Hey, traveller: Get up early for once!

Cycling in Zeeland is cycling on the border between land and sea. Ride outside the dikes, along the Westerschelde, and marvel as the massive container ships headed to Antwerp pass by. Cycle up and down the dunes around Renesse or take in the North Sea and the Zeeland-Flanders landscape along the coastal cycle path between Breskens and Cadzand-Bad. Everyone who regularly explores Zeeland from the back of a bike can confirm that Zeeland is tremendously diverse and special: you can follow the same route again, but the scenery will be completely different every time!

Part of VVV Zeeland is the route desk, where we work hard to answer the question of how we can make cycling in Zeeland even more fun! We also coordinate the maintenance of the multi-hub cycle route network. If we only wanted to talk about what makes cycling in Zeeland unique, you could put the text above in a brochure. But just today I thought to myself that cycling in Zeeland is so much more than cycling on the border between land and sea.

I am fortunate enough to be able to make my journey from home in Oost-Souburg to our office in Domburg by bicycle. Just as I do every day, I stepped on my bike at 7 a.m. this morning to head towards Domburg. Across Walcheren, through hamlets like Hoogelande, Poppendamme and Mariekerke, encountering almost no cars along the way. While most holidaymakers are still tucked up in bed or having a leisurely breakfast, the landscape is already coming to life. A cruise ship on its way to Middelburg passes by the swing bridge in Oost-Souburg while most of its passengers still snore in their cabins. The landscape is at its best in the early morning: the sun is just beginning its slow climb over the horizon and it paints this morning’s sky a light pink over Middelburg. The meadows are literally teeming with pheasants, while rabbits dart to and fro, chasing each other through the shrubbery. You might be lucky enough to see a couple of roe deer in the early morning, or perhaps a bird of prey on a fence, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

Nature is not the only beauty to be found on an early morning bike ride. The first farmers are already busy in their fields, sheep and lambs still lay calm in the meadows, and large groups of schoolchildren travel like a slowly moving caterpillar through the countryside, riding towards the city. While I cycle along, I think about all those people who will be cycling later today in Zeeland and who will miss this daily spectacle because a holiday is just a time to relax and sleep in. If you spend a few days in Zeeland, set your alarm clock and get up early at least one morning. Climb on your bike to discover this side of our province!

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