Cycling from Amsterdam to Maastricht through beautiful Dutch countryside, Frederike would normally be found helping the marketing team as an intern, but in June she experienced one of our trips firsthand. Here’s her account of what tours are like during corona times, and what it’s like to take part as a solo traveler.
Hello Frederike! As an intern at Boat Bike Tours you’re normally in the marketing department. Did you gain many new impressions during the trip?
Yes, definitely! Since the tour only took place at the end of my internship, I’d already gained a lot of theoretical insights at the office. It was wonderful to be able to experience the reality up close, with a great crew and many lovely guests.
I bet it was. Did you have a particular highlight?
I can’t decide, there were many beautiful moments. One highlight was the fortress town of Heusden, which is adorned with beautiful bridges and the greenest grass I’ve ever seen. The museum with an old church tower in Cuijk was also beautiful, we watched the sunset from there one evening. I also enjoyed the small town of Thorn. The usually brick Dutch houses are all white here. In the 18th century, there was a tax based on window size. To escape these taxes, the poorer residents bricked up parts of their windows and added a coat of white paint to hide the structural difference. Wilmie, our tour leader, told this story very enthusiastically during the city walk, which is why it stayed in my head.
What were the corona measures like, did you feel restricted?
Absolutely not. The crew were very attentive and made sure that everyone observed the measures. This included disinfecting your hands when boarding the boat, keeping your distance from others and following a prescribed walking direction on board. Breakfast was served at your table, instead of the usual buffet, but none of this affected the mood at all.
The regulations didn’t make you feel strange or lonely, and we had no shortage of fun. The group cycling tours, café stops and city walks all brought our small travel group closer together.
That sounds great! So as a single traveler you found good connections on your journey?
Definitely. Before the trip, I wondered about what the tour would be like without knowing anyone, but my concerns vanished right after check-in. All crew members and other guests were very communicative and welcomed everyone with open arms. There were quite a few other people traveling alone too, so we were literally in the same boat. I found the life stories told in such a small circle especially compelling – everyone has their own. For example, our tour leader Wilmie is also a journalist and we talked a lot about the content of her work.
Do you have any tips for solo travelers?
Yes, I would definitely recommend tours that are guided. This way you’re never alone and you get to know people directly on the bike tour, spending breaks together over a cool drink. It’s a good way to share your impressions and exchange experiences. Being open to the situation and being positive about what awaits you also helps a lot.
That’s great advice! Do you ride your bike a lot?
I would describe myself as more of a recreational cyclist. I usually ride short distances to go shopping, to work or on weekend outings. At the beginning I couldn’t really imagine cycling longer excursions for six days in a row. But with a pair of padded cycling shorts in my luggage that wasn’t a problem either!
Many thanks for your insights, Frederike!