Day 14: Cologne – Orsoy
This day was really long! It was supposedly only 85 kilometres, but the route online, where I got the mileage, is much shorter and more direct than the actual route. There’s some discrepancy so you never really know how long your days are. I think it was more like 100 kilometres!
We followed a bike path for most of the day. It wasn’t very interesting, but it was easy riding. When we arrived in Dusseldorf, the ride became much more interesting. It’s an easy city to cycle through, with good paths and cars that give enough room for cyclists. I’d like to return to Düsseldorf someday just to explore the city.
After leaving Düsseldorf, you cycle on a lot of roads. While some find this really annoying, I’ve come to like the road cycling because it’s pretty interesting. You’re always on your toes and never bored.
In between Düsseldorf and Duisburg is a really cool art installation called Tiger & Turtle. We didn’t check it out but it’s a short little detour from the path and it looks really neat!
We actually continued on past Duisburg to Orsoy, a TINY little village. We stayed in a beautiful little guesthouse/restaurant. I loved spending the evening here- the town is absolutely charming with sheep roaming through the grass. I fell asleep counting them.
Distance: 100 km
Time: 9 hours
Day 15: Orsoy – Arnhem
The morning was cold and rain was in the forecast, so we headed out quite early. We ate a buffet breakfast at the hotel and stuffed ourselves for €5 a person. It was great and we needed the fuel.
Luckily for us, the weather shaped up a bit and it warmed up. It was gloomy all day, but it only rained after we’d arrived at our hotel in the outskirts of Arnhem.
The ride was pretty this day. We cycled near water and along some really nice paths. We passed lots of people walking their dogs, and also a lady walking her cockatoo. It even had a harness and lead. We also went through a couple areas of farmland.
It was quite hilly in Arnhem which was a good finisher- we were pretty exhausted and we collapsed in our hotel bed pretty soon after arriving.
Distance: 100 km
Time: 9 hours
Day 16: Arnhem – Gorinchem
We spent a lot of this day getting lost. The Netherlands has GREAT bike paths, but it took a while to get used to the signage. I thought there weren’t any signs and I was so frustrated when we kept cycling in the wrong direction, but turns out, the signs are just small. When you really look for them, they’re everywhere! They’re either low on poles near the ground or high up on poles, and there are often things obstructing your view of them, so you have to look around, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to spot them.
I found this day really tough. It was taking us ages to do the smallest distances and my shoulder, which I’ve had a problem with since maybe day 6, was REALLY acting up. I would have to stop for a break to rest it, and Phil would cycle up and stop behind me to massage it. What a sweetie.
Also, whoever said it was all downhill from Switzerland is a damn liar. This day felt really hilly and I felt like we were always going uphill! Luckily, the incline wasn’t bad.
On the bright side, we cycled through beautiful areas of affluent farmland estates. We also cycled through small residential spots. The towns were so cute- it was like Anthropologie threw up on the whole village. Also, there were mini ponies, so it was a good day.
The scenery was gorgeous, so we stopped at a grocery store, got some hummus, loads of veggies, and some cured meat, and had ourselves a little picnic in the fields!
We had a campsite across the river from Gorinchem, so we had to take a boat across. Gorinchem itself looks SO charming and I would have liked to explore more. We missed the last ferry so we took a water taxi.
The campsite was really nice and the owners had a very cute dog that liked to play fetch, but the bathrooms were FULL of spiders so I held my pee for like 13 hours.
Distance: 100 km
Time: 9.5 hours
Day 17: Gorinchem – Rotterdam
I woke up cold. Cycling didn’t warm me up too much, as we were mainly cycling through shaded forest and farmland. It wasn’t spectacular view-wise, especially compared to the day prior, but it was cute.
Phil’s bike rack broke, so we had to stop for a while to fix that. Also, there are lots of ferries on the route this day. All of that time added up and it wasn’t as quick of a day as we thought it would be.
The route seems to go in circles this day, and that’s because it makes huge detours that essentially take you back to about 5 kilometres away from you started. This was frustrating, but all of the detours (except one) were worth it. The scenery is pretty dang good.
Just before Rotterdam is one of these big detours. My shoulder was at its worst this day and I was in a BAD mood. Doing a big loop is not what I wanted to do, but Phil wanted to do the 25-kilometre loop instead of the 5-kilometre straight line, and I pouted for about 20 kilometres of it.
The last 5 kilometres I had to swallow my pride (and apologise for being a total butthead) and admit that I was glad we did the loop- we cycled through Kinderdijk, which has quite a few windmills and is REALLY lovely.
The Eurovelo 15 officially ends in Hoek Van Holland, but we ended in Rotterdam. It’s about 30 kilometres fewer, but currently, there’s construction on the Hoek van Holland railway (they’re turning it into an extension of the Rotterdam railway) and the only way out is by bus… which you can’t take your bikes on.
We could have cycled to the next train station, another 30 kilometres away, but my shoulder wasn’t up for it, and to be honest, the last thing I wanted to do was to cycle more than I had to. I was freaking exhausted.
We celebrated the end of our Rhine tour with a GREAT time in Rotterdam. I’d love to return and sightsee a bit more.
Distance: 80 km
Time: 9 hours
We had a great celebratory dinner at Supermercado, a Latin American restaurant. I recommend the ribs, ceviche, and tacos. We also saw nachos that looked amazing and I would definitely get those next time.
Lilith is a lovely breakfast place with good coffee and pancakes. I went for the lemon poppyseed pancakes (soooo yum) and Phil’s eggs royale was also really tasty.
We also had a cheeky sweet (or 3) at Koekela. There’s coffee and a whole display of cakes, cookies, and brownies. Phil had a brownie and a cookie (both so yummy!) and I had a VERY tasty slice of lemon meringue pie. I recommend.
We stayed at CityHub, a capsule hotel. I LOVED this place. Our room was essentially a big bed with a little place to put stuff/change. We had charging spots (and USB ports!) everywhere, a speaker you could play music/podcasts on via Bluetooth, and a portable WiFi device you could take around the city.
Also, you could download an app that controlled the brightness and colour (yes, COLOUR!) of your lights, and you could also chat to the staff via the app to ask for recommendations or help. It was awesome and very reasonably priced.
Oh, and the bathrooms were LOVELY. They didn’t scream “hostel” at all. They were really nice and clean; there were extra towels, many showers on each floor, and Rituals products (my favourite soap brand- smell so good!).
Since we’ve finished the EV15, I’ve been left to ask myself, “…now what?”
It’s weird not waking up every day and throwing your sore bum on a bicycle. It was GREAT the first 2 days after finishing, but now I kinda miss it. I never thought I’d be cycling this far in my lifetime, and now I’m looking for new places to cycle through!
There are few people I’d want to cycle with, eat with, sleep next to, and be with 24/7, but Phil has been the perfect companion. If you’re planning on doing this with another person, make sure you REALLY like them haha. Even if you really like them, you’ll probably argue. Confusing directions, long days, and aching bodies will put anyone in a bad mood. That being said, I think I was the one who was in a bad mood more often and Phil dealt with me like a champ.
After cycling, Phil and I spent a weekend eating our way through Amsterdam. You can read about that here.
I’m currently on the flight home from Amsterdam and I’m getting all emotional in my ‘comfy’ little middle seat. It’s been such a lovely two and a half weeks. It’s been such a lovely summer challenging myself through cycling, trekking, and travelling, and I am more motivated now than ever to bring everything I’ve learned about myself and this world to my next year at uni.