Kayaking tends to be a logistically-intensive sport, requiring expensive equipment, a vehicle, and a lot of time. Since moving to Europe almost 2 years ago, I've tried not to let being car-less and boat-less stop me from taking part in my all-time favorite activity. It hasn't been easy! There's nothing I miss more than throwing Big Purple on the roof of my car and going for a spontaneous weeknight sunset paddle or exploring a remote stretch of coast.
Last December I made an inventory of all the kayak rental shops in Belgium (excluding whitewater, of which there are quite a few in the south). So far, I've visited two shops that are difficult to reach by public transit and don't offer more than a linear out-and-back trip along a river.
Yesterday we visited an outfitter in Lokeren. I can't say I've found a complete solution yet, but I have finally found a shop just a short train ride away that offers quite a range of paddling routes. And it might just be the most convenient kayak rental ever... exciting, huh? ;) Read on!
Giethoorn is an adorable and quaint town way up north in the Netherlands - almost in Friesland. As you can see in the photo above, it's a dense network of channels, footbridges (180!), and thatch-roofed houses that can often only be reached by boat or on foot. The locals (about 3000 of them) travel over their personal bridges and on punters (boats you push along with a stick, like in Venice). I'd visited this town a few times before (it's a 15 minute bike ride from HJ's parents' house) but never floated along its canals. Until now!
It's been a while since the Water Nerd (and the Naked Kayaker, for that matter) has made an appearance on this blog. But have no fear - a quick analysis of the blog data shows that there's always a huge spike in posting frequency starting in May, continuing through August. Let's hope that's the case again this year - we have some new kayaking destinations coming up soon!
This weekend the Water Nerd and her partner-in-crime, HJ, took a long-weekend trip to the UK (thanks Belgian Catholic holidays!). They visited the Thames Barrier in London (huge moveable flood barrier) and hiked the gorgeous Seven Sisters cliffs of Sussex...
This is a blog about exploring the outdoors (mostly by kayak), traveling, trip planning, and coastal engineering. It currently focuses on kayaking in the Netherlands and Belgium, but previous posts cover Upstate New York, California, and much more. See the Complete List of Blog Posts for a history of the site. Looking for something specific? Search the site here.
In addition to the blog, check out the Water Nerd section, where I write about coastal engineering and hydrology.
Email updates on new blog posts, about once per month.
Click the "Read More" link at the bottom of each summary for more photos, to see an interactive map of the route, and to read about the adventure.
Maps in each blog post: Click the icons to learn more about the launch site (amenities) and destinations. Click the square in the bottom-left corner to see an aerial photo behind the route.