Posts Tagged ‘Beach’


‘Duku. How much you pay?’
We told him.
‘Come. You can have gratis.’
I followed into the forest, and watched as the boy bolted up the verticle tree, laughing at my amazement, his sisters giggling at the bottom.

Picking duku

Picking duku

I would like to thank flat tyre number one for this experience. Being forced to stop at places you would otherwise zoom through is good sometimes. Flat tyre number two was a bit uneventful, though.

Then the road decided to do a West Sumatra on us, and started an incredibly steep climb. I have been spoilt with the number of food stalls on the way, and consequently don’t take too much extra food. Today I ran out of energy, and almost out of food.

The road climbed and climbed and I got slower and slower. Clement had stopped and was waiting for me. I wolfed down my peanut brittle that was in some deep recess of my bag, and a bag of peanuts. It was lovely to feel the energy return into my body, and my perceptions broaden from the narrow spectrum of suffering to hear the crickets chirping and monkeys hooting in the vibrant forest around me.

The road continued climbing and once again I was out of energy, but with no food this time. Luckily we passed the first shop for ages, and I roared in like a ravenous tiger and breathed down a packet of biscuits, two fried noodles with egg, and a big vat of rice. In this time Clement fixed a broken brake cable. We could then continue.

We find ourselves staying in an abandoned school with a guy fixing watches in a small room.

Watch maker

Watch maker


The 10 year-old kid lit another cigarette, his siblings were lying next to him on the mats watching the never-ending television. Outside, visible through the open wall the teenagers were playing pool. It was midnight.
‘Shall we bring the bikes in yet?’ I ask from my corner of the mat, Clement next to me with a blanket over his eyes.
‘Another three hours.’
Last night was a haze of thriller television music, snooker, laughing and.. haze. And this is how the whole family lives – every night.

Our bedroom

Our bedroom

Today I left Clement not knowing if we would meet up again before Jakarta. He needed a new hub and was taking a lift to the next town 65km away. All went perfectly. They had a hub, and it was all fitted just before I arrived by bike. Before that, I traversed some very hilly and beautiful terrain, past mountains and beautiful beaches.

Mountain view

Mountain view

Beach

Beach

Beach

Beach

I like our camping place tonight. My hammock is slung between two palm trees, looking out over the beach, the waves crashing on the shore. And the best thing. We are here alone. All this ‘Hello Mister’ attention has been a bit much. And there is no light above our heads to keep us awake. Bliss.

Walking on Vlieland

Posted: September 9, 2012 in Hiking
Tags: , , ,

Vlieland is my favourite place in the Netherlands. An island of sand in the far north of the country, it offers peace and tranquility. There, I am at one, alone, with the elements.

The road to the west stops half way down the island. That is where the expanse of sand starts, and where the people stop. An amazing wide, white beach, punctuated by sandhills in the interior, rising from the sand expanse, covered with reedy grass and home to huge colonies of birds.

The vast sandy expanse

The vast sandy expanse

The expanse is a military area that is open to all on the weekends. A military tower, checkered in yellow and black, watches over the entrance to the sandy plains. Behind the tower, hidden behind the first sandhills are dilapidated tanks: they are now little more than a brittle cocoon of rust. Dotted over the plains are watch towers and little wooden huts that are military targets.

Rusty tank

Rusty tank

At the far end of the island is the ‘reddingshuis’: a white hut perched on high stilts, fenced off by logs and buoys and anything that has been washed up in the tide. Around it are  vast plains of sandy nothingness. On the opposite side of the sand flat, at the end of the island, is a wooden jetty, extending across the sand, and three metres above it, out to the sea.

Reddingshuis in the distance

Reddingshuis in the distance

Reddingshuis

Reddingshuis

The jetty at the end of Vlieland

The jetty at the end of Vlieland

On the sand flat I feel alone. It is peaceful, it is vast, it is beautiful, and I am there in the middle of it. Noone comes here. Noone walks more than 500m from the road. The tide comes in and the tide goes out. Parts can be boggy or firm. It can be still or there can be a howling wind. Nicest is the weather like today. A clear sky, and the sands lit by the golden orb in the sky. You can see for miles. And all you see is sand. A dot on the horizon is a target. Another dot on the horizon is the hut. Another is a watch tower. But they are all far away. In between is sand. Silence. And noone.

The distance

The distance

Footprints in the sand

Footprints in the sand

Not watching TV

Not watching TV

Military tower

Military tower

The morning light makes everything different. On my morning run, I saw the sun rise behind the sand dunes. The air is crisp with a hint of moisture and dew. Vlieland is beautiful whenever you look at it.

The morning light

The morning light

The morning light

The morning light

Maaien

Maaien

The heart of Vlieland

The heart of Vlieland

Vlieland

Vlieland