Friday, 3 November 2006

Walking to Belgium

Woke up in Tilburg. Don’t really remember if I slept. So - morning in Tilburg. It was time to move on. We were hitchhiking. The plan was to get as far as possible. Time was a factor. South of France was the improbable dream. It changed on this day. The first day thumbing had got us from the north of Netherlands to the absolute south. Not bad, considering the detour involved to pick up a tent. Optimism was in the air.
The south of Netherlands is very different from the north. I did not really spend enough time in the south to come to an informed conclusion. I just base it on the attitude of drivers to hitchhikers! After a few hours, we decided we would make better time if we just hiked it. So that is exactly what we did. Walk. The aim was to cross the Belgian border.
That is how I came about spending one of the best days of my life. We kept walking. The cars didn’t stop for us, and to be fair, neither did we. We stopped at a village for a meal, breakfast, a late one. Then we were in the countryside. We took breaks. Smoked. Fed the only food we had to some horses. I clicked the best picture of my life. And we walked some more. Alongside the road. On dirt tracks. And sometimes cross-country. Just a couple of kilometers short of the border a lady stopped for us. Drove us a short way into Belgium and dropped us on the outskirts of a village, opposite a Fries place. It was getting dark. We ate. Picked up some beer. Then moved off the road and found a place in the woods to pitch our tent. I was in Belgium for the first time in my life. And if not for that kind lady, I could have claimed to have walked in!