#11 The land and the people

Pieterpad, Hardenberg to Ommen

approaching Ommen

approaching Ommen

For the introduction to this (hopefully)480 km journey, please click on the heading,’Walking the Pieterpad’ in the black bar above.

The first part of this walk- Friday, Gramsbergen to Hardenberg, was all done in a constant drizzle. Everything was damp and uncomfortable, but that is part of long distance walking.Saturday, after taking leave of my sweet hostess, I started out in mist, but around 2 hours later, the sun broke through. For the next 3 days the weather was beautiful.

Misty beginning

Misty beginning

Sun breaking through

Sunny path

Each province has its own feel. In my walk I’ve reached Overijssel. There, like in the other parts of the country, is a local pride in the area. The Vecht, more a river than the usual canals, runs through here, and there are several small towns on its banks- Hardenberg and Ommen being the main ones. The river valley is an important wildlife reserve and the Dutch government is active in preserving habitats and managing the river so that flora and fauna can flourish. It is a large recreational area with campgrounds, walking and cycling routes. I like the feel of it,it is relaxed and welcoming and the paths are really well marked here.

on the Ommen bridge

on the Ommen bridge

Ommen street

Ommen street

Where I live, in the north, the people have a reputation for being rather gruff and closed. They are salt of the earth and when you get to know them they are loyal and honest. (Of course these kinds of generalisations are dangerous, and there are exceptions). But I must admit, that the further south I walk, the warmer and more open the people.

One of the main reasons to walk this path was to form my own physical and emotional bond with the country where I’ve lived, but not truly rooted in,  for the past 30 years. And it is true that taking every step of this walk forms a new relationship with the land I pass through. But what I didn’t expect is the new relationships with the people. Because I sleep for the most part in private homes, I get a chance to know the residents in a way that wouldn’t have been open to me previously. More about that in the next post.

Here are a few shots from this part of the walk:







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