Euro trip day 16: Walking to the Netherlands and back (from Germany).

That title sounds epic right? Well, although it sounds epic and in most ways it was epic, the walk itself was only a 8km hike. Anyway, it was later in the day so lets start from the beginning.

We woke up in our converted barn annex apartment located on Han’s Alpaca farm and it was time to lace up the trainers and explore some flatter ground. My morning run featured a lot less elevation than I’d been experiencing in all the other places we’d been so far. To be honest, a part of me missed the undulating ground but I think my legs appreciated it. Also, do to the whole area being fields and farms, the route was mostly straight too. As I approached the farm after a tough-ish 14km, I remember feeling an overwhelming sense that can only be described as the bitter-sweet feeling of a trip coming to an end. The truth was that we still had 4 days left but thats such a difference to the 2 and half weeks that stood before us when we left.

Countries are just lines drawn in the sand with a stick.

We made an incredibly memorable porridge that morning as we used the Caramel Mouse flavoured Ritter Sport which, although not my favourite, was a pretty incredible twist to the good ol’ bowl of oats that we both love so dearly. As we ate our thick chocolatey and fruity bowl of goodness we set about a plan for the day. I’d noticed in a walking guide a few hikes local to the area, one of which featured a brief stint into the Netherlands. This seemed ideal, especially given the fact that our trip initially was supposed to be a ‘Euro trip’ and so far we’d only really spent any significant time in Germany. There was also another outdoor pool/water park near where the hike started so this seemed like the ideal way to spend our day.

We set off from a little car park a mere 1km from the NL boarder. It was surreal to cross over it as it was simply a path with a humble sign that read NL on one side and D on the other. It’s funny that these imaginary lines on the ground can signify so much. Cultural differences, a whole new historical background, different attitudes, different rules. I am not someone who likes to evoke politically driven conversation but I will say that I don’t think it’s right for people to make informed opinions if they are someone who has yet to travel. When you hear someone of that closed minded nature harking on about how Brexit is for the best, it’s often someone that has rarely stepped foot outside the UK and if they have then it tends to be to a resort that is as British as the local village pub.

What a beautiful human being.

Anyhow, our walk lead us through some beautiful scenery as well as an interesting holiday park reminiscent of Centre Parcs or Butlins. It was a little surreal and also quite amusing to see all the NL number plates on cars, as well as the odd D. We did wonder where the visitors were from and whether people in the North of the Netherlands headed south for summer. It’s difficult to know when you don’t speak the language but it’s not difficult to understand that everyone is just a human being going about their business with as much intent as the next. We headed back and crossed the D-line and found ourselves back in Germany at the swimming pool. We sunbathed and took advantage of what ended up being our last outdoor 50m pool of the trip.

Heading back home, we stopped at the supermarket and picked up a lovely healthy dinner. Full of beans, greens and a generous wedge of Halloumi. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes its fun to keep your bubble with you. When we got back to our Alpaca farm spot, Han’s the farmer was outside playing with a remote controlled boat on his natural pool/pond. Funny how people get their kicks.

Anyway, thats where that story ends. I’ll let you know about the next day tomorrow, where we got to meet the Alpacas and we ended up in Amsterdam…

Much love.
BG

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