It took almost 3 travel days to get from Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka to the start of our next adventure in Gouda, Netherlands. We started out by transferring to and overnighting in Colombo. Next, we then flew to Qatar and then London for another overnight. The next morning, we trained across town to exchange our kites for bikes, then cycled to the train station, hopped onto the Eurostar to Brussels, transferred to Rotterdam, and finally transferred to Gouda.
The original plan was to spend 3 days cycling through the Netherlands, but we arrived to a dismal forecast of dark overcast clouds and pouring rain. It was a blessing in disguise.. we were exhausted from all of the travel and Jen had brought home a stomach bug from Sri Lanka.
Our AirBnb room was relaxing and our hosts were very lovely, so we spent some time chatting with them, watched movies, and recharged our batteries for the trip ahead. Whenever the downpour took a short break, we'd dash outside to explore and eat at the delicious restaurants. Gouda is one of the nicest towns that we've stayed in, with its cute little market, shops, squares, and buildings.
Our first stop was obviously at a Gouda cheese store where we sampled Gouda cheese with all kinds of interesting flavours and colours including Basil, Red Pesto, Fennel, Truffle, and Carrot... just to name a few. We also learned that we've all been pronouncing Gouda incorrectly our whole lives.. apparently their "G"s sound more like throaty "H"s, so when Dutch people say Gouda, it actually sound more like a throaty "how-da"!
On Satuday, as we explored the town, we found ourselves at the Saturday Market where they were showing off... cows? We have no idea what the cows were there for, but it was interesting seeing them just chill out in a tent in the middle of the square :)
Jen was SOO excited to finally have Dutch pancakes in Holland - apparently it was on her bucket list! :)
The verdict? Well, apparently they were just as good as her favourite Dutch pancake restaurant (Pfanntastic Pannenkoek Haus) in Calgary. Hahaha!
On Sunday, we finally awoke to sun and blue sky, so we decided to do 45 km bike ride to Kinderdjik to see the original Dutch windmills. Kinderdijk sits below sea level, so the windmills were historically used as part of a water management system to prevent flooding and keep the region dry.
The area was scenic and peaceful, so we stopped here for a picnic of gouda, bread, gouda, fruits, wine, and more gouda.
On Monday, we made our way to Dusseldorf - the last stop before our cross-country bike trip. Since we were finishing up some work, we didn't have time to do much in Dusseldorf other than a quick wander through town to try out the local cuisine.