This post has been in the works for a while. About a month ago, JP and I decided to test our biking stamina, enjoy some of the South Holland countryside and explore the Biesbosch - one of the largest national parks of the Netherlands.
Bright and early one Monday morning, we packed our back packs with water and plenty of snacks and set out on an all day adventure. Leaving the city limits of Dordrecht, the atmosphere transforms from dense housing and old brick buildings to vast, green farmland complete with barns, expansive farm homes and no shortage of baby animals. I imagine this part of the Netherlands is easy to overlook because it's not really accessible by major high ways and public transport. You really need to look small. We didn't have a concrete route - so JP took on the challenge of navigating.
Some highlights before hitting the Biesbosch included: several WWII relics and bunkers (this was extra exciting as we were in the middle of a Band of Brothers binge); Google Maps sending us down a private road and encountering a very aggressive German Shepard guard dog; and a few very sleepy little towns. Unfortunately, with such a long journey to travel, I was not able to capture those images.
The Biesboch is home to a very expansive stretch of tidal wetlands that includes countless shady trees and reeds, networks of rivers and islands and lots of wild life. Part of the Biesbosch boarders Dordrecht, but we only used that boarder as an exit and instead came in from the south. Once we entered the national park, we found a very secluded (and dilapidated) picnic table under a bunch of weeping willows. We camped out for about an hour to eat lunch and read a bit in the shade - picturesque.
On the stretch back home, we stopped in the town of Hardinxveld-Giessendam for a beer. With the fatigue of riding so many kilometers in the sun, I'd say it's the best beer I've ever had. In total our journey was 92 kilometers or about 57 miles.
I'd be lying to say I'm not proud of our journey and I'm really grateful for the opportunity to see the countryside from the biking perspective. However, next time we visit the Biesbosch (and you're here visiting) I'll suggest our usual 25 minute ride to Stay Okay Hostel for a frosty beer and some ice cream - a great way to experience the wetlands without worrying about your ability to walk the following day.