I awoke in a clearing in some splended forest – although I didn’t think it was technically legal to camp there or anywhere in Holland… Anyway, it was a slow start and I took my time to sort things out and for once thoroughly clean out the pans which had been encrusted with a weeks worth of food stuck to it. I also decided to do some make shift laundry – I decided to wash the cycling jersey with some soap and water, to clean it or rather give the notion of cleanliness.
This is a small national park – Utrechtse Heuvelrug. I set off admiring much of the forest with rays of light filtering through the few voids above. It was plesant and made cycling far easier not having the strong head winds of yesterday.
After leaving the forested area, along stretches of the north rhine river(Nederrijn) the wind had become noticeable – I decided to roll up the canopy once again to make things easier. It’s a route that I had been along before and parts were vaguely memorable. Ontop of the dykes – or embankments the wind was strong but I ploughed through for along time.
The rickshaw has one practical advantage – it’s very easy to dry one’s laundry:
I stopped and had some dinner; brie, lettuce, cucumber on rice crackers – a cheap meal but was fairly delicious. Shortly after, I met a detective – well that was his profession on his business card. He did a lot of street photography and was really interested in what I was doing and he had an aurora of wisdom around him – probably because of his age. He talked abit about Holland in general and reflected on my thoughts and impressions of meeting the people who didn’t seem that open to what I was doing. It became quite philosophical and gave he wished me that I discovered a fresh start on my world wide journey.
Towards Arnhem it started to become hilly, but having the shelter from the trees was brilliant and made those hills seem inoticeable in comparison. I got the groove pushing into a high cadence for once and I think there was a small inkiling of astonishment from some of the locals.
I reached Arnhem, and made a quick visit to the Airbourne Museum in Oosterbeek. I had been before, but it was nice to pay some respects having watched Band of Brothers this year and reading the biographies of 101 Batallian – Easy Company or Screaming Eagles. Although they in particular didn’t reach Arnhem and it was the front for the RAF and Commonwealth in the failed operation Market Garden and there as many fatalities and casualties. Next year will be the 70th Anniversary.
I headed towards the centre along the river and reached town. I set up camp and was interrupted by an Indian guy, who started a conversation with me. In fairness, it was interesting to have company, but I was hungry and wanted to tuck into some food.
Eventually I had a tour around Arnhem, but everything was closing. I walked around and mere coincidence I bumped into a Warmshowers host that I had asked to stay with – they recognised me – but who wouldn’t when I was walking around with a rickshaw. It was a great coincidence and great fortune and it made my day having somewhere comfortable to sleep that night. In the end I decided to spend another day here, as it was great to have some nice company and be able to chill out after a fairly exhaustive few days throughout Holland.
Having looked further at the route, and experience with Amsterdam, I’ve decided to change the route to not go through Berlin. It saves me a bit of time, but a large colourful city deserves much longer time to appreciate it which with a rickshaw is going to be difficult. It’s something I’m going to save for another time, so the route will head straight east from Dusseldorf to Leipzig, Dresden into Poland.