We are now finished passing The Netherlands and Belgium with our e-bikes! From Oldenburg in Germany to a place called Groningen, which was our first stop in Holland, it took us about 120 km. We arrived tired and hungry as usual, so we decided to stay 2 nights in Groningen at an Airbnb place that had a thousand DVD's, so we pretty much relaxed and watched movies, while munching on chips, hummus, carrots and chocolate. Groningen was THE city for bikers, although almost all places in The Netherlands are perfect for bikers. This city was like Amsterdam, only much more quiet (less tourists) and there were huge bike parking lots with systems that we could only dream of having back in Norway. In this country, the bikers are the rulers. And yes, you can also smoke weed, there are coffee shops in many cities of the Netherlands, contrary to many people's' beliefs that only Amsterdam has the liberty of smoking Marihuana.
We also stopped in a little old town called Harlingen, made a quick visit to Alkmaar; a beautiful and very cool place where we had some vegan soup at a super quaint place called "Soepp". Then slept at Zaandam before visiting Amsterdam for the day, where we enjoyed riding our bikes without all the baggage and ate at one of the plenty of veggie restaurants in the city. BUT before all that heavenly glory we had to go through hell; insect invasion!!! I can't even start describing the horror. I don't have any insect fobia whatsoever, I like most insects, I always try my best not to hurt them, but in this situation it was impossible to even get them out of our eyes and mouth, they were literally everywhere. It was right before arriving Alkmaar, which was an incredible reward for cycling through what it seemed like a terrible nightmare...We could see the huge fumes of flies straight ahead and the only thing we could do is cover our faces as much as possible and bike, bike and beg for it to be over.
After Amsterdam we stayed in Rotterdam, also a cool city. It looks like a big city, but in reality is not big at all, the buildings are big and modern and the whole place is full of innovative young people trying to make a better world. The huge food market hall; Markhal is beautiful with its modern design, but unfortunately for us (and the animals) they did not have many plant based alternatives other than the nuts and dried fruit shops and a peanut butter stand with many different flavors; it was a little peanut butter heaven. Outside of the market there are plenty of organic and vegetarian places to eat.
The days have been getting hotter and sunnier, with sudden days of cold and rain, but we are well equipped so the weather changes don't really affect us. The wind is warmer and not freezing anymore. I got my flower summer dress just in case it gets too hot. Also it's good to have something that doesn't always make me look like a filthy sporty girl. I feel my legs now spinning automatically and with no effort anymore, it's amazing! I can just go and go, the longest we have done has been 160 km one day, when arriving to Tessenderlo in Belgium.
Belgium was a very special place for us, in a weird kind of sense. They certainly like their straight lines over there. Not a slight of chaos at sight, everything was under control. Pumped cows, big villas with gardens like the royal palaces, human designed forests and dear in their gardens. Nothing seemed natural. Everybody biked though and they are experts at it! And because of years and years of doing that same thing, their bicycle routes are marvelous! These people are the kings of the route, the 80 year old men bike faster than us without electric bicycle.
Unfortunately they did not have much vegetarian food to offer and the organic part isn't too developed yet either, but some places did have hummus! Thank you again Hummus! We really try getting fresh food, but it's not too easy; in some places they don't seem
to know how to make salads with only vegetables.
We are now in France, recently arrived to the region of Champagne! Can't wait to check out some of the champagne they have in here; we'll be trying to see if we find the organic and vegan ones! Recently I read an article claiming that most good champagne producers are turning organic and this is really good news. Veuve Cliquot seems to be going more and more organic and plan to be completely organic by 2020, also they do not use any animal ingredients in their champagne, so this may be the perfect place to visit.