Friday, September 7, 2012
Days 4 + 5
Day 4 the path went from Zuid Laren to Rolde. The day started out very frustrating because I went all over town (more like a village) to look for a new converter. Yes, lots of them for sale, but all from Dutch to whatever other system in the world, not the other way around. Then I tried to put some money on my phone card, but that did not work. Finally I discovered that the old phone had bitten the dust, so ended up having to buy a new phone. After all those troubles it was 11 AM before I managed to leave town and start out on the trail.
My mood soon improved when I saw what I was going to be hiking through. The environment / terrain for the next three days was going to be absolutely gorgeous. Day 4 was sunny and pretty soon I was crossing a heather field as far as the eye could see. Because of the rains from last Friday the path was a bit muddy in places, but not a real problem. I stopped for lunch at a pannekoeken restaurant. By 3 PM, after about 18 km, I ended up in Rolde, a small village in northern Drenthe where the beer tasted great. Nice small hotel where I managed to do some laundry.
Day 5: left Rolde early in the morning for Schoolo 19 km down the trail. Because the nights are starting to get a little colder the dew on the grass, trees and everywhere else looks like diamonds. Normally the Dutch are not eager to share their feelings with strangers, but within the first 2 km 2 people passing me by did not just say 'goeie morgen' but added 'wat een prachtige dag he?" (what a beautiful day eh?) It sure was. I managed to capture the sunshine through the trees in a great picture.
I passed through the cemetery (the modern one) with a hunnebed (a 5,000 year old grave) next to it. Somewhere along the trail through a bog they had constructed 5 'overstapjes' (wooden steps) to get over a fence that kept the cows in. Managed to miss one of the red/white markings and ended up walking an extra km., no problem when the weather is great and the surroundings peaceful. I passed a home for the severely mentally handicapped and noticed several of them acting rather strange along the trail. I ended up walking with a couple of lady hikers who were a little afraid of the patients.
The B&B was another km from the trail, no problem if you only need to hike a short day hike, but tomorrow is one of the longer stretches and to add a km just to get back to the trail is not great. However I had no choice because the village had 1 bar and 1 B&B so I managed to improve the economy of the village considerably that day in those two establishments.