|Modern consumers in Goirle|
|Brabantse Land-route, day 3 (ANWB map)|
I follow my Google map, ANWB map and posted map of Goirle to locate point 35 on the west edge of town. Found it, then headed for 77, which starts as a cobblestone road, then jogs over to a parallel packed-dirt trail through the woods, across from a big cow pasture, partially sunlit. Victor told me this is a good trail. Good place for breakfast (at 12:30) as I've only had the herring. There is the odor of manure/chemicals in the air but I won't let it bother me.
|'Shrooms a poppin'|
|Possibly Armilleria Mellea|
Christine Mathon met me at the gate, a tall, hearty, big-boned woman with an intense gaze. We immediately fell into conversation. She is very talkative and has a British accent from her time spent in England. They were about to have dinner and she went back to the house while I settled into the camper and slipped into my sandals. In a few minutes, Christine came knocking at the door again with the members of her family, who had come over to welcome me: the small, brown-egg-headed Victor and their two sons, each of whom shook my hand politely.
|The 'shroom has landed|
Each number quest is a bit of an adventure, a bit of a treasure hunt. Point 67 - northwest of Alphen - appears alongside a highway, the Glizerweg (to Glize) and I'm thinking, how long will I be on this highway (though I'm safe on my little side road). Then a sign points to 68 on the left, fortunately at a break in the traffic, and I slip across the road to a rustic bench where I write this. It is also a road but a much less used one. A phosphorescent training racer just darted into it. This heads straight west flanked by stately rows of trees, then opens a bit as one side becomes a cornfield. Then, scattered houses, a pen for chickens. Soon a sign announces, "You are approaching point 68." A road-width tractor rolls toward me, I divert into the sandy track at the side and come out at a little intersection (Altenaweg & Alphenesebaan): knooppunt 68. My road (Altenaweg) jogs to the right by a nondescript pale brick house surrounded by bright green hedges. That's the way to the next point, 61.
Now, west of Chaam, the fietspad enters the Strijbeeks Heide, a kind of wilderness area with trails through the woods, purple heather on sand flats. It's very still and peaceful. I can hear a dove cooing, a bird warbling, things falling off trees. The path is just a sandy track.
I was looking at the introductory material posted in the parking lot. A middle-aged woman has been chatting on her cell phone, then directs her comments at me. I tell her I can't understand, and she tells me to forget it. "No, please, I really want to know."
"Well, it's just that I lost my iPhone," the large-framed 40ish woman explained. She was out walking her dog. "And a man called my sister and said he had it ..."
"And you thought it might be me?" I asked.
"Do you have it?"
"No." I giggled. "But you thought it might be."
"Right ... Are you American?' I nodded. "An American, traveling alone by my little town?" she asked incredulously.
"Amazing, isn't it?" Then, not knowing what else to say, I added, "I've been enjoying it."
"Well, you go on enjoying it," she concluded.
|Gooseberries on the vine|
|Sunset approach to Breda|
I arrive at a bridge over the canal at point 83, which I cleverly noted on my Google map of the evening's destination. When I turned up Ginnekenweg, I realized there was some kind of party going on, the Zomerfest. Last blast of the summer I suppose. Mostly blonde, tall people gathered in throngs around alcohol dispensers, beats thumping like oompah music for the smart set. (What is it about rhythmic pounding that so appeals?)
|Cell phones ready: summerfest in Breda|