7 nights/8 days shared room $1700 per per person. You must have a roommate to book this trip as there are no private room options. Trip dates are July 16th-23rd 2022. Two countries, Holland and Belgium, united in one bike and barge route. Combining the highlights of Holland’s Golden Age and the heydays of the Flemish trade cities in the Middle Ages. The Dutch 17th century Golden Age and the heyday of the Flemish trading cities of the Middle Ages are united in this route. Notice the big difference between the green polder landscape abounding in water, with its tranquil roads and villages and the old world of islands in Zeeland with its pastures, creeks, winding dikes and dams. On top of that the often so picturesque Flemish countryside between the Belgian monumental cities of Ghent and Bruges. The great rivers are a prominent feature in this part of the Netherlands and Belgium. This cycling holiday is suited for everyone and people of all ages. On virtually flat terrain, with distances up to 50 kilometers. You spend about 3-4 hours on your bicycle. We make several stops to explore the countryside. Should you not feel like biking one day simply stay on the boat and relax. If you enjoy laughing, dancing, light cycling, exploring, and adventure then this trip is for you. Please no drama queens or kings!!! Bring a friend or family member, but make sure they are fun! Details can be found in the itinerary.
August 16th- Arrival
You are expected to arrive on our barge "The Sailing Home" on Saturday the latest at 2 PM. The barge needs to leave the mooring place in Amsterdam at 2.15 PM. It is very important you are on time. The barge can’t wait due the opening hours of bridges and/or locks.
When you arrive on board the ship, you can put your luggage away in your cabin and then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. It is also a good moment to become acquainted with the guide, skipper and crew and of course your fellow passengers.
July 17th: Oude Wetering - Gouda
From Oude Wetering you will continue your tour over country roads along river banks and channels through the Green Heart to the city known for its cheese: Gouda. Who thinks of Gouda, not only thinks of cheese, pipes, ‘stroopwafels’ (treacle-waffle) and pottery, but also of stained-glass windows, a fairy-like town hall and atmospheric canals. Gouda is a beautiful Old-Dutch city with a mostly intact city centre. As on most days, after dinner you can take a walk through the city.
July 18th Gouda - Alblasserdam and ferry to Dordrecht
Today you will cycle along the Dutch IJssel, through the deepest lying polder of the Netherlands Krimpenerwaard and over narrow cycling paths to the river ‘Lek’. Here you will cross the river by ferry to Kinderdijk, a unique and renowned monument where Holland’s largest number of historical windmills is found. From the embankments of the river Lek, you will witness an amazing view of the 19 windmills, which are now listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage site. This is where you will take a break and visit the interior of a windmill. After a beautiful tour through the Alblasserwaardpolder you will arrive at the banks of the river ‘Beneden-Merwede’.
July 19th Dordrecht, sailing to Willemstad,cycling to Zierikzee
From Dordrecht we will sail to the Delta area of the Dutch greater rivers during breakfast. Years ago, an open connection existed with the sea due to the many tributaries in this area. After the disastrous flooding in 1953, the Deltaplan was developed and most tidal outlets were closed from the sea by dams. Most parts of Zeeland were, and still are, under sea level and in 1953 the embankments were too weak and too low, causing this area to be at risk for flooding’s once in every 80 years. Now, because of the flood barriers, that chance is reduced to less than once every 4000 years. Just before reaching our destination of today (Zierikzee, on the island of Schouwen-Duivenland) we will visit the ‘Watersnoodmuseum’. This museum tells the tragic events of 1953 and is built in recently renewed caissons, once used for the last closure gap. This was done in November 1953, ten months after the storm surge which broke through more than 300 embankments. Zierikzee is a beautiful town and the centre of the ‘mussel culture’. The ‘Zeeuwse mosselen’ (blue mussels) are a renowned delicacy.
July 20th Zierikzee - Middelburg
This morning you cycle along the Oosterschelde towards the North Sea, to cross the Oosterscheldedam. The enormous locks are built in this embankment and can be closed during storms and high tides protecting the south-west of the Netherlands against the sea. This embankment was one of the last in a series of barriers against the sea. When cycling along the embankment, one will realize why this has been one of the most difficult and costly challenges to protect the country now and in the future and to let seawater into the widespread Delta area. It is precisely why the Deltaworks are referred to as the one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
After this dam you will paddle to Middelburg, but not without visiting the picturesque port town of Veere. Middelburg is the lively principal town of Zeeland with many old houses, churches, the beautiful town hall and a pleasant shopping. Also to be found in Middelburg is the Roosevelt Academy, a liberal arts college, located in the former late-gothic town hall on the market of Middelburg.
July 21st Middelburg - Sas van Gent and sailing to Ghent
Today you have to cross the ‘Westerschelde’, the only estuary which isn’t closed by a dam cause it’s the gateway to the port of Antwerp. A short ferry trip brings you from Vlissingen to Breskens in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (Dutch-Flanders)! We are getting close to Belgium. On your daily cycle route you will cross the Dutch – Belgium border back and forth before you definitely cross the Dutch – Belgium border by boat to sail to Ghent.
July 22nd Ghent-Bruges
This morning you will cycle through Ghent to the scenic countryside of Oost-Vlaanderen (East-Flanders). Characteristic for this area are the woods, fields, small villages and castles. From the Aalterbrug (also for the shorter route) the last part of this route takes us over the former tow path along the canal of Oostende-Gent, the oldest canal of Belgium, to Bruges. The impressive city of Bruges is the end destination of this bike and barge trip. This evening you can enjoy the medieval city of Bruges and many of you are likely to stay another day in this beautiful city.
Bruges, end of this trip after breakfast (debark before 10 AM)
There are almost hourly trains from Bruges to Brussels at $18.00 each way.
- All nights on board (Sat.-Sat. 8 days / 7 nights), cabin in the booked category;
- Full board (7 x breakfast, 6 x self-made picnic lunch for bike tours, 7 x three course dinner)
- Use of bed linen and towels (change of towels possible)
- Coffee and tea on board
- Tour guide, cycling with the group
- Min. 3 city walks with the tour guide
- Free WiFi is limited available in lounge and on deck
- Road book, 1x per cabin
- Ferry fares on the route
- Bicycle rental for 7 days
- Local guide
Whats not Included
Train from Bruges to Brussels
Entrance fees to museums; approx. € 15,- per tour
Personal insurance/ Cancellation insurance (optional)
Airport taxes and tips
Getting to Amsterdam
There are several nonstop flights from the USA to Amsterdam (AMS) This link shows all the airlines and city parings that offer flights to Amsterdam. Scroll down to see all the pairings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam_Airport_Schiphol
The travel industry now considers the Coronavirus “a foreseeable event”. That means many airlines, resorts, charter companies, rental shops, etc are no longer offering refunds due to COVID issues. They expect YOU to protect yourself with “INSURANCE”. When looking at insurance options please consider plans that offer a cancel for any reason option. More and more countries and hotels/resorts/charter companies are establishing very onerous cancellation policies. The travel industry as a whole has generally adapted the attitude that you now know the risks of COVID-19 or other illnesses and THEY are not willing to accept the risks of you needing to cancel or delay your travel.
You Can’t Steal My Happy recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. For your convenience, we offer travel protection through Travelex Insurance Services. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 43-0656 “Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 55Y”
Terms and Conditions
Group Trip Cancellations.
If YCSMH has to cancel a group trip because a country has closed its borders, everyone will have a choice of receiving a refund or being rolled over to another group trip. The decision to cancel a group trip will be determined by myself and our local guides.
DEPOSITS PAID- CANCEL WITH NO REPLACEMENT
If you cancel a booking and cannot find a replacement the FULL deposit amount will be lost from the original person making the reservation.
DEPOSITS PAID- CANCEL WITH A REPLACEMENT - $100 Penalty
If YOU cancel and find your own replacement that “helps” but it doesn’t alleviate the time and effort I must spend to get your replacement up to speed (answer questions and send previous emails). A $100 fee will be charged if you cancel and find your own replacement.
FULL PAYMENTS PAID- CANCEL WITH NO REPLACEMENT- 60 DAYS BEFORE TRIP DEPARTURE
Full payments for all Happy trips are due 60 days before departure. If you cancel the trip you will not be eligible to receive a refund. You will need to file a claim with your insurance provider. As a rule most tour vendors, charter companies and hotels require full payment 60 days before arrival. Once we have made reservations MOST resorts, Charter companies, rental shops, etc hold YCSMH financially responsible (i.e. we have to pay them, hence we expect YOU to pay us).
Final payments for our Croatia Cruise are due 90 days before departure.
FULL PAYMENTS PAID- CANCEL WITH A REPLACEMENT- 60 DAYS BEFORE TRIP DEPARTURE
In the event of a cancellation, YCSMH will gladly help find a replacement but the responsibility to find the replacement is that of the person canceling. If you find a replacement to fill your spot you will be eligible for a full refund minus a $100 fee.
If YCSMH finds you a replacement you will receive a refund minus the trip deposit. As I mentioned there is a considerable amount of time and effort spent to send out emails to your replacement to get them up to speed.
I hope this helps clarify our terms as we all navigate through this post pandemic world. For those of us who are passionate travelers the small inconveniences of testing, insurance and entry requirements are well worth it.