From Amsterdam to Venice for European solidarity and slow traveling

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary adventures! We are cycling from Amsterdam, the Netherlands to Venice, in Italy, without any motorized support. Why? Firstly, as a Dutch-Italian couple who saw the misunderstanding between the Dutch and the Italian governments rise during the pandemic, we want to create an ideal bridge between the two countries in days in which stereotypes, prejudices and misinformation on both sides undermine relationships and hamper European-wide solidarity. Secondly, we want to show the beauty of slow (and green) traveling—a type of traveling that offers the possibility of knitting friendships along the way.

Who are we? We are a Dutch-Italian couple based in Amsterdam. Both academics, we work for the University of Amsterdam. To travel in style, this trip is sponsored by Terre Lente, a Jordaan-based shop specialized in organic and slavery-free products from small-scale farms in Calabria in southern Italy. You can also follow our adventure on Instagram (@stefonalgonquin) and Twitter (@annliffey and @JoelvdWeele)… and of course on Strava (where you can find the cycling maps, too).

[ITA]  Tempi straordinari richiamano avventure straordinarie! Pedaleremo da Amsterdam a Venezia senza alcun supporto motorizzato. Perché? Oltre alla nostra passione per la bicicletta, ci sono anche due ragioni ben più serie. In primo luogo, come coppia italo-olandese che ha visto sorgere l’incomprensione tra governo olandese e italiano durante la pandemia, vogliamo creare un ponte ideale tra i due paesi in giorni difficili in cui stereotipi, pregiudizi e disinformazione da entrambe le parti minano la relazione tra i due paesi e, per di più, mettono a dura prova la solidarietà all’interno dell’Unione Europea. In secondo luogo, vogliamo (di)mostrare la bellezza del viaggio lento (e amico dell’ambiente): un tipo di viaggio che inoltre offre la possibilità di tessere relazioni lungo il percorso.

[NL] Buitengewone tijden vragen om buitengewone avonturen! We fietsen van Amsterdam, Nederland naar Venetië, in Italië, zonder enige gemotoriseerde ondersteuning. Waarom? Naast onze liefde voor de fiets zijn er twee, serieuzere redenen. Ten eerste willen we als Nederlands-Italiaans echtpaar dat tijdens de pandemie het misverstand tussen het Nederlandse en Italiaanse bestuur zag toenemen, een brug slaan  tussen beide landen. Dit is van beland in tijden waarin stereotypen, vooroordelen en desinformatie aan beide kanten de relatie tussen de twee landen en, meer nog, solidariteit in heel Europa ondermijnen. We willen dat onze twee landen vrede sluiten! Ten tweede willen we de schoonheid van langzaam (en groen) reizen laten zien – een soort reizen dat de mogelijkheid biedt om onderweg vriendschappen te sluiten.

Stage 1: Amsterdam-Oosterbeek (120K)

Finally, the start of our adventure! We cycled the 120K between Amsterdam and Oosterbeek with wind in the back and criss-crossing amazing natural areas, including sand dunes and riverine banks. You gotta love the Dutch network of cycling paths! We stopped in Driebergen for a pancake lunch (so very Dutch!) with Joël’s dad, and concluded the evening at Joël’s mum with a birthday celebration and a pizza in the garden. Bliss!

Stage 2: Oosterbeek-Venlo (103K)

A very pleasant cycling day along the rivers Rhine and Maas with wind in the back all day. The highlight was the spectacular Millingerwaard, an ecologically restored riverine landscape. And lunch: we cooked a risotto al limone looking at a herd of happy cows running on the other side of the canal.