Monday, September 17, 2012
As a matter of fact they did us a huge favor and dropped off our packs at the B&B where we would be staying that night. Made a big difference not to have to haul our luggage all that way!
We left Venlo and within an hour were back in the forest. I seemed the entire day was nothing but forests. Along the Dutch/German border through Germany itself, very well maintained forests and paths. At one point we stood on a burial hill from before the beginning of the first century (800 BC).
We walked along roads that had been developed many centuries ago. We also stood on the market place in villages where most, if not all, of the buildings around us used to be hundreds of years old, but had been destroyed in the fighting of WWII and now had been rebuild in the last 75 years. Most steeples of churches along the Maas had been blown up by the Germans in their retreat so the Allied forces could not use those as viewing towers. Everything had to be rebuild around here. Many cemeteries also remind you of the war of only a few decades ago.
After about 22-23 km we arrived in Swalmen, a small village where we were picked up by the owner of a B&B called the Pelgrims' House and where we would be staying for 3 nights. Had a great supper and evening there.
Sunday morning the B&B owners dropped us back at the spot where we stopped the day before and continued to Montfoort, another 24 km. This time we skirted the city of Roermond, probably a nice city but not part of the route. For a few km we traveled on a 2,000 year old road build by the Romans, just imagine that you are walking on the same ground the Roman armies traveled over, mind boggling.
After today only 3 more day hikes to go. (about 60 kms). Margriet asked me if I had accomplished what I set out to do this hike. Well, when I do finish it I will have accomplished what I promised my brother before he died and that was that I would walk it for the two of us. I had a chance to think about a lot of things however the big question: when to retire? is still unanswered. I also met up with some good friends along the trail, Lies, Wim, Maurice, and the last day Frank will join me. I look forward to that.