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  • Writer's pictureEgita Gielen

Pieterpad. Walking Stage 3

A woman standing in front of the train station of Maastricht

I am continuing my adventure of walking Pieterpad in the Netherlands and here you can read how it went while I was walking stage 3.

Saturday morning I woke up already before the alarm. It somehow feels exciting to return to Groningen to continue my walk on Pieterpad,even if there was such a long time in-between.

I decided not to take the first possible train, because with the second one I need to change only one time in Utrecht and I prefer less running around the train stations.

Train ride from Maastricht goes great. I managed to do some things, read my book (at this moment it was book by Nele Neuhaus "Wer Wind sät". and no, I didn't read it in German, I have Latvian version on my Kindle). And then just two hours later I am in Utrecht, where I need to change trains to Groningen.

I have 20 minutes between the trains, and I use this time to treat myself with pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks (guilty pleasure).

And there I am, on the train to Groningen, feeling butterflies in my stomach.

There is excitement, because this time I am doing it alone. There will be no one I can complain to if my bag seems too heavy or I feel like I can't continue anymore. There will be no one who can cheer me up, when I don't feel like going anymore.

It is all on me.

There it is, Station Groningen, quicker than I had expected.

It is midday when I step out of the train and look for the start point of Stage 3.

It takes some moments to start to see markings on the path, and I need to say I am happy I have a GPX app, because almost all the way through Groningen they are hard to notice.

It takes me less than 15 minutes to realise how hot it actually is, and that sun is all the time in my face.

Then somehow my Fitbit watch disconnects from the band and falls on the asfalt. Yep, now there is a dent in the screen, but luckily it still seems to function. I love my Fitbit and I love to see how many steps I have taken, so it would be a pity if it got broken.

I walk through Groningen next to a big channel. It is nice to walk next to water, because I try to convince myself that it makes me feel cooler.

There are almost always some sort of channel or rivers next to me, and it is fun to see all kinds of birds which live there.

Then there are some fields with wild (I assume) horses, and they look amazing.

I am also really thankful for every time when there are trees next to the road, because otherwise it seems way too hot and I appreciate every small shadow I can get!

I need to say that overall there are a lot of people walking or cycling, and it doesn’t help with finding inner rest. There is one moment which makes me very happy, is when I come across a water pump. I have tried to be careful with the water I have with me, but at the same time, I also want to drink enough, especially since it is very warm. So, this water pump is perfect! I am able to drink, refill my water bottle and continue with a little dosage of extra energy. Overall the scenery is really lovely, most of the time it has little water sources, a lot of plants, some trees and nature areas. I decided that it would be a good moment to take a small break, and decide to do it in a cafe, to which I still need to walk approximately 40 minutes. Just before the spot of the cafe I entered an area called Natuurgebied Appelbergen. It is a lovely forest which apparently before has been a military training area. In the Second World War, the Germans buried 34 people secretly after they had killed them. Some of them have never been found and in 2004 a monument was placed for the victims. When I am almost out of this area, I also arrive at the cafe where I have decided to take a small break - Paviljoen Appelbergen. It is a simple stop, but I decided not to stay too long, since next to the open terrace there is a children's playground and I really want to continue to enjoy silence. After my sort of improvised lunch after 3 pm with tosti (😆), I still have around 2 hours to walk, no need to rush, since I have told that I will arrive at my sleeping place around 18:00. The first few moments getting back on to the path is a little challenging, since sometimes signs of the Pieterpad are really hidden, but luckily with the help of the GPX app I find my way. My way continues to a different part, another forest - Noordlaren bos. There is a moment when I feel a little strange, because for almost an hour I don’t meet any other person and don’t ask me why, but somehow I suddenly start to think, what to do in case I encounter a bear or a wolf. I do not think that there are many of them in the wild of the Netherlands, but you never know. During these days when I walk Pieterpad, I also participate in online challenge #killingperfectionisminClassical so I stop for a moment to record my singing video. I need to admit that it was a fun experience. There was sudden silence, I was more aware of how my voice sounds, and it felt like at one moment some birds were trying to join! You can find the video of me singing here: INSTAGRAM Not long after I exit the Noordlaren bos and continue on the path I come across an interesting place: Kom es Ann! Sort of a resting place where you serve yourself. Hostess Anneke has set up a place where you can sit down for a moment, have a drink, visit the bathroom and overall take a moment of inspiring rest. There are lovely sayings, cards, books to open and get an inspiring sentence as well as small hand made art works. One of the rabbits is going to come home with me to make my daughter happy and to remind me of this lovely place! What I enjoyed very much while I was spending a minute here was music - they were playing classical vocal music and it really fitted with my mood at that moment! The rest of the way is calm, going through some smaller paths in between the fields and some bigger roads. It feels relieving to realise that there is only one last km left to walk! Unfortunately the path is through the field, so it is constant sun and I can’t be more happy to reach the Zuidlaren, where suddenly I can have some shadow again!

I already need to cross the Bed and Breakfast where I am going to sleep, but I really want to finish the walk where stage three ends. So I keep walking and feel really happy when I arrive at the ending point. Then I need to walk back for approximately 2 minutes, but for me it takes something like 10 to reach Bed and Breakfast Zuidlaren, where I am going to spend the night.

When I arrive there, I get checked in immediately. The owner is a friendly person with whom we chat for a minute about my journey and then I go to my room.

For a few minutes I just lay on the bed and did nothing. Feels great to take off the bag and lift the legs.

After a quick shower I visit the centre of Zuidlaren and find a place to have dinner. I feel like treating myself and after the main dish I decide to take a dessert as well, but unfortunately it is one of the worst cheesecakes I have ever eaten. I try not to be too disappointed and head back to the sleeping place, where I just want to lay in bed, make some notes and read a book.

I am not sure, but I think it is already before 9pm when I am actually asleep…

Stage 3: 21 km

FitBit steps: 34 634 steps

Here are some more pictures:

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