Posts Tagged With: Dogs

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

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Day 8 – Malinska,Croatia to Trieste, Italy

119 km – 1,430 climbing and 1452 down

I woke up feeling a bit jaded after the last long day yesterday, plus the 3 days of riding already this section. I am really looking forward to a rest day tomorrow, especially as we will be in Italy.

For breakfast I had black tea and toast. Well sort of toast, really warm bread, as even after being put through the toaster three times it still was not what I would have called toasted, but by that time there were people waiting … so I didn’t feel I could put it though again.

To start off the day of course a climb, and then some a reasonable downhill followed by a big uphill, but with a reasonable gradient. At about 30 km, after 10 km climbing, we came to a turn where to the left was to go down and to the right we would have kept going up. We went left to go down through the city of Rijeka.

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Port of Bakar

After going through Rijeka at 38 km, to lunch at 71 km, it was all up. Mostly a reasonable gradient, but it was steep from 66 km. At 50 km I realised that I had lost one of my water bottles and I only had half a bottle of water left! I was hoping there would be another shop, as half a bottle of water wasn’t going to last the 20 km to lunch.

At 55 km there was a pub so we called in there and bought water. Two other riders were there, Greg and Maureen. Greg’s wife Janice is on the trip as well but they don’t ride together as she is faster than him, so he rides with another rider Maureen. I told them about my water bottle and Gregg asked was it a blue camel back bottle, which it was. Turned out it had come off my bike on a bit of bumpy road and a passing motorist had picked it up, and recognised that Gregg had the same trip placard on his bike and given it to him. Thank you kind Croatian motorist 😀 I was so relieved to have my second water bottle back, and the nice man at the pub filled them both up for me.

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Time for a beer in Slovenia 🇸🇮 before entering Italy. (Kaye just had sparkling water)

Then back out in the heat to ride onwards and upwards. This seemed endless. At 67 km and 69 km I had to get off my bike, I was done! Gregg said that the climb finished at 80 km, I was not sure I had another 10 km of climbing in me!

At 71km I got to the lunch truck. Thankfully the Slovenian border did not require all the cyclists to go across in a group, otherwise I would have had some very annoyed fellow cyclists waiting for me, as I was the second to last to lunch. Brett came in after me as he had stopped just around the corner at the money changer. Caitlin (TDA) and the other 4 riders at lunch didn’t believe me when they asked where Brett was and I replied “I dropped him on the hills, as he couldn’t keep up with me”.

After lunch we crossed the Slovenian  🇸🇮 border. We were in Slovenia for 30 km, then headed into Italy.

After the border crossing there was quite a steep upwards gradient. At 75 km I was thinking “I am not going to be able to cycle another 5 km uphill” – at least 3 of the other riders had gone in the truck. At 76 km I was close to tears, riding at an average speed of 6.5 km an hour, which would be almost another hour of this. I gritted my teeth and carried on, one pedal stroke at a time.

Then at 76.5 km there was a down hill, I was thinking “hopefully it will last at least a km
– well it was pretty much downhill the rest of the day to Trieste 👍👍👍

There was uphill, but generally you had a good speed and could get up most of the hill for free, and nothing involved granny gear (the smallest gear) for more than 2-3 minutes at a time.

At 103.5km we crossed the border into Italy 😀  🇮🇹

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At the Italian border – 3 countries in one day on our bikes.

Grego (TDA tour leader) had recommended that we turn at 112.1 km and do a 10 km detour to see the Lipica horse Museum. The Lipica horses are white when they are adults, but when they are born until they are two they are black. Given that we were already estimating 5pm to get to the hotel we decided not to make the 10 km detour, however if we had known that from 112.1 km it was a continuous downhill we would have made the detour.

We arrived tired and hot at 5pm as predicted, at the Urban Hotel. Thankfully it was Saturday so we did not have to contend with rush hour traffic coming into Trieste.

The room is comfortable, but no view unless you count a concrete wall, but I am just happy to be here.

After a shower the first task, as always, is checking out the laundry situation. There is a laundromat, or Lavanderia as called in Italy, around the corner but they don’t do it for you. We checked they are open on Sunday, so will leave it until tomorrow.

We went for a walk, first of all we went to Italy’s largest sea facing Plaza called a Piazza del Unita d’Italia, where they were having an outdoor concert. We decided to have a cold beer at a bar on the corner of the plaza. It wasn’t until we were sitting down that we noticed the bar was blocking the lovely concert with its own music. We stayed there and had the beer, which came in a huge glass, as there wasn’t anywhere else to sit in the square. As it was very hot afterwards we went for a walk along the sea front. So many boats/yachts, and 2 super boats worth a few million each.

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Reward for a hard earned thirst 🍺

We went into a place called “Eataly” which is like the Mediterranean Food Warehouse in Newtown but 6 times the size.

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At Eataly

So far the whole trip I have seen no stray dogs, and only a few dogs with their owners in the places we have passed through, but in Italy there are dogs everywhere. Still no stray dogs but every second person here appears to have a dog of some shape or size. They are allowed in the food court and restaurants, everywhere you look they are snoozing under tables. or as in the Eataly walking with their owners, nose on full twitch.

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A dog inside Eataly (Editor’s note: A greyhound!!! Woohoo! Look at its little white socks)

They seem welcome everywhere, apart from one restaurant where there was a sign “no dogs”! Guess what the outcome was? Unlike every other place that was full, there were only two diners in this restaurant!

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No dogs = no diners! 

We decided to have dinner there, it was pretty good. Wine was a white Bastianich Friulano. This came in a wine bucket with slushy ice pellets which is much better at keeping the wine chilled than ice cubes.

To eat we had Orecchiette con pesto and gambeni, and Tagliolini con scampi alla.

After the big glass of beer I needed to use the restroom. I locked the door and then it wouldn’t open again. I tried it every setting numerous. times but it wouldn’t open! Unbelievable! So then I resorted to kicking the door and shouting help! Someone must have heard me as an attendant came and unlocked the door and let me out. She asked me if I had tried unlocking the door. There were many responses to this, and I chose putting up my hand and walking past her to the sink, where I couldn’t make the water work. Luckily the tap in wheelchair toilet worked.

Then back to the hotel to bed, with the luxury of a sleep in and no riding tomorrow.

Introducing some of the TDA riders

Scott and wife Janice from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. It is both their first TDA ride. President of big fishing company .
Janice and Scott now work with indigenous people restocking Salmon reserves. They have no pets and no children.

Yvonne and husband Scott from Alaska, this is their USA 3rd TDA ride
Yvonne is a retired epidemiologist and Scott is a retired Economist. They have 2 daughters and their eldest daughter has done 3 TDA rides.
Yvonne is Chinese and is struggling with the food on the trip as she does not eat bread, milk, cheese, cereal, or processed meat – which has been pretty much the food so far. So today in Trieste she will be able to eat food she likes.

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Waterfront outside Hotel Jadran, Sibernik

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