Trains, No Planes But Bicylemobiles
Deurne Travel Blog› entry 73 of 94 › view all entries
Biking around the streets of your past always brings back good memories but the sights of the place are helped along with the smells of the food wafting on the crisp cold autumn air. Stampot, Rookworst, Friet, Ertwensoep…. As Dora the Explorer’s backpack says here in Nederland; “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, Delicious.’
And there has been a lot of that going around; watching Dora the Explorer (who speaks Dutch and English versus the English version where she speaks English and Spanish) with Verena and cycling - a lot of cycling.
The area I am based in, which is in the South of Nederland, is a province called Noord Brabant and it was here that you have some of the most beautiful fiets pad (bike paths) and cycle routes around.
Conquests dating back from Roman times right through to the Second World War, suggest this area has been valuable for centuries so maybe I don’t need to feel guilty for being biased. It is clear this region is important.
One of the highlights within Noord Brabant is De Efteling. Opening in 1952, this is one of the world’s oldest theme parks and one of my favourites. I’m not sure what makes this place so magical – perhaps a mixture of my youth mixing in with fairy tales that seem to come alive in ‘Het Sprookjesbos’ or maybe it is because in theme parks you can forget yourself and escape from reality for a time and experience the world as a child.
Riding the rollercoaster’s, pirate ship, the water rides and traveling through time and space to other worlds and lands, meant the day was worth the €29 entrance fee. But a word of advice, now that De Efteling is open 365 days a year, try and go on a weekday so as to beat the crowds. (http://www.efteling.com)
However, as I am interested in military history, I always find time to go on my bike and travel to cemeteries of fallen soldiers (both Allied and Axis) and visit the sites that endured heavy fighting during WWII. Towns in Noord Brabant, and the province next door, Limburg, are perfect to travel to see where intense fighting took place. Venray, Overloon, Eindhoven, all areas within easy access of the village and all-important areas when the battle lines were drawn.
It never ceases to amaze me how much violence this area experienced only 65 years ago and now it is calm, peaceful with birds tweeting, squirrels running and me, cycling through the forest that surrounds the village reliving a past that happened so long ago.
E.L Wood said, “History itself touches only a small part of a nation’s life. Most of the activities and sufferings of the people … have been and will remain without written record.” Perhaps this is the reason why I cycle around all these places as much as I do and why on Armistice Day (11 November), I was in the Venray War Cemetery for Allied soldiers. I wanted to make sure that the young men lying there knew that their history, their story has touched my life and that I will try and honour their memory by writing about them, however briefly.
Earlier I said that biking around the area of the past always brings back memories; whether they be good or difficult, it is important to experience. Which is why tomorrow we’re hiring a car and driving to Normandy, to see more historical sites.
From the Norman Invasion of 1066 to the location of the Norman Landings (Operation Overlord and Operation Neptune), it will be a sobering trip, but to quote from the 1962 movie ‘The Longest Day’, ‘You remember it. Remember every bit of it, cause we are on the eve of a day that people are going to talk about long after we are dead and gone.’ And this is what I intend to do,
Lest We Forget.