Predicted distance: 21 km
Actual distance: 21,5 km
Time: 4h 26m
Speed: 4,8 kmph
Soundtrack: Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield
So after the 36,5 km yesterday, 21,5 should be a piece of piss, right? Well it was, and it wasn’t. I did allow myself the luxury of sleeping in and getting a later start, as I had a shorter distance today and could start walking from home. However my legs (and feet!) were of course not fully recovered from yesterday and did start aching about 8 km in.
Walking through the serene and quiet nature of the Oostvaardersplassen for the first 2/3 or so did help though. And having a cap and sunglasses with me was helpful too. I walked along the water for as long as possible, so the slightly longer route was a choice I made this time. I only saw the wild horses from a distance, but saw a lot of birds and crickets and frogs (and flies….), and was having a pretty good time of it despite sore feet.
But then… I got out onto a seemingly never ending road and that fucker almost did me in. It felt like it was literally sucking the life out of me. These two pictures were taken 45 minutes apart.
And yes there were a few trees, but the overwhelming feeling was just that of asphalt stretching out into oblivion, with the odd car whizzing past so fast it was clear they wanted to get this dull road over with as fast as possible too. I managed to get through it by creating a song about how dull the road was (tightly based on Singin’ in the Rain), and eventually picking up my walking pace a little.
Just goes to show how important the mental component is, I guess. Which will be a huge problem tomorrow.
Tomorrow I’m facing another 35 km, and by the looks of it it goes almost entirely along highways. Actually it goes on the highway, because it turns out Google maps is pretty crap for walking instructions (I checked and there are bike paths next to it…). I thought at least they’d take me where there’s bike paths, but it’s 0 for 2 so far.
I know it’s not helpful to psych myself down beforehand, particularly not because – as just mentioned – the mental component is so important. But, I am having trouble seeing how I’ll get through this one and I do need a coping strategy. It consists of two parts:
- I think I will do the route in reverse. Which seems kind of wrong, but it’ll be the exact same stretch, and as I’m going home to sleep anyway it doesn’t really matter. It just gives me a shorter train ride at the end of the day when I’m tired and sweaty, and a longer one in the morning.
- Audio books. J has helpfully reminded me that headphones exist (I even had them in my pack today and didn’t remember.. Duh!), and I have an Audible subscription. I think the distraction will help hugely with the mental component on a day like tomorrow. Just hope my feet don’t hurt too much.
The whole Google maps thing is becoming a bit of an issue though. I do need to prioritise the shortest distance from point a to point B as it’s already a very long hike, so I’ll accept some stretches along highways. But if I have to walk all the way to Berlin along highways I may kill myself. And if Google maps guides me onto roads that have no sidewalk or bike path, cars may kill myself. I’m a little concerned. But I also don’t have a huge amount of time to redo all my planning….