Ah the Netherlands. Mecca for cyclists and public health professionals who dream of a utopic world where bikes reign supreme, where infrastructure exists to support two-wheeled travel, and everyone frolics happily.
When my sister and I decided to visit the Netherlands, rather than take the bikes we love (and that are very suited for a pleasant cruise across the flat, bike-friendly country), we decided to take the harder option by purchasing kick scooters for this epic trip.
Getting sorted for the journey
For those who have forgotten their childhood, kick scooters are tremendously fun but surprisingly physically demanding as a mode of transformation, where you are propelled forward solely on the strength of your glute.
I foolishly believed that a slightly larger version of the classic razor scooter would be adequate for the trip, delighted at first by the pretty pink Frenzy that I had acquired. However, when Karen rocked up with a much more robust (and suitable) Yedoo, I knew I had to upgrade. I panic ordered one in the UK, which after much emailing with the company, never arrived. The day before leaving London, I ordered another scooter to be delivered to our Amsterdam hostel by https://stepshop.nl/en/.
For those who are counting, this means I ordered 3 scooters and left for the trip without a scooter and just a pocketful of hope.
We used my London flat as the staging area for our trip, bundling Karen’s scooter back in the hockey bag for transport on the Eurostar, and packing our essentials into backpacks (including required reading for spending two weeks kicking your way around Holland with your much-physically-fitter sister).
We arrived in Amsterdam and to my delight and relief, a box was waiting for me containing the cutest scoot scoot!
And we’re off!
The first leg of our journey was to tour Friesland (Fryslân), one of the northern provinces in the Netherlands, and we were up early to catch the train to Leeuwarden.
We took all of our travel advise from the 1967 classic “Happy Holland” produced by KLM and packed full of tips of what to see and do in the Netherlands. It is a true gem.
According to our guide, the must visit site in Leeuwarden is Frieslandhal (the “palatial” cattle market), said to be “swarming with livestock buyers from every part of the world” as it is the “biggest and most modern cow palace in Europe.” A few things have changed (like biosecurity?) so it did not seem possible to wander through the cow market.
But rest assured that our visit wasn’t entirely without a cattle theme. Happy Holland claims that “Friesland is possibly the only country to have erected a public monument to a cow. It stands on one of the main thoroughfares of Leeuwarden, the placid bronze symbol of the nation’s prosperity on a pedestal inscribed with the grateful words: Us Mem (Our mother).”
Our Airbnb host gave us a somewhat perplexed look when we asked about this AMAZING cow sculpture, but we were delighted to pay her a visit.
And we did indeed see many “magnificent milkers munching on the fat green pastures” during our scoot through Fryslân.
If cows are “not your thing,” you can also check out the leaning tower of Leeuwarden or the Fries museum (disappointingly not exclusively dedicated to delicious deep-fried spuds).
Day 1: Leeuwarden to Augustinusga
This was the first true scoot day.
We had approximately 30km to cover to get to our accommodations and it was our first day of really getting to absorb the stunning rural views.
I had also happened to pick up a wee chest infection, so these kms, while beautiful, were particularly difficult while feverish and coughing.
The main motivation for our tour of Fryslân was to explore the places that our maternal grandmother (van der Veen) grew up before moving to Canada. The closest town to where she grew up was Buitenpost!
We also visited a church grave yard where some of our ancestors (almost certainly) are buried.
Surprisingly, we made it to our accommodations (which happened to be a cool converted church), where I proceeded to sleep for 14 hours straight while Karen read stories from the last 100 years of the church. Turns out the conversation has not changed much in over 100 years (the organist still plays songs too fast, and it would be endlessly hilarious to watch your pastor fall into a dyke). We also found a photo that might be our great grandpa’s brother & wife!