Last year it was strimmers, this it’s festivals!

Posted by on 10, Jul 2012 in 2012 - The Last Dictator Tour (Belarus & Russia), Benelux

Last year it was strimmers, this it’s festivals!

IMG-20120710-00040Last year we seemed to be followed around by a man with a strimmer who, at about 7am every morning would start strimming right outside the van. We’re not sure if it was the same man and we had somehow acquired the weirdest stalker of all time or we were unlucky, but this year we seem to be following the hippy trail!

You may recall that we had decided to head to Gorinchem to repack and have a rest as it really is a lovely small town and the camperplaats is right on the Harbour. Well the weekend we arrived the place was full of VW camper vans – not the camperplaats but the whole town. There was the Hippy festival tent, bands and food and it all kicked off about 9:30 pm about our bedtime at the moment… Fortunately the people next door to us – a lovely Dutch couple had earlier in the evening brought a bottle of what can only be described as French brandy watered down with French wine and to be honest we could both have slept on stage without batting an eye lid by the time they went and the bottle had been drained. We did wake up just as the concert was finishing around 2am and couldn’t quite work out if the thump thump was the band or our heads so we took no chances, downed the paracetamol and went back to sleep.

As we couldn’t face the music without the alcoholic anaesthetic, and we couldn’t face the alcohol because of the hangovers we decided to move on to avoid the Hippy festival climax concert on Saturday night to a lovely peaceful village in the middle of nowhere. Naturally the village, which was about 8 houses, 2 horses a garage and a dog had arranged an outdoor pop concert that evening with fireworks! Time for some more brandy…

Whilst in Gorinchem and not under the influence of the brandy we had had to visit a bike shop to have some work done on Tilly. The dutch take their bikes seriously, so seriously that the hourly rate for repairs was more than that for the mechanic who worked on Taffy the other day! But Tilly, now sporting newly a extended handlebar and a front wheel that should no longer fall off, was the easiest to ride that we’ve ever found – well worth the visit.

Of course whilst waiting for Tilly we had to have a look around the bike shop the bikes on show are a different beast to English bikes, they favour the sit up and beg style, sturdy heavy bikes and Sturmey archer style gears, Tilly weighs about 20kg, their tandems around 35kg. Electric bikes are hugely popular too with many older people possessing them and styles and fashion change each year with every maker launching glossy car like brochures for their glossy car like prices. Many normal bikes cost over £2000 and the average bike sees to be around £1000 and if you want electric add another £1200! I suppose as they cycle on average 1000km a year each (compared to the UK’s 70km) then buying a good bike is important, but how they find them in the bike racks is anyones guess. At Waterloo Station in London there are 300 spaces for bikes but at Utrecht there are 20,000!

But its time to leave and move on to Germany to collect our documents for Belarus.

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