We woke to the 7 o’clock chimes of the Brielle clocktower and luxuriated in the vast comfy bed as we stretched and rubbed the sleep out of our eyes, letting them get used to the sun light that was creeping around the edges of the heavy curtains. We knew we had an easy riding day today as we are only a short distance away from the Hook of Holland, and as last check out time was 11 am we were rather leisurely about our morning preparations.
Packing up Talula, the day was already warm so we were keen to get going and generate a breeze. Taking a little circuit around Brielle which is another charming town set within the star shaped battlements now familiar to us.
We had considered a short jaunt into Delft to have a look at the city centre, having skirted round it last year, but decided against this in favour of a more relaxed day, not wishing to have to hurry in such sultry weather. We crossed over the bridges heading towards Maassluis, and boarded the ferry over the final stretch of water, making friends with a spritely septuagenarian who was cycling to see her new grandson, thinking that she too was travelling to Maassluis, she quickly corrected our assumptions, saying that she had an hours cycle once she disembarked the ferry. I hope when I am that age I have as much vim and vitality!
Having foregone breakfast at the hotel, we brunched at a lovely establishment in Maassluis that had been our final stopping point late in the day the previous year. It was lovely to take time and relax whilst enjoying the canal side scenery and watching the world go by.
We eventually moved on and meandered our way towards our final destination for the day. We had identified an area of woodland along our route which seemed to have numerous footpaths through it, so heading there we spent a couple of hours enjoying the dappled shade before moving on to pick up some foodie souvenirs (choco waffles!) and gifts to take home. We had a last tranquil picnic supper in a secluded park near the port, savouring the last few dregs of our time away.
We boarded the ferry as late as we could, and divested ourselves of our luggage in the cabin before making our way on to the deck to watch the sunset, before retiring to snooze away the crossing.
We seem to have been very fortunate as the North Sea crossings can be notoriously choppy, but we have not had to experience this and slept soundly until about 5 am when there was some shuddering of the boat. A little later, Mr V got up and said that he was going on deck to watch the docking (he finds these things interesting) I was less willing to leave my cosy bed until I had to. He returned 10 minutes later disappointed that we had already docked. However, disembarkation would not be for another hour, so I saw no need to rush.
Heading down to the cargo decks to ready Talula, we passed the time of day with fellow cyclists, some like us, on their way home post adventure, some with adventures still to be had. We got through border control swiftly and were just dismantling Talula ready for loading into the car when Uncle Bob, with immaculate timing drove up. It was quite emotional to see him again after all our exploits. It was odd; in many ways, it seemed like only yesterday that we were waving him goodbye, yet here we were again in the same spot having travelled so many miles and seen so much.
We have an overnight stopover with Bob and Babs, it’s a good job it is just one night as I can feel all the good of the estimated 1000 miles we have peddled, going to pot as the lovely Aunty Babs plies us with yet more gorgeous food. True to her motto “Never Knowingly Under-catered”.