Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Hike - 2

Resolutions should be upheld, right?
So I took myself on the second hike of my training for Northumberland,to our local beach in fact, and promptly overdid it.

The thing is, the weather was so glorious compared to my first hike, that I decided to go to the nearest saltwater beach (15 minutes by car)and walk all the way to the next village (Rockanje) and back.
The way there, with a southerly wind of 21 km/hr at my back, humidity of only 71% and a lovely 13C, was a doddle. A piece of cake. Nothing to it, I practically flew along with the numerous magpies overhead.

Hahaha, try having a picknick at this table... The last storm has moved a lot of sand!

The sun shone, the waves glittered happily in the distance (the tide being out all the way), the curlews ambled along the waterline searching for whatever they search for, dogs ran past me with exuberance and gave me an enthusiastic wink along the way and I could hear them thinking ("Hi! Isn't this great! Where's your ball?")

Then it was time to turn back. And all of a sudden I crash landed. For the low Winter sun was directly in my eyes, the cold wind blew straight into my face and my feet sank deeper and deeper into the sand. And I needed to pee. Desperately.
Now, a real hiker thinks nothing of peeing in the wild, I'm sure.
But there's no cover on Wetlands beaches, none. And the Rockanje beach shacks do not open their doors during the week until Easter.
What to do? Brave the dogs (and their masters...) and pretend to lace my shoes whilst piddling through my left pant's leg? I couldn't do it.

By the time I had reached the halfway back mark, I was panting and had bladder cramps. Besides, half the beach was now in my shoes between my toes.

I kept telling myself I was doing really well, and concentrated on the birds and watched the waves in the hope of spotting a seal (didn't though).

After 1 1/2 hours and 11.607 steps I reached the car.
The hike was lovely, especially after I had reached my bathroom, but I did wonder how on earth I am going to master those Northumberland hills in August.
Oh well, I have six months to reach my goal: good enough hiking stamina to keep up with the rest of the company!
Nice of you to join me, do come along next time?

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Hike - 1

Well-aware of the beneficial influence of hiking on the psyche, I have booked myself a hiking holiday in Northumberland in August, where I am supposed to be able to do 6 hour walks up and down those hills.
Being gruesomely out of shape, a hiking training program seems in order. Want to accompany me?

If you are following my blog, you'll know that I've had a rather bumpy ride of late...No need to go into it, but I really need some changes in my life and mostly in the mental department. And since mental and physical are closely intertwined, I have devised a training schedule for myself with the aim of getting me able to walk those Northern English hills without pain and without embarrassing myself.

So, today was the first day of the new and better me (loud guffaw inserted here!).
I set off from my new home on the outskirts of my suburb of Nieuw-Helvoet, and set myself a hike of 1 hour brisk walking.The weather conditions could have been better, but definitely a lot worse. It was dry, but foggy and damp (humidity 100%: quite normal for my part of the Dutch Wetland Delta) and very gloomy, with a light south-south-westerly wind of 16 km/hr and a temperature of 4C.

I decided to walk towards the old hill fort in Nieuwenhoorn.

I pass this when I cycle to work, and like it very much.It is part of the old naval defense works, but is in disrepair. Farmers are allowed to graze their sheep around it, and the sheep are accustomed to stand in the middle of the cycle path looking blank.

After passing the hill fort I came to the village of Nieuwenhoorn (now part of my naval town of Hellevoetsluis)and turned right. This wind mill, called Zeezicht (Why? You cannot, and was never able to, see the sea from here!)has been an eyesore for years as it was practically falling apart. But thankfully now it is being repaired. 

Walking along the main road into Hellevoetsluis, I came across this placard.

This needs some explanation as to why it made me laugh out loud. 
Here we go; a quick lecture on the Dutch psyche.
We are a nation of ice skaters. You think the Canadians have the honour, but you are wrong. We Dutchies have invented ice skating, and it is in our blood. The placard reads "Sharpening Skates" and it is a manifestation of wishful thinking. For we hardly have any frosts anymore, and if we do have them (like this past week in fact), the temperatures don't drop below zero far enough to get us ice thick enough to skate on. This hurts. It makes us migrate to parts of The Netherlands where they do have ice thick enough (the North-East, where the mild sea winds don't reach)or even to Austria to skate our largest skating event on the Weisensee and pretend we are in Friesland.

This Blue Heron at the end of my street is the better for it - they suffer when there is ice. It watched me walk past and cheered me on. They are quite common in my part of the country (I remember English twitchers going wild with envy when I told them I see them every day in my country)and pretty tame. Still, naive bird feeding people do get an eye pecked out by herons from time to time...

And that concludes our first hike. I hope you've enjoyed walking along with me and will join me next time.