Sun, blue sky and clambering through the mud

13 February 2022 22:00

I can't say enough how grateful I am that we have always trained with good weather so far. We have already completed nine stages and only had to brave one small shower. Thanks Uncle Frans! I am a hero in socks when it comes to cold, wind, rain, snow and hail. In the morning I open the curtains and the sky is already turning a beautiful blue. Before I get in the car, I do another self-test, which is a great brain-scratcher. As always I immediately get a runny nose, but it will disappear like snow in the sun once we are walking.

As always, we meet with everyone who comes by car at the end of the stage. This time it is at Boekel where Nita and I will spend the night. It's a beautiful location, so I'm really looking forward to it. Once we have changed, we drive in the direction of Aarle-Rixtel. There we notice that it is quite chilly, so we try to shine every ray of sunshine on our face until everyone is present. Once on the road, this stage promises to be another party full of greenery, animals and chapels. 

SOS, Karlien is gone

The group runs at two paces, so we agree that as soon as a terrace looms up, we will conquer it and have a drink together. Normally it doesn't take that long before the group is complete again, but this time it takes longer than usual. Don't worry, the sun is shining and we're not in a hurry. Then Elza and Esther appear on our horizon and Nita points me to Karlien, who is coming from a different direction with a plastic bag in her hand. I get the thought, “Has she been walking with that the whole time? Then she can put it in my backpack, it runs much better.”, but that turns out not to be the case. Elza and Esther had lost Karlien and were understandably worried. She also did not respond to messages and calls. Karlien is shorter than most and takes smaller strides, so often walks a little slower. She just stayed out of sight. As it turned out, Karlien was lost and reached Gemert via a different route. She also thought it was a good idea to visit a museum on the way and buy a new sweater. Fortunately she is back on track and everyone has recovered from the worries and this joke of the day. The rule now applies that during the 'Walk for Homs' pilgrimage there is no time to visit a museum, go shopping or…

New schoes

Once back on the road, the route gets a little wetter. I am so happy with my new shoes. Thanks to Kathmandu in Amsterdam and especially to Asja the saleswoman. She took her time with me and made sure I walked out the door with shoes that fit me. That is an enormous challenge after three operations and two heel spurs, but not for Asja. Today I drive straight through puddles and mud puddles without getting my feet wet. The child in me comes out again, wonderful. I love that squeaking sound in the mud. Only the snot bubbles keep sliding out of my nose. That gives me a great feeling, because I always recover quickly from that blocked nostril after a self-test. It can't be Corona, because the test was negative and I haven't seen anyone in the past few days. Still, this causes enormous unrest, because we are now walking outside alone. Tonight I am lying spoon and spoon with Nita in the hotel. Fortunately, she has already had corona, but still.

Moving cars

Once in Aarle-Rixtel, Nita and I bring everyone back to Boekel and pick up Nita's car. Then we drive to Eindhoven where we will walk to tomorrow and we drive back to our hotel, the Brabantse Kluis, by car. We have a beautiful room with what appears to be roaring noises in the background. I don't recognize that sound immediately, living on the third floor in Amsterdam. That's why we have to laugh a lot when I discover that they are the cows of the monastery. We have a nice meal in the restaurant and then, on Nita's advice, watch the first episode of the television program 'The story of the Netherlands' in the bath while she reads a book in bed. I don't have a bath and totally enjoy it. Only my snot bell does not retract because of this. We'll just turn off the light.

Watching calves and back on the road

In the morning after breakfast we walk past the monastery, so that Nita can collect her stamp and souvenir of yesterday's stage from Sister Madeleine Bouman. Unfortunately, we can't peek in due to the corona outbreak, but this is also a nice meeting. Esther walks towards us from her accommodation, but we don't see her on the horizon yet. That is why we still have some time to say good morning to the monastery calves. Awesome!

Sun, green and mud

The three of us walk, because Elza and Karlien continued yesterday to their Friends on the Bicycle address in Aarle-Rixtel. They are therefore already a few kilometers away. Today we walk through the beautiful Aarle-Rixtel, along a beautiful castle and across different landscapes. It is again a beautiful route. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and a fresh wind is blowing. There are no benches or coffee-to-gos along the way, so we occasionally pause on a post or fence. I have to admit that I'm having a hard time today. We often walk through the mud and in addition my snot bubble is increasingly visible. I am therefore glad that we jointly decide to adjust the route slightly in order to rest in Nederwetten in the local village cafe. Good thing too, because the road after that consists of a road full of mud. What starts when crossing a river on pallets ends with shoes where not a piece of leather is visible without mud. Esther decides to take the bus earlier and throw in all her charms and drape herself gracefully over a fence to a dry route. After some time and a few slides, Nita and I follow her example by choosing a tarmac road to continue our way. Once at the car we put our shoes in a paper bag that luckily is in the trunk of the car. We drive back to Aarle-Rixtel and say goodbye. On the way back to Amsterdam turn on the cruise control, because I have felt better. Fortunately, the GGD also tests negative a few days later.