Car free city Nijmegen – Sunday 28 July

Car free city Nijmegen – Sunday 28 July

Today’s journey was 66 km from Sint Michielsgestel to Nijmegen. It was overcast and cooler again the whole day.

We crossed the Zuid Willemsvaart canal early on. It was very quiet, but there were some passing Sunday Lycra clad cyclist on road bikes. They were very friendly and offered to take our photo on the bike bridge which connects to bike paths along both sides of the canal. Another example of amazing cycling infrastructure in this part of the world.

We hadn’t had breakfast at the hotel, so we stopped at Berlicum to buy a pastry at the Jumbo supermarket. We spoke with a Greek guy who was also sitting eating outside. He pointed out that we could get a complimentary coffee from the supermarket, which we did. He once worked in Carterton (in the Wairarapa) and is now looking for a job in Holland.

Today I decided to take some photos of the gardens that have been fascinating me over the last few days. I cannot get over the Dutch obsession with geometric garden design – all precision clipped hedges and trees. These photos are representative – the first one was taken in Den Dungen and the rest in Nuland (both are suburban towns we passed through).

We rode through the town of Oss. It has very pleasant pedestrian only streets in the central shopping area – this seems to be common practice in many Dutch towns.

Oss town center

Our route took us through Bergham, Ravenstein, and we crossed the Maas river just before Wijchem.

Cycle highway through the countryside
Cycleway on bridge crossing the Maas river

I was keen to visit Nijmegen as it won a cycling city award, and has also closed off its city centre to cars. It did not disappoint – the entire route into the city center was on separated cycle paths.

Sculpture made of bricks
Separated cycle roads (red asphalt) and signage – 5 km to the center

We spent some time around the city center. It is indeed car free. There were a lot of people around, walking and shopping, on bikes and outdoor cafes. It felt very communal and safe – with small children playing freely with a ball in the central square. We had some more coffee and snacks at another Jumbo supermarket – this one had an outdoor seating area. The center is surprisingly hilly – with a challenging hill (for bikes) just behind the church.

Our hotel was a little outside the city center next to the Waal river. There is a lot of development happening next to the river, and the hotel was just on the border of a light industrial zone, in a converted office building. However it was comfortable and had a nice backpacker hipster vibe about it (and our room had air conditioning too!).

Waal river – on the way to our hotel

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