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.
I am reposting this blog from Dutch Memorial Day of last year. My feelings have not changed, we as a collective should not forget that each and every war is paid in blood by those who fight it on the front lines. Please take a few moments this week in quiet reflection to remember those on both sides of the current conflict who have loss their lives.
Tonight at 8 pm Dutch standard time the entire country will pause for two minutes of silence. This tradition each year is to honor, remember and respect all war dead. That it includes, not only military, but civilian casualties from those conflicts.
On March 10th this year, the Hubby and I visited the largest American Cemetery in The Netherlands from World War II, Margraten.
Not our first visit, but I needed time to reflect on what was happening on the World stage. I needed counsel from the silence to make sense to what was happening in the Ukraine.
War is never cheap! It costs lives, some so young, they never got to live the life I have lived. Marriage, children, jobs that would give them joy. They never experienced Europe free from Nazi rule. Yet, each and everyone one of those souls helped to change the course of history. Leaders of the time after these soldiers had fought and died, said NEVER AGAIN!
Yet, here I was in 2022 trying to understand why? How?
As we walked through the silence of the peacefully resting souls who now are forever part of the Dutch landscape, I cried. To know that so many were lost, that so many helped to make Europe what it is today without ever seeing the war at the ending…sad…yet sadder to see a repeat of something so similar in the Ukraine.
So, wherever you are in the World as you read this blog today, please stop and send your thoughts towards peace. War is never the answer but we must remember the ultimate cost for everyone.
Disclaimer: All the following suggested items are from my personal experiences of using the product. I have not received any products or special compensation from these companies. I purchased these all these items with my own funds.
It is cold here in The Netherlands as I write this blog. Not Minnesota cold but I am looking at ice on the canal outside our house and for me that signals winter camping. If you have an adventurous camper/hiker/canoe person on your list this this holiday season, we have several items that could help in the comfort of those individuals.
Stoves for heating and Cooking-
Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Stove – see my Trailspace review linked here. I love this stove. Although I have only used it when I am in Minnesota the last two visits, I would highly recommend this compact, gas stove for any sort of camping adventure (although maybe a bit heavy for those of us who still enjoy hiking with a back pack). This stove is also perfect for that car camping trip when you have a group of people and you need to cook a good sized meal. Large, efficient burners that distribute the heat evenly and provide a fast boil time that Jetboil is known to produce from all their stoves. Downside of this stove is the price, but I found it a much better stove than all the other stoves I have owned over the years that just don’t perform as advertised! I have three in my storage unit just waiting for the day when I can off load them to an un-expecting person. Hummm…
Petromax wood burning cook stove – A German made, wood burning stove we purchased this year. We liked this option for wilderness camping, or as a backup plan for our house. We hope we never have to use this option for our everyday cooking but it could work if our gas is cut off for a long period of time. We found that continuously feeding small pieces of wood into the stove was a bit of a tedious experience, but it produced a very hot cooking surface that cooked a steak! What else would you need camping or in a survival situation? This is not something I would take on a normal camping trip but on those canoe trips where wood is available and gas is not. It is a bit big to pack but it will produce plenty of energy to produce a meal quickly.
Jetboil MiniMo – Again, you see when I like something and it works great, I pay the money to get it! I love this product! Fast boil time, can pack into a backpack, make a meal or just coffee in less than 10 minutes, this stove really packs a punch. Again the price might scare off most people but if you are out hiking this ends the frustration of waiting for water to boil even when temperatures drop. The only downside I have with this stove is that it is a bit large for packing into the backpack (I have smaller stoves that pack smaller but don’t produce immediate boil results). I would highly recommend this stove for any hiker/canoe/camping person.
Stanley Adventure Full Kitchen Base Camp Cook Set- reviewed on Trailspace this year here
All of you who have followed my blog for a long time really know… I don’t go canoeing, hiking, or camping without my cup of joe! This year I tried a few different products but I only have one I will share that I would recommend for a coffee solution when out on the trail.
Sea to Summit X-Brew Coffee Dripper– This collapsible coffee dripper has a reusable mesh filter. I liked this option for those days when I don’t want to bring my stove but still want a cup of coffee while I am hiking. This pour over coffee is not my preferred cup of Joe but better than nothing and this product does the trick without adding space or weight to my hike! I also found it was perfect for those days when I just went to my garden to work. I would recommend a paper filter if you like fine ground coffee as the mesh will allow some grounds into the cup. I found the mesh easy to rinse and this is sustainable and reusable. Good for both me and the environment.
This year The Cedar Journal looked at options for maintaining our comfort level if our electricity went out. I guess you could call it the Ukraine effect. What would we do? What camping items do we have currently to supply light where we need it most? What did we need to make up shortages we don’t have in our camping gear. How can we get both camping use and needed household use in an emergency situation when we were looking for lighting to fill the gaps. I don’t really care for headlamps. We didn’t even consider purchasing. We have Goal Zero solar storage battery and so we looked into what products would be a good interface. Solar power is almost (maybe not here in Netherlands with grey cloudy sky cover in some times of the year) always available. We tested and have used the following this year and would recommend for your camping needs.
Light-A-Life 350 LED Light – We like the fact that these lights have multiple ways to hang and attach. The option of 12v plug makes this a great way to light off the car or RV battery if that is your preferred camping style. USB if you camp with a good strong power pack. Recharging this light is possible with the full line of GoalZero solar panels, batteries (12v connect). String up to eight inline together to create a full range of indoor or outdoor lighting environments. We recently have been using ours for our living room lighting, eliminating our electrical usage.
Light-life Mini 4 Pack with shades – I love this light! So much so that I recently purchased another string of four! Easy to carry in the backpack, can charge via power pack or with my backpack solar panel. They also have color shades that are interchangeable with the white shades and was told by my son that it was a real morale booster when he would return to his room while he was on deployment to the Middle East. Good job MOM! I would highly recommend as a gift for any camper or someone stuck without electrical power.
Lighthouse 600 Lantern & USB Power Hub – When it comes to emergency lighting this is now my top choice! Another GoalZero win! 600 Lumens can light an entire room, hand crank recharge gives short term light or fully charge via a USB or solar connection for hours of long lasting safe light. Best part, this light has a red flashing light on the top, turn on in times of emergency. Red is the indicator that is the attention getter that could determine the difference between life or death. Think wilderness camping where the weather changes suddenly and a search party is dispatched, red light can be seen in white out conditions. I just purchased one for donation to the Ukraine, the full spectrum of light possibilities can provide a hopeful solution when people are faced with power outages and collapsing buildings.
I also think it could be a good dance light if the electricity goes out, that idea was instantly vetoed by The Cedar Journal staff, The Hubby department!
Luci Solar Portable Light – This light provides a good backpack light for camping and can be fully charged via USB and solar. The bendable silicone arm makes it easy to place this light in almost any position. The company claims that it provides 12 hours of light but when I tested it on high setting it only lasted about six hours. I think this light needs a small stuff sack to protect the solar panel and I am not sure how it would really perform in extreme situations but for normal backpacking conditions I would think this is a reasonable option for the budget shopper.
Those are my recommendations for this year. Hopefully you can find something for those hard to please outdoors persons on your holiday list.