14degrees off the beaten track
home | about | route | blog | photo gallery | vids | gear | FAQ | links | contact | PRESS | 14degrees off the beaten track in Japanese

July 28th, 2007 | categorizilation: all categories,The Netherlands (Holland)

« Previous Day                                                                                                   Next Day »

Upon hearing that there would be people riding horses and playing with long spears in the middle of town today, I was hoping for some good old fashioned blood and guts gladiator-type entertainment. The lack of such gore was made up by the sheer skill of the local heroes ‘spearing’ their lances through impossibly small rings at full gallop.

Jousting skill on display in Vlissingen, The Netherlands

There were hundreds of horses in the open square, and as many riders. Only one person can be crowned champion, so as each group of riders completes a round, the rings get progressively smaller, with the best riders aiming their lances at rings as small as 15mm in diameter.

Jousting skill on display in Vlissingen, The Netherlands

The event seemed like an important happening on the local calendar, and attracts a big audience. The winners of each age and skill category were awarded with a trophy, and a bit of good old fashioned life threatening throwing and catching, done by highly skilled riders, their strength augemented by a good dosage of beer which was consumed in as large a quantity as their control over their lance would allow during the course of the competition.


We rode the few kilometers from the Harwig’s place to town on bicycles. Wim and I on recumbents. It was a great feeling to be on a recumbent again. Wim is on his lowrider that he uses to commute to work – a solid 20km each way commute. The bike is stainless steel with a spacious fairing at the back made from plywood. Great for the flat cycle paths of Holland.

Wim on his lowracer recumbent in Vlissingen, The Netherlands

Topping off the afternoon out was another delicious Dutch delight – Olieballs. The dictionary translation is ‘donut balls’. Donut dough cooked in a ball. No wonder the Dutch are so fond of their bicycles – you need a good dose of exercise after some of their food.

Olieballs - donut balls - a Dutch delight eaten in Vlissingen, The Netherlands

« Previous Day                                                                                                   Next Day »

    Permanent Link     Comments (4)

Comment by Aunty Les — July 30, 2007 @ 5:02 pm | post a comment

When do you head over to the UK? There's a couple of NZers keen to meet up with you there: Kelly-Jean Kerr and Mike Allard. e've just discovered that Kelly-Jeans granmother used to work for Nana and Granddad in the grocery shop years ago. NZ is a small country!

Comment by Shaun Morrison — August 1, 2007 @ 6:42 am | post a comment

Hi Rob

Myself and my girlfriend have been silent readers of your blog from the beginning. I live in Brighton, UK (about 40 miles south of London). Brighton is on the coast, it's super kitsch with it's pier and it's the gay capital of the UK. The South Downs (between London and Brighton) are the quite lovely as you roll over them on your human-powered vehicle of choice. We're wondering if you'd like to stay with us for a couple of days? You're welcome to come anytime, but the weekend is best as we're both free from the shackles of full-time work.

Whaddaya say?


(I tried to email you this message, but I it just bounced back – dunno why)

Comment by wim harwig — August 1, 2007 @ 3:39 pm | post a comment

Hi Rob,

Congrets with your new record (103 km's on one day). Hope you don't mind that I uploaded a small part of your presentation on my blog ;-)

Take care !

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 1, 2007 @ 11:42 pm | post a comment

@ Wim – Ha! No worries. It looks good.

Leave a comment

* required fields