It was an unusually warm sunny day for February, near 20C (68F). I didn’t plan very well for this hike. I threw my stuff in my backpack, quickly checked the train and bus schedules and went out the door before I saw some looming house work that called my name.
I knew this part of the Floris V-pad trekked through an area that didn’t have much public transport access. I had originally planned to put this section of my hike off until the summer months. When the weather turned out to be nice, I decided that morning to at least try to hike some of this part of the trail.
I started with the public transport getting to the hike.
Bus 397 → Schiphol Airport train station →Train to Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA → Train to Woerden.
The initial plan that morning was to get off the train in Breukelen, take the village bus 526 to Nieuwer Ter Aa. I would hike towards Woerden. But, as I approached by train the town of Breukelen, I saw that I missed my connecting village bus by a few minutes. I would have to wait for another hour for the bus. Instead I decided to continue via train to Woerden.
This would be a 20 km hike to Nieuwer Ter Aa. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it that far so I picked my end point to be the village of Kockengen. The village also has a small bus (Bus 524) to get me back to the train station at the end of my hike.
Since I hadn’t planned very well, I spent a bit of time in Woerden trying to get oriented to where the trail actually started. I saw trail indicators but I couldn’t seem to find the trail leading in the direction I needed. I wandered around Woerden a bit to take some pictures.
Woerden has a long historical past. It has a castle built in 1410. I found that the castle was not a very impressive structure as far as castles go. I only took a picture of the historical marker. The castle now houses a restaurant which was closed that morning.
Across the street from the castle was a large church that was much nicer to photograph.
After this short side trip, I started hunting for the trail again. I walked by the trail head three times. Frustrated, I finally, looked at the app maps and compared them to the street trail indicators. I found the trail head was a very small path called Ness that runs next to the Oude Rijn River.
Now that I was finally on my hike I thought about how I experience stages to my hiking.
Stage Excitement – When I first get on the trail and everything is wonderful. I take lots of pictures, happy to be out. I tend to stop at all the items of interest.
This path along the Oude Rijn follows the curve of the old river ox bow and lead me into the countryside along large farms and Dutch Bed and Breakfast lodgings.
Suddenly the path got very narrow.
Stage Heavy Eyes – This is where I start to feel my eyes start to droop. Then most things around me seem to blend into the back ground. This usually happens around the 5 Km mark. I am not stopping for pictures very often.
Stage Autopilot – I am just putting one foot after another at this point. The sun was warm on my back. I was heading into the farm fields (not much to see there but green grass). My only worry, I was on a roadway and the passing cars could hit me. I edged closer to the white line at the side of the roadway, looked down the several feet to the drop into the canal. If I was hit, I concluded, it would suddenly end my hike.
I did pass a water pumping station on this road. It looked very old and the sheep that stood outside seemed to have turned to stone.
At the end of this roadway there was a nice picnic table. I took a snack break. In the distance I could see the tops of De Haar Castle where the hubby and I visited several years ago. It is an impressive castle and if the fields were flat and not hindered with canals I could have walked straight there to visit. But, that was not the goal for the day…
After my snack, I started back on my route heading towards Kockengen.
Most of the Floris V – pad trail I have been hunting for trail markers. Now it seemed that someone along this section wanted to make sure the hikers knew where the trail was located. Every few trees there was a painted marker.
Duh, the hiker can’t go anywhere but straight as the path leads down the middle of a dike lined on both sides with canals.
Stage Barking Legs – At this stage of my hike I realized or maybe my legs told me that I had taken on a few more kilometers than I should have. They were “barking” at me to stop. I did stop to drink water and to mentally judge if I could make it to Kockengen. My head told me “Yes!” my feet and legs were screaming “NO!”.
I decided to keep going as I was in the “middle of no where” in the polder and there was no other option but to hike out.
I was seeing more people as I continued. I felt that was a good thing. If my legs would stop working at this point, at least there were people (all mostly older than me) who could carry me the rest of the way. Yeah, right!
I came at last to the last 2 km leading into Kockengen.
Stage Finally There! – This is when my entire mind and soul realize I have made it to my destination of the hike. I see the bus stop, I figure out how long I have to wait, and I sightsee in the area.
Today the wait was only 25 minutes for the bus. The village of Kockengen is small. I did enjoy my time getting an ice cream at the local Coop, taking pictures of the flower shop and the church front.
Kockengen bus stop Verlengde Kerkweg → Village Bus 524 → Breukelen train station → Train to Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA → Train to Schiphol Airport → Bus 397 →Home
This hike was 15km from Woerden to Kockengen. Making my total Floris V-pad to date 54.8 km out of the 244 km to Bergen op Zoom.
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