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Month: August 2020

It’s all about camping and a new adventure

It’s all about camping and a new adventure

If we’ve only got this life

And this adventure, oh then I

Wanna share it with you

Coldplay, Adventure of a lifetime

People who know me will probably tell you I’m a spontaneous type. It all depends on my mood and the situation, but I can do things and think later, ohhh what have I started! Well this adventure is one of them. Understand me well, I don’t regret a single moment of it.

Our roof tent

It’s all about camping

It was sometime in October when our dear friends Vera and Henry invited us to a camping fair. They had an interest in roof tents and wanted to see what was on the market.

I hear you thinking, roof tent? Never heared of. You’re not the only one. We neither until we saw the first one on one of our walks last summer. We are no strangers when it comes to camping but a roof tent?

Our camping life started 27 years ago when we rented a caravan to go on our honeymoon. In little more than three weeks we drove all over France, from north to south, from east to west. Wherever the road would lead us. After that many years followed with a folding trailer. Leaving home in the middle of the night and driving all the way to France, with two kids in the back seat sleeping. For four weeks we helped out our friends with all kind of outdoor activities. My love as an instructor and me doing the groceries and cooking the meals for the whole team. Those were wonderful years with a lot of fun. After the business stopped in France we sold our folding trailer, rented mobile homes in Czech and borrowed the caravan of our neighbours in Slovenia. Most of the years following there was camping involved.

Roof tent

Vera and Henry

Two years ago we walked the West Highland Way in Scotland, stayed in a lot of Bed and Breakfasts, or small hotels, but camping kept drawing us, and then all of a sudden we were walking on a camping fair with lots of campers, mobile homes, folding trailers, tents and roof tents. Those friends I was talking about, they already decided they would buy a roof tent.

We were just inocent bystanders (ahum). There was quite some difference between the various roof tents. At the second last dealer they thought they found what they were looking for and were about to buy when I said, let’s not buy, walk around one last round and then decide weather you’re going to do this or not. I said it with a reason. Henry told me he never thought twice about anything and when he wanted to buy he simply does. I recognized myself but somehow my feeling told me not to.

Storm Tent Trailers

And that’s how we met Marlies en Evelien from Storm Tent Trailers. I can guarantee you that even if you do not intend to buy a roof tent at all, these ladies have the enthusiasm to convince you to buy one. They talk from experience, go camping with it themselves and under all kinds of circumstances. They s peak from the heart. That’s when I dropped the question, what if we buy two of your roof tents? Do we get a discount? We did and a new adventure presented itself.

On top of the roof

Just like so many things, Corona threw a spanner in the works and it took a lot longer before our roof tents finally arived in the Netherlands (all the way from China). Our original plan was to cross the ocean to South England, drive all the way up to Scotland. And maybe somewhere in England it would be possible to take a ferry to make the crossing to Norway. Well that ain’t going to happen this year.

Change of plans

Instead we went camping in the Netherlands. The youngest daughter of my sister and her family have a beautiful house in Haaksbergen. I think their lawn is probably as large as a football field. Well almost! We were allowed to choose a place ourselves, hahaha.

The advantage of this luxury campsite is dinner was almost ready as we arrived. After a nice meal, and a lot of drinking and talking we finally went to bed. I climbed up the stairs to actually spend the night in our roof tent. The first night is always a bit exiting. Different environment, different souds. I dont’t know if it was the wine or just a good matras and enough space to sleep, but I woke up the next morning fresh as a daisy

Cycle around Haaksbergen

Map of our Cycle around Haaksbergen

After a MPC responsible breakfast, Protein Pancakes with fresh fruit, we took our bikes and went for a cycle around Haaksbergen. Haaksbergen is part of a township in the provence of Overijssel. This particular part in the provence is better known as Twente (at least among the Dutch People). It is almost on the border with Germany. In this part of the Netherlands you find beautiful hiking and biking trails.

Signpost of the nodes

To properly signpost all these biking trails they invented the nodes. The whole system of nodes was invented somewhere in the eighties by a Belgian mining engineer. With these nodes you can easily plan and follow your own trail. Every node has its own number and by noting these numbers a trail arises or you can just follow an existing trail. The Netherlands has about 8500 nodes and you can recognize them by the white and green signs.

The weather gods were favorable to us today, we had a beautiful sunny day while cycling through this beautiful landscape of Twente. There was so much to see, forests, moors, burial mounds, sand drifts, rivers, streams, wooded banks, grain fields, beautiful estates, antique farms and quaint villages. Not to mention the cows, sheeps and horses.

I don’t know about you but always when I’m on the road, something funny, strange or special happens. Today, while looking at a fennel with a lot of birds a man passed us. So far nothing wrong with that. But this man ran next to a horse with a little boy sitting on top. I asked the man who ran faster, he or the horse ( picture a man running next to a galloping horse), when he told me he had been on the road for almost three hours and it lasted another hour before he got home. A quick calculation told me this man must have ran, walked about 12 miles with the horse! Before I knew it he was gone and I didn’t get the change to ask him why walk, run 12 miles with a horse?

Coffee and a slice of apple pie

It is good practise in the Netherlands that if you go cycling, you make a stop on the way and drink a cup of coffee and a slice of  appel pie, with a dot of butcher cream. I know that’s nowhere in the mealplan of MPC, but who does not treat sometimes? To somewhat limit the damage we ordered one piece and two forks. What I didn’t know then and what I remembered later that day, I should have taken a whole piece! You see later that day I sort of ran out of fuel ( my blood sugar ran low) and we had to make another stop to eat something. And you know what is the stupidest, I always have something with me, healthy snacks to avoid such moments. Not this time!


Of course we couldn’t finish the weekend without hiking. On Sunday morning we did a beautiful walk. On our way we passed “Waterpark Het Lankheet”. This park looks like a the ricefields you find in China, only here there were reed beds. It purifies water from the nearby “Buurserbeek”. In this water park there are several kidney-shaped ponds, these interlock like a yin yang figure. The whole thing was created by a Scottish artist, Jim Buchanan. It reminded us of the stepping stones we saw so much on the West Highland Way.

And as always a beautiful weekend came to an end. A weekend with family, with the life we love. And hopefully with this blog we shares some of our adventure with you!

“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”

“The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.”

On my way

It’s early in the morning when I drive through the sunny landscape of the Netherlands. I’m on the road to Waddinxveen, a place on the west side. About 30 km from the Hague or about 22km from Rotterdam.
Waddinxveen, were we finally, finally get a change to meet again.
I’m not the only one on the road this sunny Sunday morning in July. Lots of cars with bikes on their towbar are on the road, finding a nice place to cycle.
Did you know there are almost 23 million bikes in the Netherlands? And did you know that 1,8 million are electric?
I use to drive a lot for my work, but there’s a big difference between driving on a weekday or on a Sunday during the Summer Holliday season.
Today, people are in no hurry. They have all the time of the world. They drive for fun, going to places to walk, cycle, going to the beach or visiting a historical city.
I am used to the people driving for their jobs. Being in time, being in a hurry, traffic jams and bottlenecks. But not today, today I have to adapt to the Sunday traffic. Nice and easy, hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the road and the cruisecontrol on the speed limit.


As I said, finally we have a change to meet again. The last walk with the Walking Peakers was on the 8th of March.
We did a beautiful walk down memorylane of one of our Peakers, Vera. Vera showed us the surrounding in which she grew up, Wormerveer.
Who would have thought at that time it would last 4 months till we meet again.
In the Netherlands the rules for Corona have changed since the 1st of July and at this moment we have to keep the 1,5m distance as much as possible. Outdoors groups of 250 persons are allowed, if you keep your distance. Children don’t have to keep to the distance rule, nor do young adults until the age of 18 while around each other. Although the last group still has to keep 1,5m distance to adults.
Observing these rules we were able to organize a restart for the Walking Peakers. Linda, Antonette and myself found a beautiful place in Waddinxveen, were one of our Peakers lives. Wilma and her family own a beautiful farm.
This morning I was not the first one to arrive. By the time I got there a small group already gathered in front of what Wilma calls her, Pipo home.
It was a bit awkward. You feel like shaking hands with new Walking Peakers and introducing yourself properly. You want to hug and kiss those you haven’t seen for so long, but you know none of this is aloud. So I try and keep my distance. Luckely Antonette made us nameplates.

A little bit of walking and yoga

We wouldn’’t be called Walking Peakers if there wasn’t a bit of walking involved in the program today. To keep the distance, we decide to walk in two groups. The groups walk in opposite directions and pass each other somewhere halfway.
I think this was my first walk where I was present but didn’t walk. How did that happen?
Well for the first time in three years, due to Corona and the gym being closed, I decided to follow the MPC program. So far so good until the 2th month. A lot of cardio was in store. After years and years not having done any running I decided to run around the garden table ( it’s a pretty long and large table and don’t laugh!) to get my cardio done!
For those who do not know me, my left leg is not that good. I will spare you the details but running is actually not an option but I did it anyway.You can guess what happened. I got heel spur. So stupid!
I stayed behind with a small group of other Peakers and we did Yoga. Thank you MPC for bringing this into the program. I feel really good doing this on a regular basis.

Group Picture

In the invitation we asked everybody to bring their own lunch. Sitting on the grass, all on a plaid, we enjoyed eating our own lunch.
Overlooking the group, I saw happy, smiling faces. They were all talking and eating and so happy seeing each other, it made me so proud!
And of course that had to be captured in a group picture. But how do you make a group picture of 33 Walking Peakers and still keeping the distance of 1,5m?
I think our photographer did a pretty good job.

Horse and inspiration

Wilma lives on a large farm. She helps her daughter Lynn who runs her own business; horse and inspiration. Actually the whole family plays a part on this farm.
Lynn trains horses and their owners. The goal is to have a better communication between the horse and its owner, all on a basis of respect and trust.
She can also help when a horse is afraid of all kind of obstacles or doesn’t want to be touched for example.
This afternoon she gave us a demonstration to show us what her job is all about. She even invited some of us to try it for ourselves.
It was wonderful to see, how important body language is, not only between humans but even so with animals and humans.
Lynn, it’s great to see with how much passion you work with your horses!

And so a beautiful day, at a beautiful place with beautiful people came to an end. I had the feeling of being reunited with my family after a very long time. Thank you Walking Peakers and in particular Wilma and her family for being our host today. Driving home it made me realize that the pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again!

Thanks to Pauline Engelberts, Linda van den Ham, Antonette de Groot Klootwijk, Marit Phillipson, Caroline van Houwelingen, Jolanda Luijendijk, Ilse Schaffers, Mila Ignat, Fia Dijksma, Vanessa Viva Koomen en Stefanie Ross for letting me use the wonderful pictures you all made.