Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bike-ulele tour, part 6

Del Rey in Amsterdam
Here I am in Valkenburg Park, Breda, having bid adieu to Yvonne Lewin and Leilani Kurnick, aka Del Rey. Del has got on a train to Rotterdam where she will change for Hoek van Holland and catch the ferry to England. I could get on the train to Amsterdam but I see no reason to leave the fabulous Valkenburg on a day like today. Truly it is one of the great parks of Holland. Gently rolling landscape, sunlit hillocks where couples lounge,  single jet of water, unadorned, as the park's fountain.

Valkenburg Park, Breda
(note: original date of this entry: July 22, 2012)

Del's performance last night at the Hijgend Hert was a stunner in every way, a near perfect performance  in the ideal venue with a highly appreciative audience. It was definitely the highlight of this tour. Del was happy and played her ass off. She played two full sets, the first on guitar, the second uke and guitar. Anyone in the place realized they were witnessing a star. Who else could play like her? Wearing her usual black dress, she had all the moves, the wicked gestures of the guitar-slinging mama. She opened with "When the Levee Breaks." I was still outside chatting with Peter, Yvonne's suitor, merchant marine to the core. We went inside and I stood at the bar, watching her, realizing instantly she was on a roll. The sound was great, the club intimate but with a reasonable-sized crowd: 30 or 40 people. They were listening and cheering her on. After the set, a member of the audience, a typically disheveled middle-aged fellow, took it upon himself to sell Del's CDs and he sold seven or eight. Del was happy with this.

Breda to Rijsbergen, returning via the Mark valley

Also in attendance was Annemarie T, who I had seen playing violin with Yvonne Lewin. A good violinist and an extremely perky woman, she wore a roguish white top hat. I learned that she owns a trailer in a village outside Breda. She goes there to write self-help tracts on sex and also as a place to stay when she's renting her Amsterdam apartment on Air B&B. She told me she'd paid around €3000 for the trailer plus a €1600 tax she paid yearly for the patch of land it's on. I decided to go have a look at it the next day--I'd been thinking about getting a trailer myself. So Del and I took our last ride together. We rode through the southern suburb of Ginneken, then cut through the Mastbos toward the town of Rijsbergen. We found Annemarie's trailer along a country road called the Oekelsestraat. I was surprised to find that, far from being isolated, it stood amidst a huge trailer park, almost like a city neighborhood. I couldn't see the point of it. Fortunately it was a nice day and we had coffee and toast out front of the trailer and chatted.

Mark River south of Breda

After a while, Del got nervous about getting back to Breda in time to catch her train to Hoek van Holland. We then headed straight east to find point 43, at the northern end of Meersel-Dreef, in Belgium. From there, it was a blissful 3.3km ride north along the Mark River, flanked by broad pastures. As it was a perfect summer day, the paths were jammed with cyclists. By the time we returned to Yvonne's place, she had tea prepared for us with salad, herring and croissants. Then we rode to Breda station, Del caught her train and I headed for Valkenburg park.

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