A SHORT ADVENTURE ON TWO WHEELS: ZEALAND, NETHERLANDS.

A couple of weeks before the summer, I bought a new motorcycle. (A Yamaha XV950R, for the enthusiasts.) Since my band had a gig scheduled in the city of Goes on the 28th of July, I immediately started mapping a route, and browsing the net for places to stay, and places to eat.
The route would take us through woods, over quieter roads and along the banks of the river Scheldt almost completely to our destination.
The gig eventually was cancelled, but we decided to proceed as planned, to make it an unforgettable weekend.
Unfortunally the weather did not always agree with us.. Summers in Zealand can be quite tricky. Wind is pretty much a constant, and it can go from clear to grey and back again rather quickly. We experienced some showers during the whole weekend, but nothing to render our trip unpleasant. It was cloudy but dry most of the time.

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Our home for 3 days was Hotel Katoen in Goes.
The building, once used as the city archive, was heavily renovated prior to the hotels’ opening, but retained its historical appeal on the outside. On the inside it has a more industrial look and feel, but remains warm and cozy at the same time. Katoen (cotton) refers to the cotton industry from the old days, so the interior was decorated with subtle hints to that heritage.

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We had booked one of the comfort rooms, with private entrance on the roof.
The room was modern, clean, cosy and the staff was very friendly.
We chose to have our breakfasts at the hotel, and have our other meals at local trip destinations, like we had planned beforehand.

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The first evening, however, we decided to check the menu of Brasserie Katoen, which is attached to the hotel. We found a vegetarian fresh pasta with olives, tomato, basil and smoked paprika. It turned out to be the best pasta we ever ate, probably, maybe…
The restaurant and kitchen staff were very accommodating, and would probably pull a vegan rabbit out of the hat on request. Oh, the cocktails/mocktails were pretty awesome too.

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The next day we strapped ourselves to the motorcycle and headed for Zierikzee.
A relatively small quaint village north of Goes. To get there we had to cross one of the many bridges that connect the islands of Zealand to the mainland in spectacular fashion.
This particular bridge, the Zealandbridge is about 5 km long.
Arriving in Zierikzee we found old buildings, narrow cobbled streets and a very infectious atmosphere. The sun was out, spirits were high.
But we got real hungry, real quick.

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De Zeeuwse Hemel was truly a delight.
The perfect garden backdrop to make some holiday memories over some amazing food.
We shared an avocado filled with hummus, fresh herbs, paprika, spicy ajvar, spring onion and lime. Sooooo good! Gimme more please.
And for main we chose a sweet carrot curry with smoked tofu, almonds, chili, coriander seeds and ginger served over lentle rice, oatmeal cream and nigella seeds.

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Helmets fastened, gloves on, backpack secured. On to Middelburg, The capital of Zeeland. To get there, we had to cross another marvel of Dutch engineering. One of the most impressive flood barriers of the entire Delta Works Project are located in Zealand: the Oosterscheldekering (Eastern Scheldt Barrier). Some call it the Eighth Wonder of the World. The towers and gates can be closed when water levels are dangerously high. The Delta Works were built after the flood disaster of 1953.
It’s really impressive, but remember: crosswinds can make it pretty hairy on the bike!
We arrived at our next stop in the afternoon and decided to park the bike, and discover the town on foot.  Middelburg is known as a monumental town with a wealth of historical buildings. The facades reflect, some even glow, their former wealth. Today, a rich blend of events, shops, bars and restaurants make it a lively place. A nice town to wander around. Which we did. After the obligatory chillax-break, with some ginger ale, and a little nacho dish with tomato salsa, we continued and made our way through the smaller streets and marketplaces to find Stoom.

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Stoom is hard to describe. It’s located in the trainstation of Middelburg. A lot of people coming through, for a quick bite or a coffee to go. Most items on their menu are either vegan or vegetarian, which might seem a little strange in this setting. We couldn’t be happier about it though.
We decided on the ‘grilled seitan filet on a bed of wokked veggies with bio fries, vegan mayo and a side salad’ for her, and the ‘soy sauce marinated seitan skewers with relish, and the same bio fries, vegan mayo and side salad’ for me.
The atmosphere in the restaurant was not that cosy (It is a BIG place), but the delicious food and friendly staff more than made up for that. This place is certainly worth revisiting, since there are so many vegan options on the menu.

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The weather forecast and threatening clouds helped us decide to leave for the hotel, to beat the incoming rain showers, but still we caught about 10 minutes of rain. Nothing a hot shower and a change of clothes wouldn’t cure though.
Back at the hotel bar we once again indulged in cocktails, while remeniscing the eventful day.

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On the last day of our trip we took our time with breakfast, and packed our stuff back in the saddle bags. We left for home around noon, made a few stops on the way, spotted some kite surfers and large ships, and arrived home with the plan to start this blog.

 

Kristof.

If you want to share any suggestions for motorcycle trips in Europe, or want to reply to this article, click here.

 

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