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Sunday 5 August 2007

Day 5

We went about 60km today. We're still in the Netherlands, but only 11km to go until Germany. We've been riding north, slowly creepibg towards the border. Today, we  got to Emmen, which is tje start of my second set of maps : "The Viking Route".  We will be raiding and pillaging along the way, or maybe just looking at Viking artifacts.

Around the northern part of the Netherlands, in the Gronigen province - where we are now - ancient people stacked up rocks intp formations. Like stonehwnge, but much more squat. We went to look at one near Emmen. It really looked like modern art actually. The arrangement of the stones was aestheticaly pleasing. Nicole describes it as, "a bunch of big honking stones." She was very excited to go see it.

The heat has been really intense the last couple of days. I feel like i'm being baked alive in the afternoon. We've taken to having a late lunch and hanging out for bit afterwards. Alas, internet connections are harder to find in smaller towns and usually not offered at campsites.

"Camping" is a different concept in the Netherlands. Usually, it refers to a place where trailers of the sort found in retirement mobile home parks in the american southwest are permenently parked. Except, not just for old folks. Then, there is usually a fleet of caravans (americans call theses 'campers'). These have tents extending from them to make them into three room houses. They have electricity and a million amenities. And finally, you have the tents. These are usually 12 person tents. Some of them have stoves in them. No campground is complete without a network of tiny canals. And a bar.

And then there exists something called 'mini camping.' This refers to what americans call car camping. You get a grassy spot to pitch you mega tent or park your camper, but no bar or canal network. Mini camping often offers certain luxuries, like toilet paper, hand soap, paper towells and free hot showers. Also, it's usually cheaper. Tonight, we had to stop to ask for directions and the woman we asked was disparaging. "It's only farmer camping," she explained. Farmer camping with free showers and cheap pizza. What more could you ask?

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