Netherlands – Arnhem

This is the second leg of my tour in the Netherlands – I was actually heading for Oosterbeek, about 5 kilometres from Arnhem.
The first leg is here

I left the Botsholland campsite early as I had about 100 kilometres to cycle.
I thought of splitting the journey over two days, but a hill-less 100 km was enticing. Unfortunately, though, rain was forecast and the very open and flat landscape meant no shelter from the gusty headwind.
After about 10 kilometres a drizzle started. There was a little respite as I cycled through the town of Haarzuilens. It turned out I was on a fruitless search for a cafe. I was, however, complimented on the brightness of my front lamp by an older cyclist. Here’s the grand entry to Haarzuilens …

Some older properties in Haarzuilens had an interesting ‘corporate’ colour scheme

Whether these goats knew about corporate colour schemes was anyone’s guess …

As I left the town, the drizzle started again. By the time I reached the outskirts of Utrecht it had progressed to heavy rain. I stopped under a railway bridge for a while then decided to climb into my waterproofs and continue. Here’s a wet cycle path in Utrecht, with a bus station on the right …

I hoped the rain would stop at lunchtime, but I soon forgot about eating outside while passing a pizza place. I propped the bike against an outside table and squelched in to the warm and dry!

I was the only lunch-time customer and the manager was pretty bored so we had a long conversation about all sorts of things. The pizza was very good!
However, I still had a long journey before I was in Oosterbeek and eventually I had to leave the comfort of the pizza place. Even so, I hung out there for a couple of hours until the rain eased a little and I cycled on, through the centre of Utrecht.

I didn’t notice when the rain stopped as I was cycling through a large wooded area, the continually dripping trees making it very unpleasant and the humidity was increasing as the rained cleared. To add to the excitement my Garmin GPS decided to freeze leaving me navigation-less. Google Maps was not quite the same and I was glad that regularly cursing the Garmin made it spring back to life while I was close to the Pyramid of Austerlitz (see, but I suspect this was a coincidence.

After what seemed like an eternity of cycling in high humidity, I was pretty tired and hungry. But I was dry when I arrived at the campsite ( Still, the sun was shining and I had a nice flat pitch, with a table, near the river. The site facilties were excellent, too.

There was a little harbour attached to the campsite, with the Rhine beyond. The track leads to a small sandy beach


The next day I paid a visit the site’s comfortable cafe …

… before walking to the Airborne museum and cemetery. The museum was one of the best I have visited. It tells the story of Operation Market Garden (see from both German and Allied sides, as well as Dutch children and adults. There was also a good exhibition on the Dutch resistance during WW2.

A group of Americans turned up on these classic Harley-Davidsons. They had ridden from the UK to the D-day beaches in Normandy; a couple of them were riding on to Russia. You don’t get that smell of petrol when a modern bike starts!

The Airborne cemetery is a place for reflection. Later on this tour I visited many WW1 cemeteries and memorials and found each to be very moving and, in some cases, hard to take in. Like all Commonwealth War Grave Commission cemeteries, it is kept in immaculate condition.

Next day, I walked the five kilometres into Arnhem. It’s a modern city that is very conscious of its recent past. I passed this tank turret on the way.

I would recommend a visit to Arnhem, it’s an interesting city.

I asked the campsite owner about a large ruin at the entrance to the site, which turned out to be the remains of a brick kiln. The area around Arnhem has large clay deposits that supported a brick and clay tile industry. He told me of an identical restored kiln that was now a museum (see It was about 20 kilometres from the campsite and as I’m interested in industrial archaeology that was the next day sorted.

It was a great cycle to the kiln and back – around half the distance was on a bike path that had a fabulous surface where I could cruise considerably faster than when weighed down by all my kit.

Here’s the restored kiln …

The roof covers the top of the kiln where fuel was stored and shoveled in through small chutes in the floor. This type of kiln was operated continuously. The bricks and tiles were loaded and unloaded through the arches at ground level which lead to a series of separate chambers. The company produced bricks, roof tiles and glazed pipes for drains. Here are some finished bricks and a couple of tiles

There were hundreds of moulds in the roofed area. Here’s an open pipe mould

The herring- bone brick floor of the roofed area with the iron covers of the fuel chutes

The kiln and all the equipment is now part of a hotel / conference centre (great coffee and cake here, too). When I visited, everywhere was open with no obvious place to pay an entrance fee. Maybe something to do with a group tour going on just as I arrived?

After four days in Oosterbeek it was time to head for the medieval city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch – aka denBosch and I headed off, crossing over the ‘bridge too far’ …

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