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.
|Rondje Salland en Vechtdal - Day 2 (ANWB map)|
|Vilsteren: Windmill on my mind|
I stop for coffee and pie at Herberg De Klomp in Vilsteren: amazing apple pie. The place is in the Michelin guide. Right now it makes an extremely cozy retreat from the cool dampness of the morning. The other side of the room is occupied by a group of comfortable-looking seniors, some in racing suits, the ones with the Cannondale and Batavus bikes parked outside.
One advantage of American café culture: free refills. Here a cup of coffee is served as a formal unit, with creamer portion and cookie. If you want more you have to order it.
|Overijssel brims with 'shrooms|
Now entering the Archemerberg, the top part of the protected forest called the Lemelerburg. Here the forest consists of planted evergreens. The path is an asphalt strip alongside a sandy road. It's mostly all-terrain bikers (with helmets and silly suits) out here - they generally take the sandy road. Now the route shifts from LF16 to LF8 and heads southwest. Further uphill it becomes sandy heath with lots of different mushrooms popping out of the soil, including the notorious
The tendency is to linger. Now I'm up at the "highest point" of the Archemerberg, really just a rise overlooking some farmlands, purple heather covering the hillside, cool wind. Why would I want to depart this scene?
|Archemerberg: high point|
"Hellendoorn takes its name perhaps from the bright (helle) or white thorn bushes (doornstruiken) that grew there, but the name can also be derived from the Old Dutch word holendere, which means elder."
|The road to Hellendoorn|
Mevrouw Olthuis lives in a not-so-old house with a lot of beautiful old furniture in Nijverdal.
With white hair framing a smooth, unwrinkled face, she reminds me of Miss Foley, my first grade teacher. She seems like a kind, patient woman and speaks English quite well though she only started learning it 15 years ago, probably when she was around 60. She needed it to talk to some kind of a veteran, though I did not ask for details.
|Unlikely hangout for "ghetto youth" at edge of Nijverdal|
The seat covers? Flight attendants' uniforms?
"I don't know. But there is not so much work now. Eight hundred people left the town last year." A substantial amount in a Nijverdal/Hellendoorn metropolitan area of 35,000.
"Will you mind the sound of the clock? It's right next to your room. If so, I can turn off the chimes."
"No, don't bother," I told her. "I've slept in far noisier situations. Like my house in Amsterdam, for instance."
"Here it is very quiet."
|Mevrouw Olthuis with Kim|
Coming into town, I encountered a massive public works project. They appear to be excavating an entire artery, and all the houses along one side are boarded up. Even before the boards, these circa 1950s semi-detached brick houses must have looked grim. Why the hell are they tearing up the street? I asked Mevrouw Olthuis.
"They're building a tunnel for cars and the train. The current road is too congested, so it'll go underneath." Seems like an extreme measure for a town this size.
Unusually and refreshingly, there is no TV on in this house. When I came down into the dining room after a shower and a brief rest, I found Mevrouw Olthuis sitting at the table and reading a book. I asked her what she was reading and she showed me the book cover: something by Danielle Steele.