Friday, June 9, 2017

Twente 3.4: Winterswijk West

Now a restful moment on the way to kp 48. This route, west of Aalten, skirts the Boven Slinge for quite a ways, almost to the outskirts of Doetinchem. The Boven Slinge is a narrow canal with green banks, flanked by trees with a sand & pebble sliver of a trail alongside. Quite still and peaceful, just a distant barking. I'm glad that it goes on like this for miles, practically no people on this pristine path on a Tuesday afternoon. I've got nowhere to be this evening so may take my time. Anyway, I'm likely to arrive in Doetinchem in de spits (during rush hour), so won't be able to put my bike on the train.

(original date of this entry: Aug 8, 2016)
I've been cycling for five straight days. No reason I could not continue--I've been improving somewhat on obtaining nutrition on a budget--but I do have a significant meeting on Thursday at the gemeente (city hall) of Amsterdam. All my vrienden op de fiets have been quite friendly and communicative--memorable individuals.

Winterswijk, Overijssel: haven for refugees

Had a nice breakfast with Jantine. She generally sits on the couch watching TV; it seems to be her default position. We discussed various things, including the dire US election of which she is well informed. The woman is bubbly and a good conversationalist. And I appreciated her patience with my faulty Dutch. Across the street from this somnolent enclave is a refugee center. Though it seems  peaceful, Jantine sets the alarm at night, fearing break-ins.

Today is cooler, mid 60s, a little wind. Very nice now. I stopped at a Plus to shop for picnic items. Continued south through town, stumbled on the Villa Mondriaan museum, boyhood home of artist Piet Mondriaan. But my Museumkaart was not accepted so I skipped it--I am not on assignment now. Went straight south to Highway 319, the ring road, and had to look around to find the way west to kp 19.

Winterswijk to Doetinchem

kp 19 -> 18 -> 23 -> 47 -> 45 -> 44 -> 43 -> 48
Bredevoort, book town
This is another marvel of a route--not spectacular but alternating between woodsy passages, open fields and narrow country roads at a remove from the highway. Ponies, goats grazing in pastures. Corridors of tall straight trees alongside canals.

Bredevoort square
I looked at Bredevoort, pleasant medieval town known for its booksellers, though the consensus is that they're dying off. Certainly that's what Leonard Webb, owner of The English Bookshop, says. What a fabulous collection he has. In no time I had grabbed 10 books off the shelves, kept six, including an expensive hardcover copy of A Little Original Sin, bio of Jane Bowles by Millicent Dillon. Leonard said he gets books from fairs in England or from libraries, stuff people want to get rid of, or if someone dies. He gave me a plastic bag and rubber band to transport my books on the bike.

Had coffee in front of Bredevoort's sole cafe on the broad peaceful plaza. I started reading a collection of Isaac Bashevis Singer stories, The Seance. At the west edge of the village was a beautiful park with a gazebo overlooking a brook with coots. It was then an easy ride alongside big fields of high corn.

kp 19 -> 16
This stretch an unabated joy with sun streaming through old dark trees, and I wish it wouldn't end.

Now about 12km to Doetinchem. It is so nice sitting out here in the sun-drenched stillness of the canal, wind rustling trees. This stretch, on the last day of my tour, is certainly a highlight.


Sitting on a bench facing the canal by a small bridge. The sun high above a slowly moving row of low clouds. Tall trees on opposite bank sway gently. What a flawless combination. I am reluctant to move.

kp 16 -> 15 -> 40 -> 14 -> 13

It's 7:30 already. At kp 16 I finally leave the canal behind, take a few turns, then enter the Slangenburg, an old estate/forest. At first riding down a gravelly strip beside the horse trail into deep, still woods, then turning (toward kp 13) down a narrow tile path. I'm just outside Doetinchem now. Today was easy (about 35km). I sit on a rude, sawed-off log bench facing a meadow, the sun bouncing the greenery toward my face, then a gray cloud hovers in front of it.


The Slangenburg estate has a restful core with a tree-lined entryway to the manor house, a pond fringed by purple blooms and a meadow of frolicking deer. Only sounds of doves cooing. It is at a crossroads to Doetinchem (west), Varsseveld (east), Kasteel (south), Zelhem (north).

kp 18 -> 42 was equally pastoral and woodsy. I easily found Doetinchem station (Arriva line Winterswijk-Arnhem). A superb conclusion to a Twente/Achterhoek fietstocht.

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