For whom the cock crows

We were rudely awoken this morning at 5am by a rooster persistently crowing, it sounded as if he was circling our tent in a quest to assert his dominance. On rising and looking through the tent flaps, we found that he actually was strutting around the perimeter of the tent and would not be shooed off! Having decided that we were staying here for two nights, we had hoped for a more leisurely morning, but had to concede defeat to Foghorn Leghorn in the hopes that activity would deter him, or at least scare him off. He was made of sterner stuff though; this was his back yard and he would not be deterred by some johnny-come-lately!

Foghorn Leghorn checking us out

Given that we had time, we thought we would try out the clothes spinner that was in the communal area and so set to with some washing, hoping that anything would be better than the hand wringing that was our only option thus far. Oh the marvel as the little machine wobbled into life, then whirred and what seemed like gallons of water came pouring out of it’s spout. When this had decreased to a mere dribble we removed practically dry clothes with such joyful wonderment that you would be forgiven for thinking that we do not own a fully automated washing machine at home. It’s funny the things about everyday life that you take for granted until they are no longer there.

When we returned to the tent to fashion a makeshift washing line, we noted that Foghorn Leghorn was pestering our neighbours as they breakfasted outside their camper van. His trick seemed to be to crow until given a tasty titbit, gobble that down and crow some more!

‘Modern’ marvel
One English book and I’ve already read it

Today we had a short 30 minute ride to reach Amersfoort, and without the heavy bags we fair raced along the pretty route to the suburbs of the city, commenting on the Dutch urban planning and design. Where it seems housing developers in the UK are intent on maximum density, with quality of living environment given a relatively superficial nod, this does not seem to be the case here. They build communities with space around and the niceties such as an outbuilding/shed are included in the design. There also seems to be an ethos amongst the Dutch of social responsibility and keeping your little area neat and tidy. I dare say there are areas of relative deprivation and certainly in the bigger cities there is a higher level of litter and graffiti, but this is nothing compared to what we have become used to turning a blind eye to back home.

As we neared the city and crossed one of the parks, a friendly Dutchman commented upon Talula and said that his 23 year old daughter was taking a journey on a tandem soon and that tandems are becoming more popular in recent times. A tandem renaissance may be just around the corner.

We headed for the old part of the city rather than the modern centre, having read that it was rather pretty. We were not disappointed. Mr V and I spent a lovely time wondering around the ancient streets and it seemed that every corner you turned revealed yet another picture postcard perfect scene. This is not to say that it is a ‘preserved’ theme park of an historic city, it is very much still bustling with a busy market in the central square and high street with lovely independent shops as well as some old favourites.

Picture perfect Amersfoort

The tower of Our Lady can be seen as you approach the city as one of the tallest medieval church towers in the Netherlands. Only the tower survives of what was a substantial church, and we made it our goal to reach, but as we drew nearer the tower seemed to be elusive to pinpoint as it disappeared from the skyline in the narrow streets and it took a bit of searching. It has inside, what we gather is the central point of Holland.

After all that walking we found a little oasis in the city, the Jeffrouw Jacoba creperie, just along from the tower, their logo is a dachshund, and sure enough there is one in residence; very cute and very friendly.

The friendly Jacoba

After a little more wondering and lunch of a lovely salad and iced fruit smoothie with waiter service in a well known Scottish establishment (I know how to spoil a guy!), the day was getting hot so we explored the harbour-side in the hopes of some cool air, alas it was warmer still in the direct gaze of the sun so we retreated to reclaim Talula and peddled to a shady spot in the park to relax and people watch.

Park life

As the warmth of the day had dissipated, we saddled up to head for home, passing on the way a small music festival that had been setting up in the morning. Now in full swing, instead of the fields of cars parked, there were thousands of bicycles. So much less environmental impact.

The shadows are lengthening as I type, and the chill is setting in. Foghorn Leghorn though is on his evening rounds, checking his little corner of Holland, before taking roost in the trees behind us ready for tomorrow’s reveille.

Still checking
Just gonna sit here for a bit

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