At the beginning of part 2, I am going to speed up. Every day I walk a few more kilometers and I also cycle a little bit more kilometers. At the same time the temperature rises and the hills increase. Well I can tell you, that’s a bit too much for me. On my busiest day I drove the camper for 50 km, walked 30 km and cycled another 28 km. Then I want to do my laundry, cook some food and take a shower. Man I am busy!
I have a raspberry bush next to my camper at the campsite in Lottum. Fresh Raspberries for breakfast!
I want to tell you something about my struggle with the bike. Cycling is not one of my favorite things to do in normal life. At home I have thought: “if I take my camper to the next village every day, I walk back to pick up my bike. In this way I walk the entire path and I am not dependent on public transport. And cycling a few kilometers after a long walk is quite nice, isn’t it?” Good thoughts during preparation but guess what… Practice is totally different!
It isn’t nice at all to do the same distance again by bike. Swinging with my phone in my hand I try to navigate. Some days I even cycle partly the same route. But what is even more worse, I have two bikes at home and I took the pub-bike with me. In my opinion, this bike is not intended for distances longer than 5 km (to the pub). But man man I have cycled a lot, more than 450 km! Still it is a love-hate story. Every day I am happy the bike is still there and doesn’t have a flat tire. But it is difficult as I go uphill in my first gear. I won’t do it again 🙂
At the Pieterpad, the entire route is indicated with red and white images on poles, trees, houses and everything connected to the ground. If you pay a little attention, you hardly have to navigate anymore. The route leads you to the nicest paths that you wouldn’t have found so quickly. Sometimes I find a path where the nettles reach hip height, which isn’t nice because I wear shorts. Okay in addition to the mosquito bites and itchy spots of the oak caterpillar a few more nettle spots are fine.
The forests around Groesbeek and in Limburg are my favorite. The walks around this area are so beautiful.
Sometimes the landscape is so deserted that it looks like France, especially the part just below Paris that I walked on my way to Santiago de Compostela. In this deserted area you don’t hear anything except the wind and the birds, I dream away…
That feeling does not last very long because there is always a highway I have to cross somewhere. It is densely populated in the Netherlands.
The full route is listed at the bottom of the blog.
I have visit many cozy campsites along the way. Once I’ve been invited to drink coffee with the farmer and his wife, at the campsite in Plasmolen (100 years old!) they have a great bar where you can enjoy a beer on Friday afternoon. I even met a few people from Alphen aan den Rijn! Sometimes the campsite is run by travel lovers who still go backpacking every year or the campsite owner is so helpful that he cycles to the store to get the right plug for electricity so I can connect the power.
On the way I cross the river three times with a ferry.
Again I see many churches, it seems the smaller the village the bigger the church. Sometimes I see a small chapel in a deserted area at a crossroads. Besides the churches I also see quite a few castles with beautiful gardens and ponds around it.
On the way I meet a lot of nice people. Now I notice more, because it was so quiet at home during the Corona situation. How wonderful it is to meet people, some people I see every day, because I walk the Pieterpad from north to south, but I walk up the stages (to pick up my bike). Often that gives surprised faces and nice conversations along the way.
A 71-year-old man walks the first part at once, a young girl from Limburg also walks the Pieterpad completely and a cheerful couple of my age, I see them almost every day. Even on the bike I meet people, like Jan on the race bike. We cycle a few kilometres together. Also at the campsites I speak to several motorhome owners, who give me the necessary tips, so it becomes more fun every day to be on the road with the camper.
During part 1, I found the combination of walking, cycling and the camper a lot of hassle, I really had to get used to it. Now during the 2nd part I have much less trouble with that. The camper is increasingly becoming my place to be and I fully enjoy being outside and walking every day. I like this uncomplicated life. The camper has passed the test and I will certainly make more trips with it!
A week ago I arrived in Maastricht. I feel so happy and proud that I have walked the longest walk in the Netherlands.
Start in Pieterburen and finish in Maastricht Sint Pietersberg
450+ km cycled
500 km walked
1000 km drive withe the camper
Route en distances part 2
Vorden – Kasteel Slangenburg 24 km
Kasteel Slangenburg – Stokkum 22 km
Stokkum – Leuth 24 km
Leuth – Plasmolen 21 km
Plasmolen – Vierlingsbeek 24 km
Vierlingsbeek – Lottum 26 km
Lottum – Park Maasduinen 23 km
Park Maasduinen – Melick 30 km
Melick – Sittard 28 km
Sittard – Valkenburg 23 km
Valkenburg – Maastricht 20 km
Total 265 km