Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Vuelta sweet Vuelta... (Parto Uno)

Wednesday. (In a nutshell)

645 AM.

Ahh. It's early. I'm scared. So far to ride. Ahh.

An hour later.

Hey! I'm on my bike! How nice is this! Going to Holland of all places!

12 hours and about 240k later.

I'm in Utrecht! So cool! Life's good.

Wednesday. (In a bigger nutshell)

After getting out of Gent the ride was pretty smooth. I did my old "city to city" shenanigans and before I knew it...voila! I'm in a bike tunnel in Antwerp!

No seriously. Once at the river in Antwerp I checked the map of bike routes. The direction I wanted to go was across the river, but there was no bridge! Hmm...

There was, however, a building on the "path". I rode around it to no avail.

I sat reflecting on what the building on my bike path symbolized...


Then, I saw people riding into it. Get out of town!

I took the bike elevator down and wallah! I'm in a bike tunnel!

I rode around Antwerp a bit.

Cool building.

Nice bike path (fietspad)!

I noticed these guys chilling by the river

Okay, no food for four hours makes (no I won't use third person) me a dull boy.

Yummy. These Belgians are really into their sauces. Here I chose a ketchup (or catsup depending on the region of Belgium), andaluus (the oranger one), and spicy. Those were 3 out of like 12.

3-4 hours later.

I wish I remembered what city I ate these in because it was nice.

Got lost for a while, sort of, but then end up on a ferry.

Canals criss-cross the country so some places it's more efficient and cost-effective to have ferries, I assume.

By this point it's getting late in the day and the troops are rioting. I enlist a cyclist on the ferry to help me find my way.

There are numbered bike routes across all of the Netherlands. He happened to have a map of them so I wrote down the numbers I needed.

Three numbers later I checked a map to find they had changed them. I rode around for a while longer in the countryside. A sweet Dutch girl stopped, after I waved, and helped me find my way. Then, I rode up on some cyclists who took me to the bridge I needed to cross. At this point the original guy who helped me on the ferry caught me. He was on a hybrid! He took me all the way to the fietspad to Utrecht. Nice guy. I got his email and cranked on.

Finally, I made it to the bottom of Utrecht. I had told my host, Karlijn (who I met on couchsurfing.org), I would be there at 6 and it was already 7. I was tired, hungry, and thirsty.

I stopped for a bottle of water and continued on. After asking directions a few times I finally made it the area of the city where Karlijn lives on the Utrecht University campus.

I asked directions one last time and found out I was a block away. Life is good.

When I tried to call Karlijn to tell her I was there my phone was out of credits. Perfect. I borrowed a phone from a passerby. I guess I looked like I was in pretty bad shape.

Karlijn's building.

She made me an amazing dinner and I fell fast asleep.

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