2021, Corona rules, unfortunately. Travelling is limited, but I still want to go somewhere. I decide to pack my tent on my bike again and cycle a tour around the province I was born in: Noord Brabant. As a nice song about my province states: life is good in the brabant country. Well, it does sound better in Dutch to be honest ;)
I use some long distance cycling routes and plot a course. It follows the Maas river, the border to the Limburg province, then along the border of Belgium and finishing by following the waters of Zeeland. I pack my bike and off I go. I park my car in a town Werkendam, just in Noord-Brabant. From there I follow the Maasroute until the border of Limburg, which rougly 160km. The weather is great and the river deep blue. Birds are singing, the waves are slowly hitting the shores. This is Summer, this is freedom. Easily I cycle the kms away enjoying every bit of it. And oh, when I cycle, I am allowd to have nice cakes along the way. And that is exactly what I do.
I pass historic little towns like Heusden, enjoy Loevestein castle, cross the river a few times on a small ferry and feel very welcome at my frirends place. We make a beautiful day hike in the centre of Noord-Brabant before I proceed my cycle tour. The floodplains are lush green, cows are grazing and I feel happy. Along the route I camp at small campsites, preferably with farmers. Usually the people there are up for a small chat and I can park my bicylce securely in sheds. In the East I am confronted with the history of the Second World War. In Overloon an interesting museum reminds us of these harsh times. Due to Covid I cannot visit, but... the Dutch are Dutch, so they created a cycle path on a bridge through the museum. And that one is open. What an impressive sight! I pass tanks, anti tank protection, bunkers, you name it.
Noord-Brabant also has a lot of (micro) breweries. It is the 'gezelligste' province in the Netherlands and people know how to eat and drink well. I buy a local beer almost every day. Just to enjoy on the campside, next to my little house. South of Eindhoven there is also a nice abbey, where a very good beer is brewed. It is called Achelse Kluis. To be honest, it is on the border of Netherlands and Belgium. I follow this border for the next few days. Here, maany places remind me of the First World War. A fence was erected at that time, preventing people to flee to the neutral Dutch country. It constists of 5 to 7 wires with a deadly electricity on them. A lot of people died here.
In the last few days of the trip I pass my student town. Good memories lie here. I enjoy the good vibes again and proceed to the historic town of Bergen op Zoom. I follow the Zeeuwse/Brabantse waters North enjoying once again the views and listening to all the birds. The last bit I cycle through the historic towh of Willemstad and Natural Park De Biesbosch. A river delta with unique wildlife.
I have to say, the province has shown me all kinds of different faces. Towns, nature, culture, culinary treats, rivers, countryside, animals and most of all nice weather. Ok, there is no guarantee of the latter, but it made my ride really fantastic. It is the biggest province, and after 750km I can confirm this!
(More pictures on the Pictures page)