Barge & Bike Trip Leads to Idea for Combining Boating with Architecture
My colleague G. Bruce Smith recently raved to me about a one-week Barge & Bike trip he took in Holland. Struck by the residential, commercial and even industrial architecture he encountered along the way, he broached the idea of a Barge & Architecture Tour of Holland with the boat’s owner, Lenny Versteeg. The proposal piqued Lenny’s interest – as well as mine (I lead architecture, design and art tours throughout the world) – and a dialogue has begun about the kinds of architectural exploration we might be able to launch in The Netherlands.
Here are more details from Bruce.
The weeklong journey with my adult son – which followed an oval-shaped route starting and ending in Amsterdam – took us through an incredible variety of landscapes. They included tulip fields, farms, quaint towns and villages, the stunning Keukenhof Gardens, sand dunes, national parks, and the wild North Sea coast. The trip included tours of windmills, a cheese farm, grand churches and more.
We cycled anywhere from 20 to 40 miles a day, but with a van following us and flexibility in scheduling, some passengers chose to keep some excursions shorter than others.
Our time on the barge was equally enjoyable. We were a small group of passengers, about 20, and we were able to get to know the fantastic crew and bicycle guides well. We were spoiled with sumptuous meals, snacks, information about Holland, and even a lesson in the Dutch language.
As a lover of architecture, I started thinking how interesting it would be to combine barging with architecture (and perhaps even cycling). So I broached the subject with Lenny Versteeg, the owner of our lovely barge Iris, and she was enthusiastic about the idea, particularly because she knows many Dutch architects and is familiar with the wide range of styles to be found in her country – from traditional houses to ultra-modern museums. Indeed, Dutch architecture has played an important role in the international discourse on architecture since the 17th century, and many contemporary Dutch architects are achieving global prestige.
Aside from contracting with VBT for barge tours, Lenny also owns Bike Planet Tours, which offers a wide variety of cycling adventures throughout Europe, mostly with her barge.