Stage 1 of Tour de Holland (Bev and Mark it’s only entries) left the “Down Under” camping ground in bright sunshine on July 6th . . . . to celebrate Bev’s birthday. We embark on our personal Tour de Holland!! Why not ? ? All pumped up after watching the professionals in Utrecht, we set off in hunt for windmills & tulips – and anything else interesting!!
Racing alongside the canals & fietspaden (bike-paths) we pass cows, goats, tractors, beautiful Dutch style houses and an old fire engine taking kids for summer holiday rides! The countryside is so lush and green with many gorgeous bridges and unusually named (to us) villages . .. . BENSCHOP!! Our son Ben should find this amusing?!?!?!
The weather and the race heat up!! After 30km it is time for refuelling . . . . at quaint village café in Lopikerkapel (no idea how to pronounce it!!). The café owner asked us to sign her Guest Register and we proudly left our Aussie Bruce card. Menu .. tosti broodje ham en kaas (toasted ham and cheese sandwich), the best Dutch appeltaart (apple cake) we’ve eaten this trip . . . all washed down with a cold Heineken!! Who would have thought Bev would love a cold beir!?!?! All this for only 14 euro for two of us!
However, no luck on our search for tulips today.
Crossing the finish line at 8pm, after travelling a gruelling 67km, we’re exhausted but pleased to complete the stage with NO crashes in our peloton ! . . . . We proudly don our yellow jerseys and party at the café across the road called “Down Under” !! . . True!!
What a wonderful & memorable Birthday . . . . and to win my first Tour de Holland was the best birthday present!! Thanks for all your encouragement and best wishes from home in Australia . . . . I couldn’t have succeeded without you!.!.!