Dan’s Holland Travel Journal
Traveling with Euro-Bike & Walking Tours
It is really quite amazing when you think about it, I have been in the adventure travel business for what seems like forever, yet I had never been to Europe. When Austin Adventures joined forces with Euro-Bike & Walking Tours and inherited their bike tours in Holland, it was the perfect time for me to cross the pond. I decided to jump on the “Taste of Holland” bike tour with our European Director, Ron van Dijk.
From the minute I arrived in Amsterdam, I knew that this would not be my only trip to Europe and I couldn’t wait to return. There is just something special about it all. I am not sure if it is the warmth of the people or the extensive history or both.
There is an old saying (OK so those that know me, know I have a million of them) – “The Cobbler has no Shoes.” This could not be more fitting for me, as I rarely (read never) just get to go on vacation and leave the details to someone else. Well that was not the case on this trip; from the moment Ron and his co-guide partner Anneka picked me up, I knew this would be different. They picked me up in the classic European Sprinter van for the short shuttle to the coastal town of Noordwijk to kick off the next 4 days of bike riding. Ron immediately impressed me with his vast knowledge and easy way of covering centuries of history. Being from Montana, I often think of history starting, oh say, 200 years ago… I was definitely a fish out of water and quickly learned that I was going to spend the next week immersing myself in several thousands of years rich with world history.
We biked through some amazing “villages,” along endless fields of Tulips (and other incredible flowers), saw the classic windmills and in general biked through expansive countryside and quaint villages. One thing you quickly learn is that Europeans are way ahead of us yanks and have adapted well to the preferred method of transportation: BIKING. Everywhere you look, everyone is on bike!
Dinners (and all meals) were an over the top affair, whether it was the classic Dutch dish or the more elaborate French influenced cuisine, it was all some of the best I have experienced.
What really came to light in the week spent with Ron, his guides and guests, is that while we were visiting a totally new continent for me, we had true common ground in the way we looked at the adventure travel business. It was easy for me to see that we share the same passion for customer service and the same passion for sharing our world with others. I have liked Ron ever since I first met him some 12 years ago at one of the many travel shows we both attended, but the friendship is now stronger than ever! We found ourselves finishing sentences for each other and laughing at all the parallels between our companies and ourselves. I cannot wait to host Ron and his family in Montana. We are working on that!