The theme for day 2 was polder as we spent most of the day meandering along dykes surrounded by canals, beautiful homes with nurseries, polder fields with livestock grazing, and eventually a lakes district.

Julie on the path as we wind through nurseries Julie on the path as we wind through nurseries

The riding was so easy and peaceful, mostly on dedicated bike paths, with endless water and the accompanying waterfowl. We are seeing purple herons, grebes, coots, swans, geese, mallards, and the occasional cormorant. Weather again was perfect with blue skies and temps in the high 50s to low 60s.

Nursery with pasture Nursery with pasture

Big transition is from tulip fields to woody nurseries, and also our first glimpse of traditional windmills. The nurseries almost all seemed to have an accompanying home, with the property completely surrounded by a tiny canal with bridges for access.

Our first windmill Our first windmill

The sole traditional windmill encountered lived on a dyke between a higher running canal and the lower polder field, likely below sea level. Historically the mill was for pumping water out of the lower field and into the canal to be taken away to a nearby river.

Town hall in Gouda Town hall in Gouda

We ended the day in Gouda (pronounced “how-dah”, not “goo-dah”, but locals don’t seem to mind) and enjoyed a spritz and beer on the square near the town hall. We also arrived in time to visit the cheese making museum, a worthwhile stop. Picked up some more cheese for our daily bread-and-cheese lunch staple. The next morning we hit a bakery that sells a specific kind of syrup waffles (Stroopwafel) we wanted to try as a taste test vs. the usual we’ve been getting around Holland. They are indeed different: crunchier waffles with a honey-adjacent syrup taste.