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Friday, September 14, 2012

September 11 + 12

Sept 11 /12 (Gennep – Vierlingsbeek - Swolgen)
Last night I had no internet so I’ll report on the last two days.

Sept. 11: We stayed in a ‘garden shed’, nice but build for dwarfs and since I am 6’4” I bumped my head and other body parts numerous times.
 (http://www.bedandbreakfastvijverzicht.nl/)
 We had breakfast with 4 ladies who had stayed in the same B&B and who were going to the ‘Floriade’, the largest horticulture exposition in Europe which is held every 10 years in Holland.
Most B & B's are fairly inexpensive, around 20 to 30 euros p.p. per night.
We are also member of Vrienden op de Fiets (Friends on Bikes), a country wide organization offering accommodations in people's home: a room and breakfast for 19 - 21 euros p.p. See: http://www.vriendenopdefiets.nl/index.php/en/

Before setting out, we waited for a bus to bring a friend who was going to join me for a day of hiking while Margriet would take a bus to Someren to spend 3 days at a house of friends who are on holidays. The friend, Lies, arrived on time, we said goodbye to Margriet and left town heading south. It would be a short day of 17 kms. However, the first hour the skies were threatening, the second hour it started to rain a little and the third and fourth hour it poured. It sure did put a damper on the day’s fun. But in spite of the rain we had a great time catching up on 40 years of memories. It also helped that we saw some of the most gorgeous landscape I had been going through until now. Beautiful hilly terrain with moors, forests, wild goats and not a soul around.  Lies was scared of the goats, so I had lots of fun teasing her about the (non-existing) dangers of goats, and she ran.
We got to Vierlingsbeek soaked to the bone. Found a café were she changed to dry clothes and we had something to eat. By early evening she caught a bus back to the railroad station and home in Rotterdam.

Sept 12:
Back on the road by 8:30 AM this morning. Now it was a 21 km hike. Again the skies threatened all day, but luckily not a drop all day. First several kms along secondary roads, and canals until I came to the ‘Boschhuizer Bergen”, not really mountains, just sand dunes, but absolutely some of the finest landscape Holland has to offer. The last 10 kms was again along more forest paths, secondary roads and cycling paths. Holland is absolutely the best country to go cycling, everywhere you’ll find the best possible routes for cycling. Plus signage, maps along the routes and a network of routes throughout the country.

By 3 PM I made it to the night’s stop: Swolgen. A small village I had never heard of. Found a great B & B in an old school building: http://www.bedandbreakfast.nl/bed-and-breakfast/swolgen/bb-schoolstraat-8-vof/4737Six more hiking days and I’ll have eaten the entire elephant.

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