I want to call the next two sections of this hike the great old windmill hike of the Floris V Pad. As the path goes from flat land of the Alblasserwaard to the dike of the Lek River through the World UNESCO site of old windmills of the Kinderdijk area. If there is only one section of the Floris V Pad you have time to hike I would highly recommend these two sections.
First, I tackled the section from Streefkerk where I had stopped on my previous hike you can read about that here. Once again I was able to beg a ride to the drop off point from the Hubby as he was heading to clean out his parents sold apartment. With an early morning start (7:30), I had the trail all to myself as the sun reflected off dew in the pastures.
The trail along this section is more of a dirt road for access to the farm fields. Besides an occasional dog walker I had the trail to myself. The flat landscape on either side of the canal lined trail was filled with milk cows and birds of all sorts.
At one point I looked into the fields on my left and saw three men walking in between what looked like geese standing in the field. Each carried a rifle and then it was clear to me that the “geese” I saw were decoy to get the wild geese to land and become easy targets. It became even more clear as I saw one of the guys bend over and pick up several geese who were already heading to some dinner table (meaning they were dead!). I continued to walk on thinking how strange to see hunters here in the Dutch countryside, a very common thing to see where I grew up in Minnesota but here I rarely see hunters. I looked into the field again and saw a grey goose peeking its head above the grass. I silently told it that it had better get out of there or the hunters would get it. Minutes later, I heard a shot, the goose had not gotten my message and its life was now ended. I turned around and stood on the trail to see if maybe I had been wrong in my assumption of the faith of the goose. I sadly was not.
It wasn’t much longer before another animal crossed paths with me. An invasive species that I grew up catching in the local river in Minnesota, a crayfish! These have become a huge issue here as they have no natural predators and have multiplied into the millions, eating all the small fish in the canals. This one surprised the heck out of me crossing in front of my path. As I reached down to pick it up it backed into the grass. I picked it up and placed back on the road so I could get a good picture.
Like I mentioned this section of the hike was full of windmills. From Streefkerk to Kinderdijk there are several and once you reach the Lek River dike there is the view of the World UNESCO site where you can view more than 25 windmills dating from the 1700’s. These windmills were mostly used to pump the flat marsh lands of the Alblasserwaard of water so that it could be farmed. Here are a few of those images from the hike.
This trail was not only windmills. As I stopped at a nice water point in Nieuw-Lekkerland I saw that the trail changed while going through the village. It was now lined with housing and cool back yard gardens. The gardens reflecting the individual tastes of the owners.
The trail after Nieuw-Lekkerland now was not well marked and there was a sign that the road deadended. I decided to take my changes and continue to walk. The road kept getting smaller and smaller and did finally end with only a foot path that went towards the windmills.
This hike ended at the Kinderdijk entrance.
I made my way via water bus to where the Hubby was waiting for me. The vacation time always brings challenges in public transport as the public transport schedules change or are on very limited routes. This was also the truth with the water bus from Kinderdijk. I experienced a very long wait for a contracted ferry boat at Kinderdijk, a transfer to the very crowed water bus at Ridderkerk, then finally my stop in Papendrecht. I was happy to arrive and to be treated to a coffee overlooking the Noord River.
© The Cedar Journal, 2021, all rights reserved.