Friday, October 29, 2010

Grebbelinieroute Zuid

Now on the Sprinter to Rhenen, east of Utrecht. Again the weather forecast seems unreliable: showers and wind predicted but it's a gorgeous clear, sunny day.

Later on, I find myself in the town of Veenendaal (veen = peat) at a singularly uninspiring spot: an empty playground amidst bleak beige brick homes and apartment buildings. Late-model cars drift past like the wind. The sun waits behind fluffy clouds, occasionally irradiating the scene. Middle-aged couples out for a stroll.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This starts in Ermelo, east of Amersfoort, and loops through some old forests, the Speulderbos and the Sprielderbos.

This is not Speuld.
Starts out prosaically enough, skirting the road down to Drie, which means "three" (I know not why). Autumn has arrived, and it is pretty cool. Yahoo Weather says it might break 50. It's "partly cloudy," meaning the sun breaks through intermittently and it feels nice, otherwise overcast with a chilly breeze. My perception is that it's busy: cars streaming by, lots of cyclists, people out in groups walking dogs. I sit on an elaborately tiled bench at the entrance to the Ermelasche Heide, apparently a mecca for nature walkers.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rondje Salland en Vechtdal - Day 3

Can't seem to get the name of this town into my head. It's Nijverdal, but it comes out of my head garbled into Narvidal or Nimajay or something. Don't know why. I had no trouble with Olst and Dalfsen. More phonological-sociolinguistic research is needed.

English breakfast in Nijverdal
Mevrouw Olthuis pulled out all the stops and made me an "English breakfast" - that is, the usual breads and cheeses and fruit plus a greasy omelet with bacon. She sat with me and had her toast and tea. She is such a vital woman, doesn't miss a thing.

One of the things Jos Coenen had said: "I am from the south but I prefer the people up here." He was referring to the people of Overijssel, who were perhaps more Germanic than Limburg's inhabitants. "Here they leave you alone. If you want to make contact with them, you can reach out. If you'd rather not, they'll leave you be. In Limburg, you don't have that choice; you're unavoidably tangled in the web."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rondje Salland en Vechtdal - Day 2

At breakfast I conversed more with Jos Coenen. He is originally from Limburg, now runs a consulting business to put people back in the workforce after a long hiatus. His girlfriend is a consultant for an American firm that manufactures prosthetic hips and shoulders.

Jos Coenen brought me breakfast. The obligatory boiled egg in a cup, bread slices with cheese, paté, bacon, an apple, orange juice, coffee and buttermilk. I discussed my own career hiatus with him but found no revelations.

Now heading further east along the Vecht basin. Cool and overcast. The initial part of the route passes farmsteads and cornfields, along old country roads lined with alders. Here I sit by a canal strewn with lily pads, green-headed ducks floating on the surface. Church bells gonging melodiously up the road.