Thursday, December 25, 2014

Zomer in Zeeland 3

Not yet 9 am and I am supposed to vacate the premises but it is pleasant to sit here on a cool morning of a forecasted hot day (30°), hearing dogs barking in the distance. Over a hedge of large shiny green leaves is a broad lawn with a patch of hollyhocks and gladioli in the middle.

(original date of this entry: July 18, 2014)
Spending the morning at Renesse beach. It is very mellow, not crowded. The day is summer hot. Funny, in Austin this would be about normal in July. Here it feels like a blast of tropical heat, and I wonder of the risk of staying out in it.

Renesse to Westenschouwen

It wasn't a bad choice to come here today. Renesse beach is a long sweep of fine beige sand, littered with shells. There's a nice breeze. As with the beach in Goeree, the tide is way out and a great shallow pool fills the sand flats. Snowy white gulls poke around in these tidal pools or relax in the patches of damp sand among them. A number of people are wading across to and from the sandbar. Umbrellas down the beach. Later I'll go to Westenschouwen and find my vriend op de fiets there.

Schouwen coast west of Renesse
The heat is like a furnace, the wind hot like a desert wind. The shore is 600m or so from the beach. It actually has its own beach. So to go swimming you walk a good 15 minutes, then dive in. The water is cool and clean with little waves.

I got up to leave around 4:30, as I'd told my friend in Westenschouwen  (at the southwest corner of Schouwen peninsula) I'd be there at 5. I rode the hilly sand trail through the dunes. Very nice but too damn hot--imagine, this country where I'm shivering half the time. About 2 km down I saw a beach turnoff and said, screw it: I'm going swimming. This involved trudging across a vast flat tract of sand in the intense heat. I saw a band of blue sea ahead and made for it, actually a sort of inlet bordered at the far end by a sandbar. The tide here has formed sand burrows and ridges and the latter make perfect sunning spots. And the inlet is like a huge calm pool of cool water, which unlike the beach closer to Renesse drops off quickly and is actually quite deep. I jumped in, it was terrifically refreshing. And that's been the recipe. Swim, cool off, sunbathe till I can't stand the heat, repeat. The tide is coming in, filling in the burrows and making little pools, so I keep moving back. It's a lagoon, and it almost in itself justifies the trip down here. When it finally cools down, I'll continue to Haamstede.

Now the seagulls are gathering on the sandbar and make a high-pitched screeching racket now and then.

LF-1 near Haamstede

Great dunes of Boswachterij Westenschouwen
It was a good thing I decided to stay in Renesse last night, as the ride down to Westenschouwen was rather strenuous. First you climb a precipitous hill (10% grade) up on the dunes, then fly down, then climb up again, etc. With a single gear that is tough going and the sun continues to blast heat. Then, mercifully, I was going through cool woods (to kp 73). On the approach to Westenschouwen is the Boswachterij Westerschouwen, and I recall it from my journey there in October 2011, with its steep hills rolling through old forest, and its huge dune deposits. Beautiful and wild with a variety of trees.  Continued ...

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