Beercycling starts Friday the 13th, and considering my luck with tubes so far, I’ve packed an extra to ride aside my patch kit.
Today, however, I gave my wheels a rest. The weather here is crazy, and the Rijnsmarkt area of Arnhem – though populated with most of the same shops as every downtown (including the locals: GSUS and Scotch & Soda) – is entertaining me for the day.
My @BeerCycling organizer, Henk, drove in to see me early this afternoon, before backtracking an hour to Amsterdam for a meeting. It’s a busy time for this hop-farmer, whose crop is being harvested tomorrow, with the help of 35 volunteers. The next day he takes this season’s bounty to De Molen for a special fresh-hopped brew. Friday he leaves for Romania.
I felt bad pulling him from his other tasks, but ended up getting solid editorial content from a really great guy, and trying some damn fine beers I wouldn’t have known about had he not suggested we meet at Café Touché.
My favourite was Abdicatie, which Untappd lists as a “Euro Lager,” but tastes like a Dubbel to me. It’s a one-time-only, special occasion brew, concocted to celebrate the Monarchical transfer from Queen Beatrix to King Willem-Alexander, earlier this year. Oranje is this country’s colour, and you can definitely detect sweet citrus in this lovely beer.
Next stop was ‘t Moortgat, which is a great place to sit yourself down. Though it’s only 35 years old, it looks about 80, with more dust than Rob Ford’s bike seat.
This is where I tried what has to be one of the best named beers in the world. Silly Saison, from Silly Beer, is brewed in an actual Walloon municipality called Silly. How great is that?
I tried scouting out tonight’s dinner in advance. HappyCow has but one vegan listing in Arnhem, and unfortunately it’s a politically-focused café, only open Friday evenings. Two other veg-friendly restaurants populate the directory, but reviews of each suggest calling a day in advance if you’re vegan. Wow. After wandering for 30 minutes I figured I’d be eating at a Thai restaurant that had “Vegetarisch” headlining a menu promoting items with “tahoe” (“tofu”). Nope, not open Woensdag.
Instead I seated myself at a TexMex restaurant with a Union Jack on the menu. That should have been a hint, because the food was about as spicy as English cuisine. My coffee was a cute, little espresso, and my veggie tacos came in “tortilla boats.” Euradorable!
Tomorrow I’ll pass through Nijmegen on my way to ‘s-Hertogenbosch (or Den Bosch, as the locals call it).
I would love to spend more time visiting the sites, but eating here has been difficult and I’m starting to feel it. When I’m riding, everything is wonderful. It’s during the gap periods that I become keenly aware of my fatigue.
The weather looks better over the next few days, so I’m continuing to rely on my rather sparse wardrobe. That and the four protein bars (Taste of Nature, made in Canada) I bought today should get me comfortably through my final six days.
I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to write tomorrow, so if you don’t hear from me, just make something up.
Op je gezondheid!