#2 Along canals and windmills

Windmill for generating electricty

Windmill for generating electricity

Pieterpad, Eenrum to Winsum

Last week’s section of the Pieterpad route started out in the mist again. It is a stretch of less than 5km that I bicycle regularly, but walking it was a revelation. From the beginning, the familiar world just broke open into all kinds of new perceptions.

Maybe it was the mist, maybe it was the quiet which made everything more mysterious. It was wonderful to just hear my own breathing in rhythm with my footsteps, the bird song, some distant highway noises. Not rushing by on the bike brought all the details into focus- the plants pushing up in this early spring, as well as all kinds of subtle things about the surroundings. It was amazing to me to be out on the road early in the morning rather than concentrating at my work table or the computer. The sense of freedom was awesome.

Above are various impressions of the kind of landscape this part of the path goes through. They are mostly old roads running alongside 2 lane highways, and almost always next to water. You can see the mist gradually lifting during the 2 hours I was on the road.

The walk took me from Eenrum on the paths above, through Mensingeweer, a small charming village where there is a beautiful little footbridge. There is also an old fashioned windmill there, still used for grinding grain, as far as I know. The bottom part of it is a café open in the summers. The little boy saw me taking photos and wanted me to take a picture of his new work gloves!

The longest part was a straight section along the N361 from Mensingeweer to Winsum. I hit a nice flow on that strip, and the mist started to lift. On the outskirts of Winsum are some houseboats, as well as another modern windmill. I decided to let windmills be a visual theme running through this journey, since they are a stereotype sign of Holland and there are so many different sorts.

By the time I arrived in Winsum, about a 2 hr leisurely walk, (the bus I always take does it in 15 minutes), the sun had burned the mist off. It is a lovely little town, looking clean and sparkly in the spring light. I stopped at this inviting outdoor café and had a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Then to the bus station, got off in Eenrum where I’d left my bike, and the 20 minute ride back home.

The next section, Winsum-Groningen is 19km, I haven’t yet built up the condition to do that in one go. And there is no pubic transport to some of the logical stopping points, so that will be a challenge.

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