Ok, we cheated and caught the bus back, it was wet!

Marken was very pretty in the rain, it would have been glorious in the sunshine.

We headed back to the bus stop via the wooden shoe factory.

The persistent drizzle had turned into a downpour by the time we reached Amsterdam. We had a plan…. we’d take the bikes to meet their relatives at Brompton Junction. The shop opened in April and John was keen to visit. Apparently, one Brompton is not enough particularly if there’s a lightweight titanium frame on offer. Our bikes were welcomed in with open arms, despite dripping water on the stylish wooden floor, and we were warmed up with tea and coffee. An added bonus was the offer to carry out a recall on Kim’s bike – that’s saved a trip into Hitchin when we get back.

By the time we left, we’d dried out and daylight was fading fast. We decided we needed to see ‘the prettiest street in Amsterdam’.

Next stop a coffee shop, while we decided whether we’d head back to Haarlem or send Kim into the red light district. As we debated, we noticed there was something wrong with the houses opposite….

We cycled past the long queues of people waiting to get into Anne Frank’s house. Our final stop was De Wallen, the medieval city centre, which is crossed by canals, little bridges and narrow alleyways and a real contrast to all the lovely villages and towns we have seen in the last couple of days. The red light district, which is a large part De Wallen, felt sordid and unpleasant which was a shame because the city is so pretty……. and flat which is a huge bonus for a lazy cyclist.

Our final challenge of the day was returning to Haarlem on a rush hour train. We survived and Kim decided Thameslink trains were probably nicer. Who’d have thought that?