Amsterdam to Southampton by Cruise Ship and onwards to Weymouth days 55 to 59 4th to 8th September 2012

The cycle route from Southampton to Weymouth

The Downloads:

Downloads for this route in Garmin Google Earth and .GPX formats

The files are in .zip format. They need to be unzipped and saved to a directory of your choice. You can then load them into the appropriate application and GPS.

The Blog

Amsterdam to Weymouth

Day 55 4th September Day Off in Amsterdam (Day ND 15)

The management still seems to be recovering from several days of activity. He could easily have stayed in bed. The stoker on the other hand, who has far more problems, including coping with that management, was raring to go. As a compromise we took the guide book's advice and did a boat tour of the canals.

This also involved a long walk through the city taking in the red light district and Chinatown. We suppose we were conditioned by TV programmes to expect a peaceful place. This lovely sunny day it was more like anarchy with cars, commercial vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians all vying for the same space.

Despite all the hype the red light district was at least as seedy as London's West End was in the 1970s and without its charm. Pimps of one kind or another are still exploiting women and girls. As are some of their customers who also leave themselves open to exploitation. It is a grotty trade and should not be legal.

It was pleasant to be on the trip boat, enjoying the architecture and the history of Amsterdam away from the crowds. The stoker thinks that the management stayed awake almost the whole time.

We were staying in a beautifully designed basement conversion. It was in a quiet street near to one of the canals carrying lots of small boat traffic. It was perfect for us. We could sit in the sun and watch the boats go by and get all we needed within a couple of minutes walk. A little further away there was a huge flea market. Perhaps if we had had more time we could have looked at the travelling collection of impressionist paintings.

Days 56 and 57 5th and 6th September Amsterdam to Southampton via Celebrity Constellation (Days ND 16 and 17)

We had agreed with Guido that a departure time of 12noon was fine. So a leisurely morning was in store, re-packing for the voyage. The management walked the five minutes to collect the tandem and trailer which were in a manned and secure underground bike park near the University. Guido had kindly found this for us and there are a number of others in Amsterdam. We had to pay 50cents because we left it unmoved for over 24 hours. Had we used it within the 24 hours then the secure storage would have been free.

Cycling the 15 minutes through Amsterdam centre was much less chaotic than the unpleasant ride in. There were fewer cyclists and the management had learned not to give them the kind of consideration he usually gives. It was the HGV technique, if you run into us you will come off worse. And it worked. And the stoker was happy.

Portland Port will be surprised to learn that we cycled right up to the smart departure building without being stopped by a single officious security guard. We dismantled the tandem in the foyer of the building with the friendly support of the cruise reception staff.

For anyone else doing this it is worth knowing that these staff are almost certainly employed by sub contractors to get people and their luggage onboard the ships. They are not interested in the ship's rules and regulations. Putting a bagged bike on board is no problem to them as long as you don't make it one. And once it is gone it is gone.

Once onboard the bags were delivered to our cabin and if anything fitted in better than into our cabin on the Queen Mary. The service level was similar. There was somehow a subtle difference in that the quality was just a little lower. The more unpleasant difference was that though both companies are US owned this one is overtly so whereas there is some restraint on the Queen Mary. Despite this emphasis on being American there were in fact few on board. Passengers were generally younger on this ship with more interesting tattoos.

We had a lovely evening until dinner cruising out of the estuary from Amsterdam. The next day we sat in the, almost too warm, sunshine outside in the bow on the highest deck. Just before lunch we passed through the Straits of Dover. It was fascinating to watch the many ships around us, cargo and ferry traffic, and the skill required to navigate safely.

After such a leisurely time it is hoped that the management will be up to two long hilly days cycling in the UK without nanny.

Day 58 7th September Southampton to Bournemouth (Day ND 18)

It could not have been a lovelier cycling day, blue sky, not too hot and virtually no wind. We breakfasted at 8am overlooking Southampton from deck 10. It was 9am when we left our ferry and by 10am we were cycling towards the small Hythe ferry.

We had our last view of the Celebrity Constellation as we crossed Southampton Water. We were soon cycling uphill out of Hythe and down again to cross the Beaulieu River before climbing again over the moors to Brockenhurst. Here we sat in the sun and enjoyed a pot of real English tea. Our last real tea bag had been used some time ago and since then barbarian tea had been rejected.

Road cycling in the New Forest is best avoided due to bad traffic management. The east of the forest is especially bad but after tea it was slightly better as we were in the west of the forest. That is until we reached Christchurch which has a reputation even in backward Dorset for poor cycle facilities. Here an impatient motorist blew her horn at us twice for no reason. We were back in the UK.

By late afternoon we were sweating up the chine to stay with our friends Corinna and David in Bournemouth. We had a great celebratory dinner and they very kindly put us up for the night in comfort.

Day 59 8th September Bournemouth to Weymouth (Day ND 19)

Our very last day and Corinna and David gave us a nice breakfast before seeing us off into the wide roads of leafy Bournemouth. Even here we were still subject to the incomprehensible incompetence of the British motorist. As has become common one idiot decided to overtake us on a blind corner. He met someone coming the other way and then of course almost took us out to avoid hitting the other car. He was a middle aged man driving a normal family car. He was not driving fast but like so many here drove with a criminal lack of care, attention and skill which we have not seen for the last two months.

We passed quickly, in fact briskly for us, beside a rather misty Poole Harbour and were soon through Poole and on the tracks through Upton Park. We were not looking forward to the next bit, the notorious 6km section of narrow main road between Bakerís Arms and Wareham. The only alternative is lengthy and hilly, we knew we would miss Nanny here more than anywhere else.

As it happened we were among the very few road users who were in luck. As we joined the road at the huge unfriendly roundabout we saw that the traffic was almost at a standstill and so it remained for the next 6km. All we had to do was pedal steadily down the centre as the oncoming traffic was also jammed up. It was much easier than avoiding lorries, caravans etc.

Once in Wareham we were on home territory as we often cycle the roads between here and Weymouth but seldom in such lovely weather. After lunch in the shade at Moreton we were soon pedalling slowly up our final obstacle, Broadmayne Hill, which climbs the downs.

By now we were weary but were revived by the wide and beautiful view from White Nothe to Abbotsbury including the whole of Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour. We also unexpectedly met and had a long chat with our friends and neighbours Anne and Willy, who told us all about their visit to Box Hill to see the Olympic road races.

We enjoyed the descent into Weymouth and the ride along Preston Beach. We still had to climb over Greenhill but at least the Rodwell Trail now has our own bridge making the last part of our Northern Summer ride a doddle.