Thursday, May 10, 2012

Zeeland Revisited - Day 2

Glorious morning, as expected. As I was preparing a simple breakfast (no eggs despite the abundance of chickens and turkeys on this little farm), Bram came in, in his pajamas, surveyed the inside of the trailer and gave me a contemptuous grin. I said "goede morgen," realizing I would get no response.

I'm taking my breakfast in the garden that's adjacent to the trailer. A tiny orchard, a patch of Swiss chard, grape vine creeping over a brick shed.

Garden, De Visser farm.

The beach at Oostkappelle, about 5km west of my base in Vrouwenpolder, is outstanding. A windless day, a cloudless sky, perfect temperature. People are sunning in powdery white sands. Below, at a slightly lower level, the sand is drenched by a lagoon where snowy white gulls stand, surveying the scene. The water is very clear and calm, turning murkier as it deepens. It is cold but not freezing, very nice to swim in. Though the beach is fairly busy it's very relaxed and doesn't feel crowded.

North coast of Walcheren, Zeeland.

Getting to Oostkappelle was easy. I took Lepelstraat, the cobblestoned road where Franziska's farmhouse is located, to the west. It is a peaceful tree-lined road with absurdly quaint cottages, flowers spilling over the facades.

Lepelstraat: a street called spoon.

Reaching a main road, I turn right for a short stretch, then west again, through the woods for a few kilometers. Lots of cyclists on this stretch, mostly senior couples with matching Gazelles or Batavuses. I reach the road to the strand on the edge of Oostkappelle. A quick foray to purchase a straw mat, then back to the beach, where I park my bike in the bike parking lot of wooden fences, just like you see at every beach in Holland.

Access to Oostkapelle beach--no cars.

Most of the people were lying on a crest above the beach. At one point I noticed they were all standing up, their backs toward me, and some were applauding. I went over to see what they were applauding for. Below, along the lower part of the beach, a few runners with numbers on their backs were participating in a marathon. Then the trickle became a torrent and as each runner passed, the audience cheered them on from their sand crest. Continued ...

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