My experiences with thru-hiking

Anton & Wim

Posted in Hiking GR5, 1500 miles across Europe by onefootatatime on May 12, 2009

May 11 2009

May 11 2009

I’m up early today, and am eager to get going to Sint-Philipsland, another province here in The Netherlands. There’s a ferry crossing I need to take when I get to the edge of Zeeland at Mastgat.

The trail is still on concrete, basically following the bike paths through Holland. The next time I visit Holland, I will definitely see the place on a bike. This country is set up for that kind of mobility.

Anyway, while I was heading east, a young man on a bicycle struck up a conversation with me, asking if I was on a “walking holiday”. Anton invited me over to his house, a kilometer away, for some coffee, so I took up the offer and found myself in one of those very quaint farmhouses. We talked about my trip and Anton said that he and his brother were planning a bike trip from Holland all the way to Australia. I asked if he meant Austria, and he shook his head. It’s Australia, next to New Zealand. Well, definitely Down Under. He had some coffee out and even prepared some eggs for me. I also took the opportunity to check my email. We poured over maps for his trip, and he went over my trail. He said that the ferry I needed to take only operates during the summer, like June-July-August, so the only way to Sint-Philipsland is over another long dam.

So I was on my merry way. After getting lost again, I took the bike path there and reached Sint-Philipsland a little after 9pm. The walking was brutal. I asked around for a campsite. Apparently, there are no campsites. Hotel? No hotels. I walked into a café and asked once again and got the same answers. I contemplated camping in the wild, but the problem is that this place is so flat my tent would be an easy eyesore. I had earlier asked a man if I could put my tent up in his backyard, and he looked alarmed and said no, no, no. But he did fill my bottle with water.

So I had dinner at the café and decided to call for a taxi to take me straight to Berg- Op-Zoom, my next destination.

My cab driver, Wim, took an instant liking to me. It may be because I pointed out that he was listening to Julio Iglesias. The singer is one of my mom’s favorite performers, and I grew up listening to Julio Iglesias more often than I needed to. Kind of explains my choice of music. So, the irony wasn’t lost on me, when I suddenly realized I was bonding with Wim over Julio Iglesias.

Wim dropped me off at the StayOkay Youth Hostel opposite the GR5 trail around ten-thirty at night, and stuck around to have a few drinks with me. He got himself some beers, and he got me a Coke Light. He left an hour later. He had an early morning pickup at 7am next day.

What a swell guy.

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6 Responses

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  1. Christian said, on May 13, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Julio Iglesias certainly explains a lot my friend. No comments. Love the blog BTW, but what do you care…
    Fetch ya later darling, C

  2. Roxanne said, on May 16, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Julio Iglesias? There are closeted Goans everywhere in the world. When can I call you? Send me a number and a gift for my 30th. I misssssssss you!!!!!!!!!
    Sushil sends his kisses.

  3. Bettina Klein-Nau said, on May 17, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Ravi, I was wondering how you were doing! I’m so glad Roxi sent me the blog. Sounds like a great adventure. I’m off to Portugal this week but only for 8 days…hope to hear from you soon! Oh, and by the way, what do you think? Should I go to the bathroom now??………….

  4. Wendy said, on May 17, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Be careful accepting invitations into houses….that’s how little Ravis get locked in basements. Keep giving us toe-blister updates.

  5. Raghu said, on May 19, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Hi Ravi, Sounds Great. Should be a wonderful experience meeting strangers and befriending them. Glad you got some common interest in the wilderness. See, how the ‘merry way’ got you better things than the ‘ferry way’. Keep it up.
    -Raghu

  6. alda said, on May 21, 2009 at 12:01 am

    hi ravi
    yash my student for japanese just taught me to open your blog and i’m so thrilled to read your accounts. will check it everyday. we are well. love mom


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