Finally some beautiful weather! I know February isn’t supposed to be beautiful weather, but I was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I took full advantage of the bright sun and rather balmy temps for February (12C/54F) to stretch my hiking muscles. The last Floris V pad hike I completed on 18 January ending in Loenen a/d Vecht.
I would start the day getting to Loenen a/d Vecht via the Dutch public transport.
Bus 397 → Schiphol Airport train to Amsterdam Zuid → Metro 50 to Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena → Bus 120 to Loenen a/d Vecht (bus stop – Dorp)
The small village of Loenen a/d Vecht was bathed in sunlight and clear blue skies. Since it was Monday the streets had an empty stillness to them. The sun casted dark shadows down the street as I slowly walked towards the Vecht River bridge. I crossed the bridge, stood on the other side of the bridge looking back across the river, and snapped some pictures.
I started my route along the Vecht River heading down a long narrow street of shops. One of the shop storefronts caught my eye, full of old things. I peered through the windows and imagined who these items must have once belonged to in another time.
The street ended. I made a quick check of my route on my cell phone to see that I now needed to turn left and would be walking for the next part next to the Vecht River. But, before I placed my phone safely back into my jacket pocket I saw a sight that made me smile and I was sure was needed for all my blog community in the Midwest of the USA still wrapped in the blanket of winter snows.
Dutch crocus and snowdrops blooming in a front garden.
In fact the whole world seemed alive with this warm weather. Birds were fluttering and singing, people were out cycling and walking. I even saw people working in their gardens excited not to let this unexpected warm day go to waste.
The next part of the trail was my favorite. It was a small foot path that has been used for centuries by travelers. I walked along large gardens and huge mansions that line this part of the Vecht River. The romance of this early Spring day entertained my imagination as the emerging colors delighted my eyes.
Leaving the edge of the meandering Vecht River, I came to a sign that indicated Fort Nieuwersluis. This fort was built in 1881 as part of the defense of Amsterdam. I detoured to see several cement and brick fortifications that were partly covered by dirt and surrounded by a canal. Now no longer for defense purposes, many of these forts have museums, restaurants, or local artists workspaces.
After I had walked around the property of the fort I continued on my route heading towards the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal. Walking through an area of managed forest before I got to my ferry ride across the canal.
The best part about this ferry? It was free!
When I got to the other side of the canal, I hiked under the train tracks then along a road that would take me over the ten lane A2 highway. The climb up and over the overpass was noisy with the busy traffic.
The last short walk took me into my final destination for the day, the village of Nieuwer Ter Aa. The welcome sign also contained a message from children of the village about climate change. Providing helpful tips of what we should all do to help slow down the ill effects.
I needed to have a closer look at the tips. I couldn’t include a close up of the tips due to the fact that some other young people had drawn rude symbols on the list. I guess this is the real sign of the times, that things are the same anywhere you go in the world, one good message mocked by those in opposition!
I noticed that I do several of these things this young person listed, like cycling, hanging our wash on a line (we don’t own a dryer), and sorting our recycling. It was nice to see that these young people tried to do their part to bring attention to climate change.
I walked several hundred meters more out of town to the bus stop. The trip back home was a completely different route via public transport.
Village Bus 526 (bus stop Cafe de Zaak) → Uithoorn bus 340→ Hoofddorp 397→ home
Things I learned from this hike:
- Signage along the Floris V Pad changes. Constant attention and double checking with the phone GPS is required to keep on the correct route.
- That these small villages have limited bus access. Many of these villages have a small bus that only runs once per hour and will travel through many other small villages before you get to your destination. Great for sight seeing the Dutch country side and for talking to locals but not handy if you just want to hike and get home.
Things I saw:
- Ducks of all sorts
- Large mansions
- Small villages
- A church dating from the 1500’s
- The Vecht River and the Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal
- A Dutch barge named Masabi. Yup! Very close to the spelling of the Mesabi Iron Range. I felt like the spirit of Minnesota was with me on this warm sunny Netherland hike.
Total distance for hike 6.4 KM – Completed to date of the Floris V Pad 39.8 KM of 245 KM.
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