Thursday, 4 March 2021

The River Vecht, part 2

Part of the mural in the tunnel underneath the motorway
As I told you in January, I have found a route which will take me into Germany, along the River Vecht. I wanted to do the second instalment last week, but alas, the head intervened. So, this week it was. Written down and all in my agenda, only severe rain or another headache would stop me. 

Escape from the motorway
The head was okay today and the rain that was due to come in the morning never really materialised, so I packed my bag, got onto a bus and made my way to the point where I finished last time. I was literally going to pick up where I left the route.

The first bit led me along the motorway, but more importantly along a large cemetery. They were working on building more terraces for the Chinese part of it, so there was some heavy machinery interfering with nice photos. I tried though. 

First view of the river, downstream
Then, after only a kilometer or so, I got my first proper glance of the river. I cross this river every day if I have to work, so it's not unknown, but the route I took this time was. I got to the main path again that led me over the dike protecting those who live along the river from high water. I got off the dike again, then on again. Keeping the river in my sights.

I met some beautiful cattle on my way, and I saw plenty of birds. I then had to cross the river, which wasn't as I had pictured this walk in my head. I thought I would stay on one side of the river and would only cross on my third leg. 

The fish stairs
This crossing was a bit different though. Yes, there was a lock, yes there seemed to be a sluice gate, but also, there were fish stairs. I had heard of them, but for some reason didn't think I would see them. The fish stairs are shallow steps to allow fish to swim upriver without having to pass the lock or the sluice and endangering their lives. 

Artist: Paul van Laere
I also met a handsome little chap called 'Hannes of Dalfsen'. A young seal of six weeks old that had escaped from his zoo home in Germany and swum downstream for an adventure. He was captured here and a sculpture was made of him. Not sure what happened to him afterwards, the sign did not say.

The face is actually a bird house
From there I was on the other side of the river and I continued through farm land towards the village/town of Dalfsen. I knew I was going to the railway station to take the train back and could see it from quite far off. I still had about 2 km to go by then though!

Right next to the train station is a large piece of art called 'The Floating Rock' made by Bas Maters. It looks like an old column piece that carries a large boulder. Getting closer to the installation, you can see a hole in the roof of the boulder that looks as if the column has been sawn from it. But, it's not an old column piece and the boulder is not a boulder either. The whole thing is made from concrete and steel.

If you look closely to the right of the column, you can see the hole.
By the end of the walk, my legs felt like jelly, I had a blister on each of my little toes and I was glad to be able to sit down after nearly 13 km. The train arrived after only 6 minutes and when I got back to Zwolle, the bus home left within a minute of me getting on it. 

The mill in the center of Dalfsen
The next leg will be a bit longer though: about 15/16 km, as public transport is my way of getting back to either my car or home and not all villages boast a train station or even a bus stop. It will have to wait until more facilities (read café with toilet) are open again, so probably summer time. That way I can also train up a bit.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Blue

In the Netherlands, all letters that come from the tax people come in blue envelopes. And even though I haven't had one this year yet, it is still blue time, as we can now do our tax returns. According to my Dad's preliminary findings I should get some money back, so I would like to file my return. 

However, so would a few other people. Quite a few other people at that. Which means that getting through to the filing part is extremely difficult right now. The site cannot be reached. You cannot log in. Please try again in a few hours.

My Dad tried to file his return early this morning at around 1 am. He did not get through. As he was awake still by 2.30 am, he tried again and that time he was lucky. He was able to file his return and print out all the papers he needed for his work today (concerning taxes). 

I tried again today, but still: the site cannot be reached. You cannot log in. Please try again in a few hours.

They chose the colour blue well!

Photos taken during a recent walk near Zwolle

Monday, 1 March 2021

Virtual or real?

Even my photo fitted with the destination. Somewhat anyway...
You could see from yesterday's post, that I have completed the Mt Everest walk. 64,2 km (40 miles) from start to finish. And definitely virtual. There is no way on earth that I am ever ever ever going to walk those 64 km up Mt Everest. EVER!! So, this is the next best thing.

My next walk is the Pyramids of Gizeh (74,6 km). A walk that would be a bit more likely, but only the tiniest bit. As in so slim that you could really say it was unlikely. But hey... 

Very like Nepal, wouldn't you say?
Anyway, as you know I have taken up walking or hiking and doing it virtually as well gives me an added impetus. It gives me somewhere to go, especially during these days where my sister coming for a visit is already difficult, let alone me traveling half way across the world. Fingers crossed it will soon change, but for now, virtual is the best I can get.

Mind you, I still have to get the kilometers done in real life. No point in cheating, as you do pay for the scheme as well: a tree planted every 20% of the route fulfilled and a medal at the end of it. As I only completed last Saturday, the medal is in the post as I write. I hope. 

There are sheep in Ireland too, aren't there?
There are two more walks I have signed up for already (other than the Pyramids): one is The Ring of Kerry in Ireland. I have driven that one several times, so know what to expect, but it will be nice to do the virtual walk as well (200 km). And the other one is the Ring Road Iceland, which is a bit longer (1332.5 km). 

When looking through the extensive list of virtual walks though, there was one that stood out for me. Hadrian's Wall in Northern England. It's the Roman wall built in Roman times (really!) by the Romans and stretches from the Irish Sea to the North Sea. 145 km. Virtual. Or real?

Holtingerveld in Drenthe
My sister has taken up the walking as well over in Northern Ireland and we are now thinking to actually walk Hadrian's Wall next year. The real thing. With the rain and the sun and the real ups and downs of hills and such. And at the same time doing the virtual walk. So, that by the end of it, we actually GET a medal. 

We have already decided we need more hill training, but even our regular flat training should get us to a reasonable standard of fitness. My sister has already found out there are tour companies that arrange everything. There are plenty of museums, stately homes and Roman things to see on the way and we will most likely add a week or two to the walking bit so we can see a bit more.

Training for the sand in Egypt
Our first holiday for 2022 is sorted. Now to just kick Corona's A$$!

All photos taken during a walk in the Holtingerveld with my friend last week.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Monday, 22 February 2021

The creatures I meet

On Saturday I did another walk. I knew I had to follow the purple (or red) signs for the 9 km route. So, I did and was back within 2 km. I should have followed the green route. So, I did and it was only 7 km. But, in total it was just over 9 so I was happy.

On my walk I saw many different birds and other assorted animals. One of them you met yesterday: the pig. He was in a pen with a mate, but the mate didn't want to turn around to get his or her photo taken. Gone is being known throughout the world!

I finally managed to get some of those smaller birds that continually elude me. I got a lovely sparrow and a great tit. I also managed to capture a very odd bird indeed. Mind you, that one did stay still at least!

But, I think my greatest ones were of the birds of prey. I managed to capture several different ones, although I am only showing you one of them now. The first one where he is sitting on a fence post and the second one in flight.

Another reason to keep walking with my camera in hand.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Friday, 19 February 2021

Just to make sure

My Dad said to write a follow-up on the alarm clock situation.

He fixed it. We don't know how or why it's fixed, but it is working again. Yes, he put in new batteries, but it should have worked without as well.

So, there is no need for the town waker to come past our house to wake me up early in the morning.

Job done.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Spring

A very cold walk along the River IJssel (pronounce Icel).
The floodplains were... flooded.
Originally the frosty period was to last at least two weeks. The country was up in arms about a skating race (200 km on ponds, rivers, canals and lakes; starting in the middle of the night), but it was not to be. It was not to be anyway due to Corona, but the weather gods decided one week of cold was plenty.

Ice skating on a pond in the "English Works".
So, on Sunday, plenty of people managed to get in trouble on or in the ice and by Monday the snow was starting to disappear and the ice was no more.

Like pearl-shaped diamonds, waiting to be collected
You may know I love snow and to see it so sad and dirty and melting is not nice. Mind you, I did manage to get plenty of walks in and even saw some ice skaters. I didn't join them, my skates have long since made their way to a family member who did like to skate and getting out on slippery ice was asking for trouble in my opinion.

The difference in temperature is great though. Last week we had nights with -14 degrees Celsius. This week on some days we are going up to +15, locally even +18 degrees! Those are proper spring/early summer temperatures. 

Find the cat.
I do still wish the snow and cold could have stayed a week or so longer...

All photos were taken during a really cold walk along the River IJssel last Saturday. 

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Electric

You know how the company I work for went electric? Well, lately everything has gone electric. Sparks are literally flying.

The low temperatures combined with very dry and sunny weather have meant that there are sparks flying all over the house. Stroking Miss O? Tick tick tick. Putting on or taking off a sweater? Trrrrk. Getting out of bed? You guessed it! Sparks fly!

I asked my Mum whether those sparks could actually light a fire and according to her it was not. However, I am not so sure. There is a spark and that is all that's needed. 

Even if it may not be able to cause a fire, those sparks can cause other things. Like your hair to stand on end (as it's Corona long right now, I think gravity will win that battle). Or what happened the other night.

I woke up at 3.40 am and had to visit a certain place. As I got out of bed, there was a fairly large spark as body, wool blankets, and metal bed combined with dry air. After I had gotten back into bed and looked at the alarm clock, there was no time anymore. Yes, you read that right: the time was gone and instead there was what you can see in the first alarm clock photo. 

Once I was fully functioning again in the morning, I tried to reset it. Take out the plug and remove the back-up batteries. Then everything was plugged and put back in. Immediately the alarm came on and there was no way of stopping it. Plus the display didn't show properly either (see last photo). Out came the batteries, out came the plug. Everything back in and it was first photo time again. Not working.

Electric...

Monday, 15 February 2021

Walking with my Dad

Oh yes, I have been walking through the snow during the past week and on one day I even managed to get my Dad to come along as well. He found his old walking boots and off we went. 

For some reason though, we both knew early on, it wasn't going to be the long walk we were both ready for. Mainly because his shoes were falling apart. Literally. The sole was coming loose from one shoe and after about 1,5 km, it was off completely. Leaving my Dad to walk on one proper shoe and one without the sole. 

Well, I say one proper shoe, but that one as well was starting to come apart. It turns out, the last time my Dad had used those shoes was about five years ago... Not the best treatment, so once home, the laces were removed and the shoes thrown out.

The area we walked in, was an area in which I have walked a lot during this past week. What with driving conditions as they are/were and me not wanting to get stuck somewhere strange, this area was perfect. You can follow set routes, which I did partly, or you can just follow your own fancy, which I mostly did.

Walking with my Dad however was nice. Definitely something to repeat. As long as his shoes are in good working order!