|Grazin' in the grass above Walcheren canal|
(Note to followers: this long-delayed post describes a trip I made in early October '11.)
This NS railroad line--Amsterdam-Vlissingen--demonstrates that the Dutch railway is quite healthy. It's packed, and almost every passenger within view is playing with his or her smart phone as the train rolls past the industrial surrounds of Dordrecht to pastures and gravel quarries.
|Zeeland revisited - Day 1|
Zeeland seems, if possible, to be even flatter than the rest of Holland. A lot of people got off at Bergen op Zoom, haven't the slightest idea why. West of there it's farms, razed fields, tractors, dull little towns.
Getting to Vrouwenpolder from Middelburg was easy: simply follow the railway back toward Goes, then ride along the east bank of the Walcheren canal as it angles northeast. "The official opening of the canal by King William and Prince Henry took place on September 8, 1873." Riding along the base of the embankment you never actually see the canal till just below Veere, where there's a major sluice gate. But the long corridor of trees, flanked by a stagnant canal (an old TV and PC poked above the surface) felt rural and summery, and I changed into my shorts.
|Sluice gate of the Walcheren canal, Veere|
Veere is quaint and cute. It is the departure point for a ferry to Noord-Beveland. The trail then follows the bank of the Veere Meer to Vrouwenpolder. At a brisk pace, I could've made it from Middelburg to Vrouwenpolder in an hour. At 5:30 the sun was still high and hot so I pushed on to the beach of Breezand. Parked the bike and walked up the beach. Quiet now, with a few random groups of afternoon bathers. The sand here is fine and powdery, cool on your toes. The late autumn light bathes the beach in a soft glow, the voices of the stragglers pierce a great silence. The shore is extremely calm, lapping the beach like a lake. Continued ...