The calendar tells me it is Spring 2023, but when I am still busy with three to four layers of clothes on, I do wonder if it will ever really arrive!
Now, my friends in Minnesota have been sending me pictures of piles of snow. Maybe I shouldn’t complain…
Really, it hasn’t been all that bad. I see my daffodils blooming out front from my office window. A beautiful mix I purchased last fall from a local dealer through an English website (crazy that I couldn’t just bike the 4 km last fall to pick these up in person and save delivery costs!). I digress..
My garden is greening up ever so slowly. I even have a small onion sprout peeking out of the straw bale. The brave little onion! I almost biked home to knit a small sweater for it to protect it from the cold biting wind.
As I was thinking of that poor onion and trying to get some work done for when the Spring season finally comes along, a huge gust of wind blew my electric bike over! Now, what escaped my mouth went straight to the universe that I was not pleased! I have had it! Now a damaged, new electric bike is sitting in our shed waiting for the bike repairman to return from vacation.
Change is never easy. Mother Nature also seems to be having a hard time with the changing of seasons.
How can I encourage her to move along?
“Hello Mother Nature! I am ready to shed my layers of clothes. I am ready to plant all those seeds from all those beautiful plants you have on this Earth. I am ready to let Father Sun burn my skin when I am tilling the soil. Please bring me Spring and not four seasons in 15 minutes.”
Not sure that she reads my blog, so maybe my readers can pass the message along in your own voices and she will bring us all some Spring normal weather.
Ahhh, my blog readers, it is time for another Hummm… from my location here in The Netherlands. I just researched when the last one was posted and OMG! January?! That can’t be true. Wow, time has flown and so there must be dozens of Hummm… to post. Let me see … where to start.
Ok… hummm… Jetpack on WP is again challenging my technology skills… just LOVE the challenge of new changes, thanks WP!…sarcasm.
As of this publication of Hummm… 9 March 2023 Russia still is attacking the Ukraine! Still thinking they can shell helpless civilians!
So many of us living in Europe are wanting this Russian aggression to end, as we f today there is no indication of the situation getting any closer to a resolution. Please send your support and prayers to those inside the Ukraine and to the thousands who are tirelessly working here in Europe to find some way forward to a more peaceful situation.💛💙❤️
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.