Finally Floris V Pad completed!

So now that all my readers have been informed, let me dive into my completion of the Floris V Pad from Steenbergen to Bergen op Zoom.

I broke this last part down into two 9 km hikes over two days. The Hubby was my transport to all my start and end points and I am happy to report that the hike was another team building success. Although, there was a slight hiker detour on day one. Hummm…

Start point in Steenbergen

A clear sky and cool breeze welcomed me on this first day as well as a few nice surprises on this planned 9 km…more like 10.5 km hike.

The first surprise find on the hiking trail, a Royal Air Force crash site memorial.

This area of The Netherlands was liberated by British and Canadian Forces. This crash site memorial was a reminder that freedom always has a price. As a veteran, I took a few moments to reflect and say a small prayer for those who were lost in this crash but these hero’s will never be forgotten due to a community memorial.

The trail took me through the town of Steenbergen and then on to the next village but not before I encountered this beautiful mural painted on an underpass with a beautiful message.

Poppies, the flower of memorial to veterans.
“ I am free!” Yes, I am!
“ I run everywhere” Freedom of never being contained to one spot.

I hiked past small front gardens with green shoots of Spring bulbs popping out of the ground. The signs of Spring gave me a feeling of happy resolution, another change of one season to the next.

As I was contemplating the Spring season, I hiked close to a small roadside chapel. These are very common in the more Catholic areas of The Netherlands and this one was in remembrance of a local nun. These small enclosed chapels are mostly the same, a room with a quiet spot for prayer or reflection, only large enough for one or two people, candles, and usually a statue of the Mother Mary. I took a few moments at this one along my hike to light a candle for all who are suffering from the war in Ukraine.

A moment of reflection.

I stepped back outside and continued on my hike heading towards a wooded area.

The sun shining through the tree lined trail and heading towards a forest area.
Trail into the forest.

This part of the Floris V Pad was the most wild country I have hiked through in this now years long hike. “Wild” is a relatively subjective term as it isn’t even close to the Minnesota “wild” but for this small highly populated country I was surprised to find this secluded “wild”.

A bridge in the “wild” over a canal.
A statue in the middle of a field documenting the end of peat harvested from the marsh area.

Shortly after seeing this peat harvest monument I saw a car that looked like our car but was on the other side of a fence. The trail went left, the car was on the right. I took one look at the car and thought “that can’t possibly be him.” then continued left.

Yeah… it was him and neither him (he had seen me walking but got busy on his phone) or I realized I missed the pick up point until I was about 2 km further. Several frantic text messages later and a small black car went by (I think the person driving must have thought “what on earth is that gal doing waving her arms?”). Then finally the actual little black car with my dedicated driver pulled up.

Day Two…

We spent a night at an unusual B&B (more on that in a follow up blog) and woke up to snow flakes!

We drove to the start point and I started on what would be my last experience on the Floris V Pad. These last kilometers would be my hard earned accomplishment. Fitting that it was lightly snowing and cold.

Trail crossing on Day two.

This part was nothing like the day prior, this was all well marked and well travelled trails. Through a beautiful wooded area with large trees, old sand dunes, and some marshy areas. This day had a few surprises to help me celebrate the end of my hike.

The sign entering the forest area.
One of the many interesting fungi I saw.
A lake with a wooded island in the middle, reminded me of Bear Lake in Barnum, Minnesota.
Finally the end point of my Floris V Pad hike!!! The sign says 243 KMS to Amsterdam.
The end point meeting point.😂🤣 The hospital? I guess the Hubby anticipated issues. I had no problem finding him this day!

Now that this hike is in my rear view mirror I am happy it is completed! I experienced The Netherlands in a way very few Americans who live or visit here ever do. Taking this trail one step at a time through the country was truly the best way to see it in all its glory. Old to new, cities to farmland, common to unusual.

Do I have another hike planned? Not yet.

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