street in San Augustin

Street in San Augustine

Street in San Augustine

Modes of transport range from horse and cart to trucks

Modes of transport range from horse and cart to trucks

Coffee beans on a plant in Columbia

Coffee beans on a plant in Columbia

It's a dog's life (Photo and caption credit: Sue's blog)

It’s a dog’s life (Photo and caption credit: Sue’s blog)

Categories: Columbia, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments