Pieterpad, Groningen to Glimmen
For the introduction to this (hopefully)480 km journey, please click on the heading,’Walking the Pieterpad’ in the black bar above.
You can already see that the landscape I’m in now is different from the wide open spaces of the northernmost parts of this walk.
This leg started in the city then went along a canal. Eventually, the path led through woods, past several lakes and recreation spots, past houseboats, and behind the neighborhood Haren on a sand path.
Below is a common sight in Groningen and the surroundings. Because of all the canals criss-crossing the landscape here, almost everything can be a bridge. Whole slabs of road simply lift up to make way for passing yachts and cargo barges. In the case below, part of the railway rises up- note the cycling path to the right, which is also in the air.
Here they are lowered, the cyclists on the other side are still waiting for the barrier to lift. .
Open to traffic.
I thought when I started this trip that I would keep a journal, and that it would be a time of contemplation and insights. So far, aside from recording the journey in photos, I have not had the urge to take notes during the walks, or share anything other than these basically factual posts.
Maybe it is because I am not yet really immersed in the walking. It is still one activity among others in my normal days. Probably when I’m on the road for several days at time, the experience will be different.
One insight I had this time was that you always end up taking yourself with you. I’ve read different people’s wayfaring experiences, and have been struck by each person’s approach to walking. Some are focused on the destination, others on the achievement, still others on the flora and fauna on the way. I wonder what mine is.
The first sensation I had when setting out on this walk was the sense of freedom- the delight in not having to fill up my day with ‘meaningful’ or productive activity. The realisation that simply walking is enough always fills me with elation.
I am a mosey-er, other walkers always stride past me while I’m looking at the fall of light on a leaf, or stopping to listen to birds. I’ll occasionally catch myself thinking ahead about reaching the destination, then reminding myself it isn’t a contest, even with myself. I just keep being grateful for every painless step- that so far my knees and feet are fine. I guess gratitude is the main emotion as I wend my way through familiar yet new landscapes. As I see the country I’ve lived in for 30 years now so intimately and through totally new eyes.
Here is the last part of this leg: Haren is a well to do neighborhood, what I like best about it, beside the mansions (often converted to insurance companies and social- and healthcare facilities), is that there are wide spaces with fields of horses right in the neigh-borhood. (sorry)
I have a month break while Rende is on his walking holiday in the Pyrenees, but in July I’ll be setting out again all being well.