Running Week in Review 21 June 2015   4 comments

Last week here, and

Next week here

2015-06-21 run week chart

Despite a 6 day run streak last week, I decided to have a 7 day streak this one because when my normal Friday rest day rolled around I was in Maastricht a couple miles from the Belgian border and it was too tempting to run the outskirts of town in another country.  I awoke early for this run as I had labs to tour and a lecture in Dutch to endure and beer to secure as the day progressed:

2015-06-19 Belgian run map

Maastricht Police Station

Weird sculpture outside the Police Station Maastricht

Fortress heading up Sint Petersburg

Fortress heading up Sint Petersburg

Didn't even see the Sint  Petersberg sign behind the barbed wire (so mesmerised by the prospect of Midgetgolf was I)

Didn’t even see the Sint Sebastiaan sign behind the barbed wire
(so mesmerised by the prospect of Midgetgolf was I)

 

A bit too early, I guess, as I found that my normal bout of travel constipation had not yet set in.  Luckily, a wooded area near the wee fortress had trails I was able to get slightly off to do this bit of business.  Fresh oak leaves, because I know you are wondering.

 

Albert Canal excavation

 

It is strange to pass into Belgium here because the Belgium you pass into rarely has more than 200 meters between the border and the gargantuan Albert Canal.  The structure was excavated in the 1930’s and the scale of the cut is awe inspiring.  Didn’t see a single boat on the water.

 

Where are the border guards?  Bollard #86

Where are the border guards? Bollard #86

Bollard #63 where I entered Kanne, Belgium

Bollard #63 where I entered Kanne, Belgium

 

Very interesting architecture on this run, some of it modern, Dutch and dreadful, but some of it sublime and/or ancient.  Ran up on a monument in a park dedicated to Burgermeester Leo van Oppen about whom I have found out sweet fuck all.  Dig the relief, though:

 

Leo van Oppen park

 

 

sign on run outside Maastricht

Poultry farm supplies, sure, but mainly I liked the bunny.

 

My week started in England with some tiresome routes I could run blindfolded (Swindon Cops to the house, Besselsleigh to Binsey to Port Meadow to work, etc) and a languid morning hill run (followed by a breakfast of beer and pizza) on the Wednesday I spent prepping for the Netherlands trip.

 

post-run breakfast beer

 

The flight out the UK was from one of my least favourite airports, Heathrow, at 6:50 am and my transport links from Swindon were such that I had to leave at 3 in the morning.  On the bright side, the plane got in early and I cleared Passport Control at Schiphol so early that I was able to make several stops on the trip to Maastricht, first for some weed and hash at Koffieshop de Kade (a nice neighbourhood vendor near the Amsterdam Zuid Station) and a leisurely ride the long way to Maastricht after I got incredibly stoned and soon found myself in Zwolle (almost perfectly the wrong way).

When I finally arrived in Maastricht Thursday mid-afternoon, I checked into my hotel then headed out for that day’s run, a mountain trek planned to medieval Valkenburg which is famous for the marl mines the tunnel system of which has sheltered the town’s populace during invasions Napoleonic to as recent as WWII (the cave system is covered in decorative graffiti from these era and further back through the centuries and I highly recommend the tours…the last time I went on the tour was 2001 but it really has to be seen to be believed).  But, then I left my route maps and decided to try dead reckoning.

 

Cafe Auwd Rothem

 

So, I found myself far off course in Rothem and decided to stop in for a biertje in the Cafe Auwd Rothem.  Very friendly folk, here, and patient with my unpractised Dutch, but they also kind of pointed me in the right direction and soon I realised just HOW far off course I had drifted.

 

't Wit Paerd Houthem

 

My new plan was to loop back in Houthem and this might have worked better except for the Super Polm I loaded and incinerated in a quiet stand of trees along the way. By the time I got to Houthem I was thirsty again and popped into ‘t Wit Paerd, the as-friendly-as-Auwd-Rothem pub in Sint Gerlach.  This was followed by a pretty good climb for the Netherlands into Berg-en-Terbijt from which I could see the city in the distance.  Back at the hotel, I was exhausted and just showered and went to bed (with the early Friday run in mind).

 

The Thursday route, good but not as foreseen

The Thursday route, good but not as foreseen

 

Friday was hecticly relaxed, as noted above, but with a lot of dope to smoke up before my return flight on Saturday I planned to drop my bags at a locker in Helmond Station but had to double back to Eindhoven to find a locker before returning through bleak Helmond (station shot below) to the start of my run at Horst-Sevenum Station (equally bleak, below Helmond).  Reckoning on 18 to 20 miles, I planned a route to go through the dorp of America then mostly following fietspads parallel to the railroad back to Helmond and a change of clothing.

Helmond Station

Helmond Station

bleak platform at Horst-Sevenum

Horst-Sevenum Station

 

I followed the route a route planner for biking suggested would be the most direct although I should have, in retrospect, probably done the ‘scenic’ or ‘recreational’ option and gotten away from fietspads right on the highways or through industrial sites.  Still, it was pleasant enough until I found this concentration camp for unwanted foreigners just outside of (wait for it)…

 

Concentration camp outside America

 

… America. Yes, there is a bleak little suburban hell hole in the Netherlands called America…ugly, unfriendly, and with the clocks decades behind the modern world.

America in

Like a bad dream, I soon left America behind to eat itself.

America uit

It was a fairly dull jog but I had mileage scheduled and soon it was done.  No pub breaks because I couldn’t find a bar open, but did some damage to the residual weed in front of a massive greenhouse just before the llama farm, at a reservoir just entering Deurne, and in a forest on the southern approach to Helmond.  Finishing with just over 19 ½ miles, no rain despite the forecast, a couple of juice and pastry stops along the way, I was soon back in Eindhoven to do a little walking tourism and pick up my bags for the flight home.

2015-06-20 run thru Dutch America map

 

Ahh, home again on Sunday.  I arrived just after midnight and the cat met me at the door and was my constant companion right up to the next morning, riding the bedspread like waves formed by my sore body in fitful sleep (in addition to the runs, I walked over 25 miles doing city tourism on this trip).  Jackie worked Sunday but the last run of the 7 day streak (or 13 days, to be more accurate) was a minimalist neighbourhood slog of 4.95 miles down the rail trail, thru Wichelstowe, blah blah blah…but it is really nice to be home.

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Posted June 21, 2015 by Drunken Bunny in Running, Tourism

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