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…
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.
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.
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.
I stepped back outside and continued on my hike heading towards a wooded area.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I started the year with one goal in mind, complete the Floris V Pad hiking trail to Bergen op Zoom in 2023! Look at the total route or different route sections here.
So when the Hubby asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, I first asked to visit a castle with my spinning wheel and spin wool.
That suggestion was vetoed immediately.
Instead he was happy to hear about my second choice of continuing my hike on the Floris V Pad. Well…maybe he wasn’t completely happy but he agreed to be my driver.
We arrived at our wonderful B&B De Schuur Inn on 1 February. An isolated place in the flat country. I would highly recommend this B&B for anyone hiking the Floris V Pad as the owner is also a hiker and has completed several Dutch hiking routes. Plus, the breakfast each morning was perfect for tanking up prior to the hiking.
The first night I did a short three kilometer hike to a local memorial site. Follow my route (here).
Appropriate since it was the 70th remembrance of the 1953 flood. The flood that caused such a large lost of lives, animals, and property destruction that it pushed the Dutch government to create the Delta Works, a series of locks, dams, and flood gates that finally cut off the ocean from the flat landscape. A system that can regulate the water flow at high tides and damaging storms. One of the worlds best engineered solutions for water control.
The next morning I headed out to where I had stopped last August (here), the village of Strijensas. Can follow my route on AllTrails link (here)
This route along the Hollandsch Diep River is flat, very flat except for the dikes that run along the river. It also is a gathering site for all sorts of water fowl.
Then there are the sheep. Everywhere along this trail.
That was day one…sheep, turkeys, farm equipment, and a few chickens.
I walked right to the B&B front door from the trail. Perfect day one!
Started from the B&B with the plan of meeting the Hubby at my end point on the other side of Numansdorp. You can follow my route on AllTrails (here)
Day two started with Brussel sprouts!
No, I didn’t eat them but I saw fields and fields of the winter veggies just waiting to be harvested.
The universe started throwing new signs at me.
Not much else to see along this hike until Numansdorp. Although, I did see a low flying military helicopter.
Numansdorp, is an old harbor village. The route has plenty of newer buildings on the outskirts leading into town.
Now outside of the village I was about to experience the full force of the wind.
When I made it to my last few hundred feet I passed a harbor dry dock. The boat names I always find interesting.
I accomplished another 18km of the Floris V Pad hiking trail. I am so happy that flat land with wind and sheep are done! Now across the river and the last 61 kilometers to Bergen op Zoom!
A very special THANK YOU HUBBY, for being my supporting transport to and from this section of the Floris V Pad. Through the road construction, bad gps directions, round and round the countryside full of concrete barriers you were there for me at the end of the trail. ❤️❤️
We are paddling in Northern Minnesota and in the coming weeks readers will be able to read about our battles with the alternate Minnesota State bird. Until then…
Close to the start of this vacation we crossed the border into the neighboring state of Wisconsin and drove the backroads following the St Croix from Douglas County south to Osceola, WI. One would not think there could be so many instant Hummm… available. Here are some but not all we witnessed.
The restaurant Tippy Canoe is right next door and we had the best wait staff and loaded up on cheese curds. Thanks Bobbie for the wonderful service and conversation. Then we headed back to the hotel and it seems that the universe was trying to keep us in town.
I can report that we made it out of Wisconsin safely and we want to thank the State for the making us think outside the box.
We hope you enjoyed this addition to our Hummm… collection. Enjoy looking for surprises in life and Carpe Diem!