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Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Longest Hike

Typical houses in the southern part of Limburg

This day was going to turn into the longest day trip of the entire hike because the next overnight was at a friend's house several km beyond the end point for this day trip. So it turned into about a 27 km hike.
For that reason, Margriet decided to take all the luggage via public transportation to the next overnight place.
We both took the train back to Sittard, a 10 minute, 2 euro ride, and Margriet stayed on the train while I got off and started hiking again. Thanks to having only a day pack it was easy going. I put on my ipod music and marched to the tunes of Shania Twain and Abba up and down numerous hills. 
For 10 minutes it rained, but in spite of the heavy overcast this was it for rain all day. The terrain got more and more hilly the further south I got into Limburg. Some section were really getting steep, but again, without a pack, it was quite doable and my training on the Channel Ridge hills sure paid off.
The scenery was absolutely breathtaking most of the way. After a couple of hours I got to a restaurant in a castle (it is for sale!!) where I had lunch and then kept going for several more hours without stopping.

I reflected on the difference in the content of backpacks between 45 years ago and today. We used to have clothes but also a heavy sleeping bag, an air mattress, a tent, cook stove, food etc. Nowadays the backpack is filled with a Macbook Air, Ipod, headphones, cell phone, electric shaver as well as all the chargers and different plug-ins required to keep the electronics going...

A km before I got to the house of the friends we would be staying with, Margriet met me at the top of the last hill. It was great to catch up that evening with friends we had not seen for a long time. And I can recommend Grimbergers beer!

(Note from Margriet: after the train to Sittard, I went to Valkenburg. But, thanks to the World Cup Cycling many roads were blocked, whole cities inaccessible and even bus routes changed. I couldn't get to Terblijt where I had to take our two big backpacks. Tried different bus options but nothing worked. So, I walked into a fancy hotel and asked if I could leave the packs. No problem. Walked into the centre of town to do my banking, shopping, etc. Back to the hotel and asked for a taxi. The taxi turned out to be a limousine. Fancy and comfortable way to get my packs to Marianne's house! Had a great dinner and visit that night.)

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