Netherlands,  We12hike,  We12inspire

The path of Saint Peter

At last, spring has arrived. For real that means, with sunshine, temperatures above freezing level and singing birds. For us, spring means getting out of the and into the wild. As far as you can call it wild here in Europe. We always travel during the spring, sometimes a few short hikingtrips within Holland, Belgium or Germany, sometimes longer trips (like Scotland last year) and sometimes even a BIG trip (upcoming: USA in June). Our last trip 4-day trip was in officially in spring, but with winter conditions. We had SNOW on 3 of the 4 days we went hiking. Yes, indeed, snow … this time Easter was colder than Christmas. Quite amazing huh, believe me, there was little fun about freezing in your tent at night…

Even though The Netherlands is small and crowded, there’s quite some LAW’s here. LAW stands for Lange Afstand Wandeling, which means Long Distance Walkingtrail. They usually run for a distance of at least 100 km’s through various parts of The Netherlands and are well marked along the way, which has proven to be very inconvenient. The most famous long distance trail is the Pieterpad, which is almost 500 kms long. It runs from the Sint Pietersberg in the southern part of the country all the way up north to Pieterburen, hence the name Pieterpad. The markings are white/red and usually easy to follow in the landscape, however there has never been a day we missed one and ended up walking the wrong way.

The Pieterpad devides into two sections from a town called Vorden. A couple of years ago we started walking down south from there and once we finished that part of the trail, we started walking up north. So far we’ve walked through the provinces of Gelderland, Noord Brabant, Limburg and Overijssel. During our last 4-day walking trip, we walked further up north and entered Drenthe, which is one of the most unknown provinces of The Netherlands, for us at least. So far the Pieterpad has mostly been gorgeous and has proven that, despite the fact that we are crammed with people and there’s too much pollution, there’s still some hidden gems in our tiny country. Some of the parts we really enjoyed so far on the Pieterpad were Monterland (which is actually really close to our home and where I used to go for walks with my parents as a kid), the parts leading through Limburg along the Maas, through the hills of the southernmost part of our country and also the Sallandse Heuvelrug, with stunning views 360 degrees from the Holterberg.

We both hadn’t been to Drenthe before (except from a trip to a zoo in Emmen) so were unsure what to expect. We were really suprised about some of the natural areas the Pieterpad took us to, especially since the landscape kept changing all the time. Below you will find some images of the walks we took, showing us some really pretty parts of our tiny crowded country… We even saw a “hunebed” (dolmen in English) which Drenthe is known for. To see more images of the rest of the Pieterpad, just go to our main photosite where you can find various galleries of our Pieterpad hikes.

Day 1: on the way from Hardenberg to Coevorden

Day 2: the frozen Stieltjeskanaal

 

Day 2: 4 kms to go to Sleen, our place for the nightDay 3: the small village of Sleen with a bit of snow

Day 3: a hunebed

Day 4: In case you ever wondered why we are called The Netherlands (Lowlands), here is the answer
Day 4: the Drentsche Aa natural area

We saw quite some waymarkers along the way, indicating the distance left to Pieterburen. This time we ended in Rolde, meaning we still have about 70 kms to go, which we plan to do this summer. So hopefully we can then finally finish the path, it has taken us 5 years by then … once we finish it we’ll let you know what we though was the most amazing place.

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