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Blog #7 Crossing Holland

15th September

Holland the Tidy

No plaudits for repeating what everyone says but it's firmly true; Holland is the cleanest country I have travelled across (cf Peru as the untidiest). There's no correlation with tidiness and interest, Holland is a flat, conservative but beautiful country where people who seem so convinced of their piety do not use curtains. After dusk the windows turn into little stages and as I glimpse in riding past I see what are families acting out their evenings. Little paintings of Dutch realism, sequences of images bathed in yellow, warm light starkly mock the passing traveller.

A Bit of History

Landscape painting exploded during the Dutch Golden Age, bringing with it an emphasis upon the unique characteristics of Dutch landscape features, villages, and rural life connected with a rising esteem for Dutch values. Many of these scenes were based on central "heroic" elements indigenous to the area such as a tree, windmill, or cloud-filled sky.

The Neatness of Holland: from the Landscape ...

... to the particular

17th September

Soesterberg to Castle Terborgh (Schinnen) 169kms

I came upon a really unusual accommodation. Castle farm Huis Terborgh, also known as Huis Schinnen, is located in the Geleenbeek valley in the hamlet of Heisterbrug in the municipality of Schinnen - basically south Holland close to the German and Belgian border. Medium hard ride considering my fitness is slight to how it will be soon, unless I break.

Rode in at 22.30. It was wet and dark. Rain makes doing small technical operations like accessing data from my phone almost impossible. I'm not a highly prepped adventurer, never was. No idea where each day will lead me and am thinly organised with only Google Maps to steer me to where I need to be.

Hardly used the battery power of the bike. The Wabash is quicker on the flat when you don't use the power which has a power band limiter restricting riding speed to 28kph. Downhill with all power switched off the added weight pulls me downhill fast - I'm approaching 60kph.

I ate chips somewhere, downed more coke, soaking legs and feet in heavy rain, I rode through the archway of Castle Terbough, checked in with the owner, drank more, showered, climbed into my bunkbed.

A Bit of History

Kasteel Terborgh is considered one of the oldest castle grounds in the present province of Limburg. There are suggestions that in place of the present castle Terborg in Roman times was the "burg" or the watchtower, from it, and there was the word Terborgh - Castle here under that name for the first time mentioned in writing in 1285 Kasteel Terborgh (Ter Borch), or Huis (Kasteel) Schinnen, - a former farmhouse of the XVII century. Four wings comprising a housing proper, farm, and hexagonal chapel hallowed in 1625, in the short courtyard. After decades of municipal ownership of the castle in 1989 it fell again into private hands, partly leased for hotel apartments and the new owner gave me breakfast and showed me around.

Rieubert van Bodegraven

Castle Owner

Having made a fortune bringing cheap telephone calls into Holland and also having made money as a major player in real estate, Rieubert had the cash so when unexpectedly the castle came up for sale as he said, "it was a stupid moment so I bought it."

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Wow that kasteel looks amazing. What a treat to stay somewhere like that. :-)

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