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Day 6 - Antwerp to Breda - 60km

We enjoyed Antwerp. We enjoyed our accommodation too. Being a public holiday Monday it was also very quiet as headed north and made our way towards Breda. Why Breda I hear you ask. Well given the original plan was to do 50-60 km a day and that Rotterdam is 100km away I decided to split the ride from Antwerp into two manageable ride days and discovered that Breda is exactly half way between the two.

The first 5-10 km of the ride was through the very industrial part of Antwerp and some of the beauty of the Old Town was definitely missing. Pretty soon however we were on another cycling super highway named the F14 which like its brother the F4 ran alongside a train track. Being a holiday the MAMIL's were still out in force and we both agreed pretty quickly that perhaps it was time to create a more picturesque route away from the railway. The decision in part was made for us after about 25 km when the cycling super highway continued to head more directly towards Rotterdam whereas our planned route deviated north east towards Breda. This occurred in the small town of Heide where we stumbled upon a cycling orientated cafe that not only had cycling paraphernalia lining the walls but a dart board too !

From here we branched away from the F14 and soon after crossed over the border into The Netherlands. As had occurred when we crossed from France into Belgium it stated tipping it down and it was a rain that stayed with us all the way to Breda. Will have to say this though, even the Belgians we had struck up conversation with said how much better the Dutch cycle paths were going to be, and they weren't wrong. What we found however was your run of the mill car driver in The Netherlands wasn't as polite or giving over to cyclists as either the French or the Belgians. And god forbid if you were not in your cycle lane. As I discovered later it is actually illegal in The Netherlands to ride on the road if there is a cycle lane available to you. On one occasion I was riding on the road astride the cycle lane and within moments had a rather noisy complaint from a passing car.

The rain relented long enough for us to enjoy another roadside picnic in a quiet rural setting and then the rain began again as we pushed off for the final 20 km into Breda. As we approached the outskirts of Breda the rain only got heavier and heavier however the moment we stopped cycling for the day it too stopped and the clouds parted and the sun emerged.

Parts of the early section of the days ride were along the impossibly well maintained and smooth F14 cycling super higher which like its bigger brother the F40 ran alongside a railway track for many kilometres.

On the F14 you were never in doubt as to where you were and how far it was until you got somewhere.

The cycling orientated cafe in Heide. The coffee was half decent too.

Away from the cycling super highways of earlier today and yesterday the rule was still the same. Stay in your designated cycling lane.

One of the benefits we enjoyed once we left the F14 was that the scenery got more interesting

Strangely yet another vending machine roadside that was offering strawberries AND bread.

Lunch table and picnic lady

On occasion there was more of the road given over to cycling lanes than there was space for cars. This being Holland after all.

We might be in a different country today but it seems the passion for cubism and minimalism in house design is still very much the trend as it was in Belgium

Once we arrived in Breda the rain stopped and as was now our custom we took refreshments in the main square below the town church.

Arriving in Breda, and with today being a public holiday Monday there were all sorts of festivities ongoing including this local folksy band which were strategically placed right outside our accommodation.

Sitting as we were in the shadow of the local church, there was an alley just meters from us where there were a collection of dart boards on one side and competitors on the other. Periodically they were forced to stop to allow pedestrians to pass. The health and safety issues at a level that wouldn't be tolerated in most other Western countries that I have visited given the concerns around litigation. Would seem 'personal accountability'' is still very much prevalent in The Netherlands. Good on them.


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