After enjoying the excellent hospitality of René, I set of towards Assen. I wanted to walk past the TT circuit, from which I had watched so many televised Grand Prix races. Not only that, I was doing an interview with Swedish Radio and wanted to make sure I had good reception.
René found me a little bit south of Assen, took some photos, said a final goodbye and I headed towards Smilde, where I hoped to find some lunch.
The bakery in Smilde was great. A cappuccino and some delectable cake (the cakes in the Netherlands are so much better than in Germany). The Mule generated some attention and I answered a few questions about the-walk. When I paid, the lady behind the counter sent me off with a bag of goodies to keep my strength up for the rest of the day.
I was feeling a bit tired, I hadn’t slept well the night before. After doing a late telephone interview with reporter from Aftonbladet, I had not been able to relax and spent a large portion of the night tossing and turning. By the time I reached Hoogersmilde, I was ready to call it a day.
Camping De Horrebieter was to be my campsite for the night. I checked in and as usual answed a few questions about the-walk, found my site, turned the tent inside out to dry and clean it, and sat down with my snacks from the bakery and some water. A few minutes later, the girl from the reception came past on a golf cart. She had two beers with her for me, along with a refund of my camping fees. Her boss had read the blog and wanted to sponsor me a bit, he felt it was a wonderful, if slightly crazy, idea. I thank her very much, now I had both snacks and beer!
It started raining just as I finished “dinner”, and I quickly set up the tent and crawled inside, wanting to have a little rest before I showered. A while later, during a temporary lull in the rain, somebody called to me from outside. It was the girl from the reception, along with two other guys. They wondered if they could take some pictures and maybe write something about me for their website and Facebook. Sure..
The rain continued through the night, giving me a good excuse to hide in the tent and get as much rest as possible. In the morning, the rain had stopped and as I packed up a lady came over and wondered if I had already had breakfast. If not, I was welcome to join her family who were camping just a few places away. As I had planed to try to find a coffee in Hoogersmilde, I thanked her and accepted.
I am again extremely thankful for the hospitality so many people are showing me.
The weather had cleared up and I spent a warm, windy day walking along the canals to Meppel, just far enough to be able to call it a day. I was still a bit tired and a little bit irritated by deep, begining blisters on the front soles of both my feet. They had started to form when I walked in wet socks during my 104 km all nighter.
I set up camp in the campground/harbour and wandered into town. In the central part of town there were two stages set up and beer vending tents were being erected. I had lucked on to a free concert. I found some dinner and waited for the action to start. Stage one filled with musicians and a recognizable riff started. It took a while, but I finaly realizes that it was Pink Floyd’s “The Wall”. Sort of…
They carried on destroying Pink Floyd songs and I head off towards the other stage.
Stage two had a Dj sorting through various summer dance hits, a slight bit better. I hung around for a few beers but didn’t really catch the proper mood and decided to head back to the tent for some sleep. Slept poorly, with the music almost as loud at the tent as in town, and it was very warm. If I have one criticism of my tent, it is that it could be better ventilated.
Friday morning dawned cloudless and after a salad and milk coffee breakfast from Aldi (supermarket), I started walking. It was hot, the forecast had been for upwards of 33 degrees and the heat was tangible right from the start.
Lunch in Hasselt and as I made my way out of town, I saw a sign showing 34 degrees..
But, like mad dogs and englishmen, I continued on.
I am now sitting in the bar at a camping ground outside of Kampen, enjoying a cold beer after an afternoon of hot, slightly monotonous walking. The only interesting break was when Jan and Jenny, a Dutch couple who live halftime in Sweden, stopped to say hello.
I intend to stay here for two nights and spend tomorrow exploring Kampen.
As always there will be much, much more to come…