Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The first day section went well. Got up at 7, had a great breakfast downstairs and got ready for the day trip. I took almost nothing because I was coming back to the same hotel that evening. The forecast was for some very light rain, so all I took was water and a raincoat, and the camera of course.
First to the train station and the train to Winsum. (Pieterburen has no train connection). In Winsum I found the bus to Pieterburen and got there around 11 am.
Found the start of the trail when I saw a direction sign that stated Pietersberg 464 km. (an old sign because the trail has been updated since and is 498 km) !
As soon as I left the village the wind hit me straight from the south but since the temperature was still in the 20's it felt great. The first impression was the wide open spaces that the Groninger landscape offers. Rich dark clay soils have made these farmers rich over the centuries. Most of the farms are huge, several thousand acres and the most modern machinery was harvesting the potatoes and sugerbeets on every second field. Wherever there is no agriculture dairy cows crowded the fields by the hundreds. Well known Fries and Groninger cows which have been exported to around the world as breeding stock. I was euphoric, finally on my way, planned two years ago when my brother was still alive. We had planned to do this together after we finished the Camino the Santiago 13 years earlier. Unfortunately cancer did not allow him to to it and he passed away a year ago.
The first 3.5 km to Eenrum I soaked in the surroundings, typically Groningen. The first village was again typical northern Holland, small old houses around a large church.
For details and sections see: http://www.pieterpad.nl/etappe.htm