For this trip to Overijssel, in the Netherlands' eastern heartland, I got a new notebook: a pseudo-Moleskin. Now I can be a pseudo-Hemingway or, probably more accurate, like the Spider character played by Ralph Fiennes in that David Cronenberg film. Always feverishly scribbling matters of great importance in his little notebook.
Nevertheless, I am genuinely excited to embark on another korte fietsvakantie, the Rondje Salland en Vechtdal in the Overijssel region.
|Rondje Salland en Vechtal - Day 1 (ANWB map)|
For some reason, Deventer has seemed like an attractive destination to me. When I mentioned to Max Huwae yesterday that I was going there, he wheeled off some facts about the place: important medieval city, etc. He also demonstrated the correct pronunciation of Overijssel (over-ICE-sel). The name is derived from the major river, the Ijssel, which extends south to north from Deventer to Zwolle, which happens to be the precise route of the first day of my journey, along the LF3. There are low white clouds hovering in the blue sky but it feels more clear than cloudy today. Temperatures in the high 50s - summer's almost gone.
|Industrial zone, south of Zwolle|
Anyway, the route looks to be a winning combination of river valleys and woods, through a part of the country that few outsiders - or even Randstaad dwellers - dare to explore. In fact, the train from Utrecht is practically empty.
I think I am well prepared this time. I have a pump, patch kit, compass, pocket knife, cash, vrienden op de fiets guide, rain pants (recently purchased), route guide, map, phone, binoculars, camera, pseudo-moleskin notebook, plus something to read, Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux.
I don't think Paul Theroux could write about traveling in the Netherlands. Too easy, too convenient, no challange to travel here -- though no doubt he could find plenty to gripe about.
|Elly's 50th must've been a bang-up affair|
|Deventer: A bike can be a dolly too|
|Oldies but goofies at Olst street fair|
Another person, a man in his 60s, had a stack of goofy LPs. Special day? Yes, every third Saturday in September. Oh, never mind.
The crowds of big Dutch were putting away their Heinekens ("tap closes today at 5 pm") and making loud, boisterous conversation. At a standup table off to the side, four little Indonesian women decked out in Euro fashion were chatting. I had grilled ham on a bun and a beer and mingled - or moved around anyway - and watched these good people. When I went to buy a token, "for one beer," the balding, spectacled token seller insisted on going to get the beer for me. These were the one who stayed put in the hinterlands.
Now a big flock of geese bolt from the lake beside which I am seated. The LF3b is quite easy to follow. North of Olst, the path turns west (to point 38) through very green pasturelands cut through by lakes and canals.
|A ride through the IJssel valley|