Pilgrimspath

Part 6 - From Nieuwpoort to Hardinxveld Giessendam

"De vrijheid tegemoet!"

Nieuwpoort - Hardinxveld Giessendam

We started the 6th leg of the Pilgrimspath early in the morning in the dark surrounded by a dense fog. A spooky yet unique experience. The ferry silently waiting, big trees slowly appearing. The windmills looming out of the fog as ghostly shapes.

Around 10am, the strong winter sun dispelled the fog and the sky turned blue. The Alblasserwaard now showed its beautiful history with unique windmills. These windmills have been pumping water out of the polder to keep it from flooding for centuries. We followed a grass path through the meadows along the canal for miles in the middle of nowhere. The sheep were curiously looking at us, apparently, we were the main attraction or distraction of the day. We did unintentionally startle the, in the rushing reeds sheltering birds, which on their turn startled us by suddenly flying away.

After we crossed the pedestrian bridge in Bleskensgraaf, a little town in the middle of the polder, we again left the paved paths and continued following long grass paths. We walked the characteristic Tiend roads. These narrow, unpaved paths on peat embankments, lined with pollard willows, date back from the Middle Ages but are surprisingly often still a recognizable landmark in the Dutch polder landscape.

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Dutch history and present time get intertwined just before our destination of today Hardinxveld Giessendam. During the Betuweroute construction, a double track freight railway from Rotterdam to Germany, a grave with a woman’s and dog’s remains was found. The woman named Trijntje (playfully named after trein, the Dutch word for a train) had been hunting in the area around 5400 BC!

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Date

Saturday, December 16, 2020

Distance

19.17 miles
30.86 km

Moving Time

6:20:47
hours

Weather

7°C
sunny

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