My Floris V Pad Hiking Numbers:
- Floris V Pad- Amsterdam to Bergen op Zoom total distance 245 km
- Diemen to Weesp – 9.6km
- Total to date hiked – 103km
- Distance to complete – 141.1km
As I pushed my way out the door last week to hike another section of the Floris V Pad I was greeted with beautiful weather. To me it felt almost like a normal pre COVID day until… I got to the bus stop where I had to place a mask on my face for the journey. Just a week had passed by since my hike with my friend through Amsterdam but riding the train with her seemed to fly by without much thinking about the hassle of wearing a mask. Now, my stomach turned with anxiety as I started my journey.
Bus 300→Schiphol Airport → Train to Amsterdam Central → Train to Diemen.
The more than hour ride on the crowded public transport was enough to make me question my sanity of hiking. Taking the public transport to get to my start point, my inner voice constantly asking what if?
“What if that person that just coughed behind me has the Delta variant?”
“What if those tourists that got on the train carried a new form of the virus here to Amsterdam?”
“What if this mask I am wearing isn’t good enough?”
The biggest what if… “What if the vaccine I got doesn’t protect me?”
By the time I got off the train in Diemen I was pretty frazzled. As I came off the train platform, I encountered the first challenge in the hike. A construction worker directing me that I couldn’t walk in the direction I needed to go. I am sure I gave him an eye roll and a dirty look.
As I altered my path to the left, in an entirely different direction from the start of the trail, I grabbed my Garmin 64s gps out of the backpack and paired it with my phone. Realizing with shock, that my phone was at 50% battery and that I didn’t have the charging cable or my back up power pack! Not a great start to the day, to realize that I wasn’t prepared. I better just find my way to the start point.
I decided to walk in a square around the construction site. That sounds easy but in this country of water, canals and large housing areas it is always an adventure. You can start out thinking “I will just go down this street and then cut back across.” Then realize that when you finally get across a canal of water, that you could be very far away from where you wanted or needed to be.
I lucked out this time. I found a small bridge across the water, cut through several parking lots of several high rise apartment buildings, walked back in the direction I wanted to go from the train station, then I was back in familiar territory of the week prior.
Now at my start point, I headed East towards Weesp through a very industrial area. Passing a car repair shop, some business that dealt in designer items (wondered why here?), and the largest thrift store in Diemen. I was tempted to stop and shop but my backpack was already full of gear, it really didn’t seem wise.
The trail now started to look a bit more like the other sections of the Floris V Pad that I have already hiked. Suddenly I was in an area that had a horse stable! Then trees lined the path and the sound of the city rush seemed to disappear as did my earlier anxiety of public transport and frustration of not being prepared.
The path was in stark contrast to the public transport. Quiet, hardly any people.
I came to a nice bench in a wooded spot and looked at my phone battery. It was decreasing fast with the Garmin app active. I quickly texted the Hubby my situation so that if he tried to reach me by phone he would know why I wasn’t answering.
As I enjoyed my coffee on the bench and watched the walkers, dog walkers, and park cleaners pass by me I looked over and saw this.
I let out a loud laugh! Was I getting a message from the universe? I got up from my bench to get a closer look.
Yup, someone has been to Las Vegas! That sticker must have a story to tell! I laughed again at the thought of who might have placed it here in Diemen.
As I continued my hike towards Weesp I entered into a forested area. This one had a large sign with information about the area and what I might find while hiking. I smirked to myself when I saw a pine marten and a snake nicely displayed. Knowing that it was the middle of the day and very warm, not likely to see any of those creatures today!
I was on the trail totally alone, walking through what seemed to me like isolated territory, less than 12 km from the center of Amsterdam. This foot path was wonderful. I was watching my phone battery slowly die as I hiked the path. Just as I lifted my eyes from a near dead phone battery, I stood still in shock as this snake blocked my passage!
This was only the second snake I have ever seen while living in The Netherlands (15 years). Not caring that my battery was almost dead I took a picture of this very upset snake. If he was any bigger I would have taken his threats of pulling himself off the ground and making the ring around his neck flare outward seriously. At only about a foot and half long and not poisonous I knew he wouldn’t be a threat. I waited for him to backdown and move off the trail.
The day was getting warmer as I walked now out of the forest and back into farm country. I came along a very nice roadside stand that was selling eggs, and ice cream. With a nice sitting area for a person to take a rest. I couldn’t resist the ice cream. I sat and enjoyed the cool treat and was entertained by a passing damsel fly that stopped also for a rest. My universe felt perfect at that moment.
Weesp is where I started this hiking adventure of the Floris V Pad in late 2018. Now coming into the town from a different direction I experienced the cosy neighborhoods with beautiful front gardens as I wound into the town center where I had started this trail.
I finally reached the point where I had started. I quickly turned on the phone and took a picture of the point.
I walked through town, placed the mask on my face and entered the train station. My legs felt the strain of the walk but my spirit felt renewed.
Interested in my other Floris V Pad hiking sections? You can link to my start in Weesp here, or search Floris V Pad in the menu bar to read about my other section hikes.
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