Walking in a winter wonderland

Rijen Travel Blog

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The frozen pond.
It's been a fair while since we saw decent snowfall here in the Netherlands. I think 1997 was the last time it actually happend. This winter though, it happened again. I woke up one day, looked out the window and noticed it had snowed that night. I didn't think much of it at first, since it usually melts as the day goes by, but when I went outside I noticed it was more than usual. In other words, my feet were gone. I didn't expect that.
Now, about four to five days later, everything's still white. Since a friend and I are going to walk the West Highland Way this summer, we try to train frequently. Fortunately, we got two chances this week to go walking in the snow. It was breathtaking. On wednesday we did a sort of treasurehunt, where you get GPS starting coordinates and have to puzzle your way from one coordinate to the next.
The bat-bunkers.
After a rough start; we spent twenty minutes finding a plaque that was completely hidden in the snow, it went pretty well, untill twilight set in and we noticed we were missing the last couple of steps of the route. Needless to say we didn't find the cache. My small Batman figure will have to wait before he will be left for whoever finds him next.

Then last friday, we went down to Rijen to find a stretch of woods. We ended up at the Baronie, a gorgeous piece of nature in between Rijen and Dorst. My friend had brought a map and we decided on following a path that had been set through the better part of the woods. Eventually we noticed that the colours on the map didn't necessarily correspond with the colours we found on the path, but it was a beautiful walk none the less.
The frozen lake.
There was one specific moment where I haphazardly went off the path, following in a pair of mysterious footsteps, only to find the most wonderfull sight. A small pond, frozen solid, with a tiny island in the middle, completely untouched by man, save for three bat-bunkers that I didn't notice untill my friend pointed them out. She also taught me a wee bit of tracking. I now know what the prints of a hare look like. We also saw a woodpecker. It's fun to walk through nature with someone who studies biology.

Since it was a recreational area, we soon stumbled onto the 'Swimming Paradise'. Again, the lake was frozen solid and the beach was glistening white. It was beautiful. We spent a good three hours walking and taking pictures before heading home. On the way to the trainstation we bought something to eat at a bakery where we also got some complimental hot chocolate.
All in all it was an awesome day that I would've otherwise spent inside, probably playing some game or watching a movie. I'm glad we were able to go while everything still looked like it did, rather than the grey sludge snow tends to become after a while. We're not really used to this over here, so I'm thankful that we were able to experience it at least once more. Good times.
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The frozen pond.
The frozen pond.
The bat-bunkers.
The bat-bunkers.
The frozen lake.
The frozen lake.
The beach.
The beach.
The woods.
The woods.
More woods.
More woods.
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photo by: Verhoek