Much of North Holland would be underwater if it were not for all the many ways the sea is kept away. Not an easy feat of engineering given how much of the land itself is under sea level. On our bicycle ride today we got to see a combination of high and impenetrable dikes and a careful system of canals with water pumps at the ready.
As global sea levels rise, may this be what coastal cities will need to do?
That is a few years away but likely inevitable. But we were not thinking about imminent flooding as we enjoyed breakfast in the garden of our Bed and Breakfast, Opperbest, in the tiny town of Opperdoes. The B&B owners set up a table in their large garden in celebration of the arrival of a nice summer day. The canals are peaceful places on this August weekend.
Even in beautiful scenery and nice weather, there is something ominous about cycling along the top of the dike with the sea on one side of you and on your other side homes and farms well below the sea. Hard to capture in a photograph but if you look closely out to sea, you can see a boat sailing on the sea at about the same level of the roof of the houses behind the dike. Here is another angle when the bike path goes along the side of the dike instead of on top of it. The bike path itself is well below the sea on the left, which you cannot see but imagine the sea on the other side above the level of Leisa’s head. When you do have to venture onto roads that need to be shared with cars, it is such a delight to note that they are designed first with the cyclist in mind requiring cars to make adjustments and not the other way around. This one is actually a two-way road but cars always need to yield to cyclists.
And the port town of Hoorn with a collection of sailing vessels going back a few centuries.
Well, cyclists do have someone else to share the road with. And staying at a Bed and Breakfast sure does beat setting up a tent and crawling into a sleeping bag. And the 65km day comes to an end in Edam, yes, as in cheese, with a nice sunset along the many canals of this town.