Day #1 on the PP: 17.40 miles–
I’m really struggling with jet lag and I had another night of very little sleep. I couldn’t fall asleep last night and remember staring at the ceiling at 2:00 a.m. I was greeted with a wonderful breakfast which was a nice way to start the day. I hit the road at 8:30, which was later than I had planned, but you ‘gotta do what you gotta do’. Sleep was far more important.
I already knew that the Netherlands was a beautiful country, but today showed herself as breathtakingly beautiful–which as you might guess is an entire different level of beauty. It is flat–approximately 3/4 of the country is below sea level-but contained in all of that ‘flatness’ is a much more varied landscape than I had previously imaged.
If the vast fields dotted with livestock and cradled by canals as far as the eye can see are the canvas, than wildflowers, windmills, farms, gardens, and quaint villages are the medium in which an artist must crave.
Each mile was more beautiful than the last. It was overcast and gray this morning when I started off, but fortunately the rain held off and it was sunny by noon. On at least three separate occasions, peasants explosively took off from the fields beside where I was walking. They flap hard and fast on take off, creating a rather scary sound when you aren’t expecting it! I literally yelped out loud each time it happened!
Later in the day, the trail seemed to end at a fence. I stopped in my tracts, perplexed. Then I realized a small step was built into the fence leading me to believe that I was supposed to climb up and over it. I literally stood there for at least five minutes trying to decide if I should do it, or wondering if I had some how had made a mistake and this wasn’t the trail at all. I finally decided to climb into the field with the slight worry of being attacked by a crazy cow. It turned out that I made the right move and the only thing that I had to worry about were some docile sheep munching on grass.
At one point, at around the 14 mile mark a mailman pulled over to the side of the road to deliver a package. Even through closed windows I could hear his music, “Money for nothing and the chicks for free…” He rolled down the window and yelled, “Moi (which means hello),” followed by a string of other words that I couldn’t understand.
I replied, “Moi, but I speak English.” My reply prompted him to motion for me to come closer.
We talked for a few minutes and than he told me that I was walking the Pieterpad the wrong way. I must have looked concerned because he continued and explained, “You’re walking in the right direction, but you need my music to keep you company! That’s the ‘right’ way to walk!” He really made me laugh!
Tonight was my first night of couch surfing and I’m staying with a family of 5—a mom and dad and three lovely girls. (Jesse, Liesbeth, Lianne, Irene, and Judith). Everyone is so friendly, and its so enjoyable staying with a Dutch family. Jesse made a wonderful dinner called nasi, which is an Indonesian stir-fried pork and vegetable dish, and served with a side of rice. Indonesian food seems to be very popular here.
We had vla, which is a Dutch dairy product for dessert and Liesbeth just told me that we are having warm stroop waffles soon—yum! We are all sitting in the living room, and the kids are watching the new Cinderella movie with subtitles. This is so pleasant and comfortable.