Hostel Stay in Noordwijk aan Zee

After two days in Amsterdam I was actually looking forward to get out of the large city. I quite like Utrecht but Amsterdam is just too big for my taste. Although I did not feel as threatened by cars compared to Bonn, I had a very close encounter with other cyclists and especially scooters several times a day. The cycling infrastructure here is much better than in Bonn, but the perceived reckless drivers stresses me out.

I took the national cycling route LF20 from Amsterdam to Haarlem (to Noordwijk).

There were not as many people as in the city of Amsterdam. The bike paths are usually wide enough that two people fit next to each other even with oncoming traffic. As the route goes near Schiphool airport there were many planes in the air and it was not exactly quiet.

Then from Haarlem to Noordwijk I took the route LF1. This went through dunes most of the time and was very relaxing after two days in the busy city.

After I had passed the city of Zandvoort I got to see the North Sea. The bike route then went through some large park behind the dams such that one could not see the sea any more.

Noordwijk aan Zee

On the fifth day I did around 55 km ob my bike and arrived in Noordwijk. It is a smaller town and it seems to be focused on tourism. There are many hotels in the front row behind the dunes. From the license plates on the cars this town seems so be frequented mostly by Dutch nationals but also a fair share of German and a few Belgian tourists. The German license plates are mostly from the Ruhrgebiet which is no surprise due to the proximity.

The beach seems clean and not as full of tourist attractions as I had on my last trip to Mallorca. As it likely is much too cold to go swimming anyway, I did not even try.

Unfortunately the weather got pretty rainy towards the evening of the fifth day, therefore I went just for a little walk along the beach.

The next morning I had breakfast at the hostel (Flying Pig Beach Hostel) as it was included in the booking. It is a rather small hostel, so there was just one table and we got taking. There are people from at least Italy, Australia, USA, England. They talked about the amount of alcohol they had consumed in the past days. Then later we talked about speeds on highways and interstates.

As there were a few other computer and science enthusiasts at the table, the conversation derailed towards physics. A few minutes in a really stoned guy came in. The hostel has a smoking room where one can smoke anything I was told on check-in. The other guests then told me that he had been like this for several days now. He then chimed into the conversation with statements like "time is instantaneous" or "Einstein was wrong because he wasn't good enough at math". Einstein actually said that he did not understand his theory of general relativity any more after the mathematicians worked on it. But with the recent discovery of gravitational waves I highly doubt that Einstein "was wrong". And that bloke could also not further explain what instantaneous time is about. But he rambled on about us being connected with quantum entanglement. A couple minutes later he threw in "blockchain" and I started to get a hunch of the workings of his mind. I added "quantum field theory" and "string vibrations" to the mix and he believed that he could feel the string vibrations in his brain.

I thought that it could not become less serious, but then a second person joined the conversation talking about mathematics, the very concept of zero and how it leads to anti-gravity. With the feeling that I could not contribute anything to this conversation on that level, I finished breakfast and left for Leiden.

On the bike trip to there I found some lost traveler who did not understand the by-pass around a construction site. As he also headed for Leiden, we stayed together until we reached the city. He is from Florence, Italy and looking for a place to stay in Leiden to study Chinese at the University.

The amount of German chatter on the streets of Noordwijk reminds me of Zeeland where there are a lot of German tourists. In the grocery store I heard one woman addressing the cashier in German right away. Sure, they likely speak German there but isn't that still rude?

The seventh day was blessed with good weather. After the trip to Leiden spend the evening on the beach and got a beautiful sunset: