Monday, July 30, 2007

Our second day in Nijmegen

On July 10th we ate breakfast in our hotel (expensive but good) and caught the #80 bus to meet Annet Hahn (Robert's second cousin) and Sjan at her brother, Leon's house. We found it easily, and went in and had tea and delicious apple tort. The Dutch are very hospitable, and offer you tea and cake at every opportunity.

I tried to get on the bike they had kindly rented for me, while Robert and Matthew practised on their tandem bike they had also rented. Alas, the bike was so HIGH I couldn't get on it easily, and double alas, I couldn't reach the pedals easily so felt very uncomfortable. I also felt like a complete idiot! Sjan thought I could ride on the back of his bike, but I declined. That would have been worse!

I wanted to ride my own low bike, so asked if Annet could take it back and get a kid size bike and she kindly did. Annet is very nice and so is her hubby. The bike she got was much better because it had brakes on the handles instead of using the pedals. We set off through the city streets on bike paths beside the roads, and I ignored the traffic. I was actually quite terrified as back home I don't ride my bike much, and keep to quiet back streets!!

We circled up behind our hotel where we'd caught the bus! We then went past the square where the outdoor market had been yesterday and down a horribly steep hill and into the country and finally reached the lovely dike and by then my poor bum was aching.

We rode for a while (45 minutes?) and stopped for a picnic lunch which Annet had put together before we left. I had a delicious bun with goat cheese and green chives. We sat on a stone ledge overlooking a meadow of wild flowers and in the distance was the Rhine River! Germany is only 20 km away. We could see it in the distance.

We got back on our bikes and rode for a while. I lost track of time. We stopped at a litte restaurant and had tea and coffee. Matthew had hot chocolate. We sat outside facing a 100 year old brick barn with attached house and a thatched roof. Then within 10 minutes a gale whipped up and it began to rain so we went inside and rested and then Annet decided we should go. It kept raining so she pulled out 2 red ponchos from her saddlebag for Robert and Matthew. I was wearing Matthew's old wind breaker. It isn't water proof but it was warm.

Fortunately it didn't rain long. We took a short cut along a cobblestone path and saw wild horses standing a few inches away by the path. I was worried they might stampede across in front of me, but they calmly watched us and didn't twitch. They were grey and so cute.

Back in town I could hardly pedal. I got short winded and thought I'd be left behind. I was sweating like a hog and wondered if I'd live to tell the tale. We stopped at Annet's house to see it. (they are having the floors replaced) It was raining again.

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