10530
Netherlands/Belgium
A Cycling Journey: Bike and Barge in Holland and Belgium
From your floating home on a river barge, set out on a bicycle journey through lovely, historic towns to discover the local history, culture and art of Holland and Belgium.
Program No. 10530RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
4,399
Flights start at
1,075
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16 days
15 nights
29 meals
14 B 1 L 14 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive, Transfer to Utrecht, Bicycle Fitting, Welcome Dinner
Utrecht
L,D
Fiep

Activity note: Motorcoach time: 1 hour; Barging time: 4.5 hours; Biking distance: There will be no biking today which provides an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate after your international flight. Please note that the barge does not move at night and only motors during the day.

Morning: Transfer to the picturesque village of Zaanse Schans just north of Amsterdam. We will visit a klompenmaker and observe the art of wooden shoe production.

Lunch: Enjoy an authentic taste of the Netherlands at a village restaurant located in an 18th-century grain barn. The restaurant specializes in Dutch-style pancakes, savory or sweet treats, which can measure almost a foot in diameter, and often eaten as a main course.

Afternoon: We proceed by motorcoach to the barge and then motor to Utrecht. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. The Group Leader will often be available during scheduled free time for informal excursions, activities, or meals that have been excluded from the program cost. You are welcome to join if you like, with any associated costs on your own. Upon arrival in Utrecht, bicycles will be fitted to the participant and skill testing will take place. Please be aware that indicated motorcoach and barging times as well as biking distances are approximate and that program activities and schedules could change due to local circumstances such as weather, traffic conditions, etc. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Aboard the barge, enjoy a three-course set menu featuring tasty local cuisine with coffee, tea or water. Other beverages are available for purchase that can be charged to your tab and settled prior to departure with cash (in Euros only) on the last night on board.

Evening: At leisure. The evening is free to continue becoming acquainted with your fellow participants or relax aboard the barge. Get a good night's sleep for the full day tomorrow.

DAY
3
Barge to Schoonhoven, Kinderdijk, Willemstad, Dutch History
Willemstad
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: 23 miles; Barging time: 2 hours

Breakfast: Aboard the barge, the breakfast buffet will offer a variable hot entrée each day as well as meats, cheeses, eggs, yogurt, cereals, breads, juices, and hot beverages.

Morning: After a hearty breakfast, we will present a lecture on safety, rules of the road and the IBT Corner System as you barge to Schoonhoven, a town known for its silversmiths. Then bicycle to Kinderdijk for an unbelievable view of a row of windmills along the dike.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Board the barge in Dordrecht and continue on to Willemstad. Before dinner, attend a lecture on the history of the Netherlands.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure. Your evenings are free to spend time with new Road Scholar friends, relax or go exploring on your own.

DAY
4
Medieval Bergen op Zoom Lecture, Zeeland, Barge to Antwerp
Antwerp
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: 27 miles; Barging time: 2 hours

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Bicycle from Willemstad to the medieval town of Bergen op Zoom. There is even a Dutch song named for the town.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Attend a lecture on the history and traditions of the medieval town of Bergen op Zoom. Bicycle along a dike to the locks and board the barge which will continue on through the province of Zeeland, to Antwerp, Belgium.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
History of Antwerp Lecture, Free Time, Belgian History
Antwerp
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: no biking

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Explore Antwerp, the diamond capital of Belgium. A lecture on the city's history is followed by a field trip to the elegant guild houses of the 16th century and the cathedral, home to three of Rubens' works, including his masterpiece, Deposition.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free Time: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Antwerp. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Try French fries with a platter of mussels - nothing is more Belgian! Sample one of the many beers brewed by monks; it is not likely you'll find these brands stateside. Before dinner, attend a lecture on Belgian history.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Barge the Albert Canal, Heather Fields, Hasselt
Hasselt
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: 24 miles; Barging time: 4.5 hours

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Depart Antwerp by barge via the Albert Canal, a busy commercial hub. Learn about the governing and operation of the canal's locks as the barge cruises into the Kempen, a peaceful region of moors, heather fields and forests.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: After lunch (which might be a picnic!), bicycle on a quiet trail along the Albert Canal to Hasselt.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Hasselt Field Trip & Lecture, Dutch Gin, Maastricht
Maastricht
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: 26 miles

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Explore Hasselt and learn about the 12th-century cathedral with its 18th-century tower, as well as the patrician houses on the big square, which date to the 1600s and have names such as "The Pelican" and "The Sword."

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Before leaving Hasselt, look into the town's specialty: Dutch gin, which has nothing to do with the Dutch, but that's what the Belgians call it. You may not want to try this drink during the day as there is still a way to bicycle to Maastricht after crossing the border into the Netherlands.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Maastricht Field Trip, Lecture, Free Time
Maastricht
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: no biking

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Discover the beautifully preserved city of Maastricht. Learn about its Roman roots through a lecture and field trip. Explore the Gothic St. Servaas Church and Hellgate, the only gate left from 1229.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free Time: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Maastricht. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Don't miss the chance to sample beer, gin or a hot chocolate at one of the many terraces.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Barge to Born, Thorn, Limburg Province, Roermond
Roermond
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Barging time: 3 hours; Biking distance: 24 miles

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Barge to Born via the Juliana Canal, where you disembark at the locks. From here, bicycle to Thorn, the White Village on Belgium's border known for its patterned cobblestone streets and white painted houses. The only non-white building is the 14th-century church.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Pleasant biking as we enjoy the homes around us with their little gardens and the owners' cars parked in front (not many homes have a garage). You'll note that cars in the Netherlands tend to be smaller than those in the USA.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Venlo, Sint-Martinuskerk, Limburg's Forest, Arcen
Arcen
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: 30 miles

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Bicycle to Venlo, an ancient city dating back to the Romans. As you explore, notice the many different Dutch dialects, including the local Limburg dialect with its soft "g" sounds.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Before leaving Venlo, visit the 17th-century Sint-Martinuskerk, home to an exquisite Baroque pulpit, 20th-century stained glass windows, and a tower that was rebuilt after World War II. The journey continues, mostly on bike trails and through some forest, to Arcen.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Arcen Castle Gardens, Paddestoelen, Cuyk
Cuyk
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: 31 miles

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: The day starts in Arcen with a field trip to the gardens at the local castle. Today’s trip takes us close to the German border. Don’t look for any customs people, either here or in Belgium; the Europeans have done away with border checkpoints years ago.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: The Netherlands has more bicycle paths than any country in the world and all are marked by road signs in the form of paddestoelen, or mushrooms, which have a number on top corresponding to a detailed bicycle road map, as well as directions to nearby towns. End the day in Cuyk on the Maas River.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Brabant, Locks of Lith, Binnendieze Boat Tour, Den Bosch
Den Bosch
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: 18 miles; Barging time: 3 hours

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: In the province of Brabant, explore small villages, taking in the local customs and well-tended homes. Gardening is big in the Netherlands and it shows!

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Barge to the Locks of Lith before ending the day with a ride into Den Bosch, where the painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) lived and worked. The cathedral is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture, including its devil-shaped gargoyles. Explore the canals of Den Bosch with a boat ride through the medieval Binnendieze, traveling underneath the city. Later, explore more of the capital of the province of Brabant.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Heusden, Loevestein Castle, Gorinchem, Vianen
Vianen
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: 25 miles; Barging time: 3 hours

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Through a lecture and excursion, explore the walled-town of Heusden, then continue on to an exploration of the well-preserved Loevestein Castle, which was built in 1357.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: From the castle, cross by ferry to Gorinchem and see a 16th-century Gothic tower, slightly leaning to one side. Continue by barge to Vianen to stay for the night.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Vecht River, Barge to Amsterdam
Amsterdam
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Barging time: 2 hours; Biking distance: 11 miles

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Enjoy one last ride on your two-wheeler from Breukelen, located on the River Vecht, to Nigtevegt before we motor toward Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: After lunch we meet up with our barge and relax on deck as we motor to Amsterdam, our final destination.

Dinner: Aboard the barge.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Amsterdam's Canals, Free Time, Farewell Dinner
Amsterdam
B,D
Fiep

Activity note: Biking distance: no biking

Breakfast: Aboard the barge.

Morning: Your Group Leader leads you on a journey along Amsterdam's canals to the city center. The Amstel River is crossed by several canals, lined with beautiful 16th- and 17th-century homes with a variety of different gable styles.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free Time: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Amsterdam. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. If you haven’t already been there, venture to the Anne Frank House or the Rijksmuseum. If you want to relax, seek out one of the local cafés to sip a Heineken or cup of coffee while watching the locals.

Dinner: Recap your adventures and share your favorite memories with your fellow participants tonight at our farewell dinner aboard the barge. Get a good night's sleep and prepare for departure in the morning.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Motorcoach time: 30 minutes

Breakfast: Aboard the barge. This concludes our program.

Morning: Morning transfer to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for departures. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!