Otterlo to Utrecht

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Utrecht from the 17th floor: the Dom Tower, all that remains of a never-finished cathedral

Pretty much a repeat of last year’s ride, but it was very pleasant to be cycling in woods and over heathland. There were lots of elderly couples on e-bikes, and you can see why cycling casualties amongst old Dutch men are rising: they shed their common sense along with their physical limitations.

Another reminder of Napoleon: we passed through a village called Austerlitz, which was named by King Louis Napoleon of Holland in honour of his brother’s victory. (The Napoleonic era was such a whirlwind across the whole of Europe: the kingdom of Holland only lasted 4 years.)

This hotel is in a commercial district that is deserted after office hours. Outside there’s a tram line, a wide road, an extensive network of cycle paths and no humans. The advantage of it is that it had a room, it is easy to cycle to without going into Utrecht . . . and it has a large HD television on which to watch the Belgium-Brazil game.

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