Predicted distance: 35 km
Actual distance: 36,5 km
Time: roughly 8 hours of walking (I forgot to charge my watch so it crapped out at 30 km an therefore I don’t have the total)
Speed: 4,5-4,6 kmph
Soundtrack: On the Road Again by Willie Nelson
After a fitful night’s sleep where I kept dreaming of oversleeping, getting lost, my phone battery dying, my charger not working, etc, I headed in to Amsterdam to start the journey with a couple of good friends, and one stranger who also became a friend over the part of the journey we shared with her.
I almost forgot my travel card, I DID forget my sunglasses, hand sanitiser, tissues and I think a few other things. Somehow lack of sleep and all my days of prepping left me unprepared for actually leaving the house and doing the thing. But that’s what first days are for, right?! Fortunately I was walking home.
At Amsterdam CS I met up with my two wonderful friends, Eva and Jellie, and Nina who had found the event on Facebook and was eager to join, even with her 1 year old in the pram. The four of us set out in roughly the right direction, chatting and getting along like old friends, enjoying seeing part of Amsterdam we’d never really visited. After 7 km or so two of our party dropped out, with promises that we’d all meet up again once I’m back from Berlin – the First Steps Club, as we had now dubbed ourselves.
Eva and I continued on together, walking along a beautiful wooded stretch next to the water for a long while. There were some stretches next to the highway, but we also had a break at the beach in Almere, which made up for a lot.
There was an interesting bit where Google maps tried to convince us to walk on the road where there was no sidewalk or bike path, and then to get us to walk where there was no road at all, leading to a slight detour. Of course this was in Almere that’s already familiar territory and has good mobile internet coverage. It’ll be even more interesting when this happens in the middle of nowhere in Germany. 😉
The first 20 km were relatively easy, but after that it did become more of a slog, though we did still have some laughs. After a very admirable 28 km my final brave companion had to pack it in, as everything was starting to hurt. But 28 km with no training is very impressive! And I was very thankful for the company while I had it.
The last kms were kind of rough, and I actually did run out of water – though my new reservoir held. Fortunately I passed a shop where I could buy some for the last stretch. It may be a good idea to carry a water bottle on top of the reservoir on the longest days though.
I am very exhausted, but it was a good day. It’s nice to travel by foot, as you have time to observe your surroundings properly, and just be present in the journey rather than focused on the destination. I simultaneously feel like I could do anything, and like I don’t ever want to move again. Am looking forward to what tomorrow will bring in terms of weather, soreness and experiences…
And I will leave you with this beautiful picture Eva took of me on a bridge in Muiden. I look confident and happy, and I hope to carry that with me through the rest of the days.