It was an unusually hot sunny morning as I cycled down the Rotte River towards Crooswijksebocht (literally: Duckweed District Bend, where "bend" refers to the bend in the River). As I approached the bend, I saw a colorful crowd milling on the riverbank. Overheating, I removed my sweatshirt to reveal a bright blue t-shirt: our club uniform. I locked my bike on one of the many temporary bike racks and wandered into the crowd, keeping an eye out for other blue-shirted people.
Linschoten is a small village (~3500 inhabitants) in the Netherlands, between Gouda and Utrecht. Juliette, a fellow kayaking club member, recently moved there, and planned a trip for all of us to explore the area by kayak. This day trip took us from the town of Linschoten through some canals to Montfoort. From there, we rode the Hollandse Ijssel River to the old town of Oudewater, turning right onto the Lange Linschoten River. This lead us back to the starting point, but not before stopping at a "tea garden" along the way!
Today I'm just sharing a handful of photos from this evening's paddle on the Maas River in Rotterdam! The city shines at this hour. Led by Erik and Iede, a big group of paddlers (I didn't even count) went for a paddle through Rotterdam. We caught a nice river current on the way back.
Last weekend (my birthday weekend!) I spent two extremely sunny days paddling along the IJssel River in good company, with plenty of assistance from the currents. We encountered sandy and very muddy beaches, swirling river currents, a little bit of wildlife (including a partying kayak-polo team), and an evening circus! Read on for photos, a map, and the story.
As I pack my bags for a paddling trip tomorrow, I realize I've forgotten to finish this post about a recent trip to Rotterdam centrum. A couple weeks ago Joachim organized a relaxing/low-key trip from the kayaking club on Kralingse Plas to the center of Rotterdam. We took a different route into Rotterdam than in previous trips. We saw a number of iconic Rotterdam sites, and ended up in the heart of the city during the peak of the Saturday market. âRead on for a short post with plenty of photos from a wintery urban paddle!
Back in May (how did that happen?) I went on one of my favorite Dutch paddling trips so far: the Maas River in my new city of Rotterdam, with Iede, Marianne, Erik, and Adrian. The great thing about it is that you can get there from the club if you're willing to go through a small lock and carry your boat across a giant intersection in downtown Rotterdam... :D
My alarm went off at 7am on Sunday. At any other time of year, getting up would have been a challenge. Thanks to the long days that the Dutch latitude (52 degrees) bestows us, it was palatable. In what's becoming a weekend routine, I strapped my lunch and dry clothes on the back of my bike and swung a sizable duffle bag of kayak gear over my shoulder. It always takes a bit of extra effort to get the bike moving when it's loaded down this way. But thanks to the lack of topographic variability, the 12 minute bike ride to the kayak club is easy once you're rolling. Some aspects of Dutch life just need reframing to see the bright side.
Dinant Evasion: What happens when you combine a log flume, bumper cars, 7000 kayakers, and a sinking kayak on the River Lesse in Belgium.
The magical town of Dinant, on the Lesse River in southern Belgium. The kayaking route does not take you past here, so make sure to include a visit to the city in your itinerary! Photo by Rob.
Before you read this post, I want you to know that Dinant and the surrounding areas are really lovely - I've visited twice and had some great biking and hiking experiences. But kayaking was a different flavor, and I feel it should be documented as a warning to any kayakers thinking about paddling here...
As we passed under the big welcome signs at Dinant Evasion, I couldn't help but feel like I was entering an amusement park. We obediently zigzagged through the queue lines to one of the (many) ticket offices. "Do you have your confirmation letter?" asked the ticket lady in broken Dutch (Dinant is in the French-speaking part of Belgium). I fumbled for my phone, hoping the confirmation email was still cached (I still use my US smartphone, so no cellular data for me). Phew, there it was. I've never arrived for a reserved kayak rental and been told that my last name was insufficient for accessing the reservation... Warning Sign #1. Okay, the super commercial website could also have tipped me off (Warning Sign #0)...
My friends are real troopers. The forecast warned of intense rain, and that's exactly what we got. But we persevered! From downtown Utrecht to a pancake house about 6.5 km southeast of the city, Sander, Bonnie, and I paddled through almost continuous rain. But the "pancakes," if you can even call them that, were worth the soaking.
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.
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