Barring a few hiccups involving some misses, wrong turns, bumping into each other’s bikes and bags sliding off the carriers it was a smooth sail..People from different parts of the world- France, India, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Peru..(apologies if I missed some)…it was a big group …in all a great experience.
I would let the pictures do the talking in place of words…
Some of us left the place earlier seeing the dark clouds covering the sky swiftly. I, personally had a prior plan to go to Rotterdam for a bar-be-que at a friend’s place. But later came to know that the people who stayed back had some real adventure! Following is the report provided very helpfully by Venkat…:)
And for those who left the group early at Zaanse Schans, you missed the real fun and the most exciting part of the trip :-( It was such a blast that it overshadowed all the fun from the morning. I'll try to summarize it, but no words can capture all the great moments :-) All names are withheld to protect the privacy (and foolishness :-) ) of those involved!
After a nice cup of coffee & appletart at Zaanse Schans, the group started planning their way back to Zaandam station.
Two people tried to be over-smart, saying they are in a hurry and wanted to rush up ahead of the group, on their bikes. They eventually got lost, sent SOS messages and had to be finally rescued by a rescue team.
Meanwhile, not wanting to miss the fun, the main group also got lost, had to knock on some doors and ask for some directions from the ppl in the house, following which the group was back again in Zaanse Schans :-)
Trying a different route this time, the whole group, looking like a pack of confused chicken on the road, waved and stopped any soul passing by and asked for directions!
A bus driver was flagged down (with the bikes, on the road!) and he also gave some directions. (there were some ideas floating around, to wave off the next train passing by and ask for directions from the train driver!!!)
The group got lost again (for the umpteenth time), then asked for directions from a guy in his car, who was kind enough to accompany the group in his car, for a few hundred mtrs, to show a tricky and easy-to-miss-out path.
Not to be outdone with all the help from so many people, the group decided to lose their way and get confused again (what a great bunch of .....)
The group stopped by at a fire-station to say "hi" to a group of bored-looking fire-fighters.The fire-fighters, for a change, instead of dousing fire, were instigating fire in a small bonfire to keep themselves warm (in peak summer! What a country!!!) (Ana: Looks like they were on the right track because T & I also passed by a fire station and asked a bunch of fire-fighters for directions –apparently if they are loitering outside one, they have got to be fire fighters- though we cannot be sure!)
The fire-fighters joined the group in their "Fight for freedom", and gave a few more direction tips!
A few hundred meters ahead the group located the bike-route signs which we should have followed in the morning (so it means the whole day we were in wrong routes and lost :-0)
Just when it looked the group will finally make it to the Zandaam station, the chain/gear system of one of the bikes broke down!
There were some great moments in cutting away the string (with plastic knife) which got entangled in the gear!
While the bike is being repaired, to provide some entertainment to the rest of the bored people, a guy was doing some acrobatics with his bike while talking on his mobile! I was reminded of this advt by Simyo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdANTs-12ZQ
Finally it turned out that the bike could not be repaired and so we had the "Great push of the day", with the guy on his broken bike in the middle and two other on their bikes on either side of him, pushing him all the way to Zaandam station.
There were some rumors that the brakes also broke down in the bike and the "pushing team" tried to push off the guy on his bike, down a steep bridge, but luckily for the guy, it didn't work out !
Finally in Zaandam! The group went for a great dinner in a nice Indonesian restaurant! This was the most uneventful part of the day. But the food was excellent.
It was 11 pm when the dinner was over. Some people took the train to Amsterdam and further on. But there were two crazy guys who thought they'll complete the whole trip on bike and decided to finish the rest of journey from Zaandam to Amsterdam by bike, even though it was raining, dark in the night and no directions :-)
After getting lost around Zaandam centrum (again!!) for about 30 mins, the duo decided to call it a day and hopped on to the next train to Amsterdam. (Ana: Maybe I should opt for another title for this post: Lost, Losing in Zaandam or Lost Cyclists Day out!!)
Curtains down !!!!!
Next time I am going to stay till the end…it would be fun to be a part of such sheer madness and craziness… Keep tuned in more of this!!
In case interested the full set of pics are posted at: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/anamandal/Cycling_Zaan