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Saturday Cycling: Groningen-Warffum-Noordpolder-muck-Uithuizen

Yesterday's cycling trip could have been a short, easy one, but Sidsel and I went out of our way to make it longer and more arduous. Our goal was the Menkemaborg, another castle in the province, located in the city of Uithuizen. To many people in the Netherlands, the name of that town is a byword for remoteness, but it's actually easy to reach. However, Sidsel suggested we took a more easterly course over Warffum and rode through the northern polders for a bit. We did, and took the idea even further: because we could see the sea dike from where we were riding, we decided to ride a little further north and follow the sea dike. Unfortunately, we couldn't use the northern, outer side of the dike and have the sea to our left, because the paths there were blocked by fences (even though it's technically legal to ride there! Bah!). The southern side of the dike was usable though, although there were two nuisances on our path. One was the tractors of the farmers harvesting winter carrots on the nearby field. Compared to their tamer inland brothers, these have evolved to a much greater size and speed, filling up the narrow path completely. The other was the sheep grazing on the dike. I have never seen as many sheep as I did yesterday. The animals themselves were kind enough to get out of our way, but unlike at Lauwersoog, they roam the paved as well as the grass-covered parts of the dike, and absolutely covered the path in dung. So for five kilometers, we rode through muck (actually for longer - all the roads above Warffum were pretty mucky) which got on our shoes, our pants, our bikes, until we went south again, found Uithuizen and the Menkemaborg and made our entrance looking like 17th century peasants seeking an audience with their Lord.
The Borg itself is excellent. If anything, it's even more opulent than the Fraeylemaborg which we visited two weeks ago. But what fascinates me most about places like that is the kitchens. It seemed the two castles evolved in the same way, with the oldest parts of the compound being converted into kitchens, and going there takes you right back into the late Middle Ages.
Finding the way out of Uithuizen took us some time, but once we did, getting back was easy. I was exhausted by the time I got home though - it would seem that it only takes one skipped week to lose shape.

Comments (4)

sidsel:

for the people interested in names of strange places, or strange names of places... we have finally been able to make a long distance on roads we haven't cycled on before. So, apart from Warffum and Uithuizen, we've been in places like Doodstil and Fraamklap. Doodstil means, to people who don't know the language of old Groningen, dead quiete. But actually it means Death bridge. In the old days there was a bridge to the cemetary over which they transported there dead. I have no idea what Fraamklap means, maybe Reinder has a suggestion?

john:

a -klap- is a bridge too

john:

a -klap- is a bridge too

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