Last night we went to sleep in Harwich, Essex, England. This morning we woke up in the Hook of Holland. After 5 days of having to create every inch of progress through our own efforts, this made a nice change. It was also a relief to the more seasick-prone among us that the crossing of the North Sea took place overnight while we were all safely horizontal – which I have found to be by far the best position to adopt when feeling queasy. But by my standards, last night’s crossing was blessedly calm, the motion of the ferry barely perceptible compared with the extreme tippiness of my little rowboat.

The breakfast was better too. No full English available on the Brocade. We were woken this morning by a tannoy announcement letting us know that food was now being served. Team BB2B has found that we walk best on a good bellyful of breakfast, so we stoked up well on hot eggs, tomatoes, and toast.

We had cause to be glad of the calories. We emerged from the warmth of the ferry into a dark, wet Dutch morning. For the first 3 or 4 hours of our day we walked on an exposed pathway along the top of a dike, through driving rain and gale force winds. The landscape was bleak and industrial. After yesterday’s mellow sunshine and the pretty late autumn landscape of Essex’s Constable country, today seemed especially brutal.

The one bright spot of the morning came when two smiling people caught up with us and introduced themselves as Melanie and Philip. Melanie had been following my blog and they had decided to come and join us for our day’s walk – our first BB2B day guests. They had missed us at the ferry terminal, but had then spotted our orange jackets and caught up with us. Yet another good reason to be glad of our brightly colored waterproofs. They were well field-tested in the worst of conditions today, and came up trumps. Thanks yet again to Marmot!

Aside: 8 reasons why we love our orange Marmot jackets (Palisades model):

  1. Resistant to rainwater by the bucketful
  2. Sleeve pocket ideal for storing chocolate – not too hot, not too cold
  3. Great hood design – hood stays up (even with ponytail) and keeps rain out
  4. Top of zip doesn’t rub painfully
  5. Snuggly fleece collar
  6. Highly visible to day guests and to each other
  7. Good for team spirit and cohesiveness – great that we all match
  8. Color symbolic of change – what we need to do in Copenhagen if humans are to survive

Although my jacket kept me nice and dry, I hadn’t put enough clothes on before leaving the ferry and started to feel cold. But I was reluctant to take my waterproof off in order to add more layers underneath. Even a couple of minutes of exposure to the elements would have soaked me to the skin. So I plodded on.

I was losing touch with my toes when at last we found the ferry that would take us on the short ride across an inlet from the sea – and to the refuge of a café on the other side. After putting on ALL the clothes from my rucksack, and gulping down a hot chocolate, with a large slice of apple pie on the side, I started to feel better. A bowl of mushroom soup completed my restoration to health and happiness.

We had to do a few more miles through the industrial landscape before at last our path turned towards Brielle, away from the road and into the countryside. The skies cleared and the sun came out, and my perception of Holland started to become more favourable.

After passing many modern wind turbines, we spotted a proper traditional wooden windmill as we took the final turn in the path that would lead us to Brielle. It turned out to be a gorgeous little town, with quaint old Dutch-gabled houses, restaurants and shops lining a canalful of boats. We are now sitting in the hotel bar with Melanie and Philip, drinking tea and munching on biscuits and chocolate. Chocophile Indian Ocean rower Sarah Outen texted me today to insist that we eat “copious amounts of Belgian chocolate” in her honor – so we are gladly obeying orders. The things I have to do for my friends…!

P.S. I have a load of really lovely photos that I want to use to illustrate this post. However… having spent 10 Euros for internet access, this is what happened:

a) I cannot log on from my MacBook – spent 1:30 hrs trying

b) I am now using the hotel PC, which allowed me to copy using the right mouse button, but did not allow paste using the same – 20 mins

c) Now refuses to recognize the photos on my USB drive, even though it was perfectly happy to recognize the text file of the blog – spent 40 mins trying

d) Now about to run out of minutes on my internet access. Now 10pm, and today started at 5am UK time. Have totally lost the will to live.

e) iPhone blogging (used several times in last few days to email blog and photos to Mum for her to post online) is far too expensive from here.

f) Have not been able to access emails. Probably have 100 unread by now – in addition to the existing backlog of 88.

g) So am going to bed in despair. Will try tomorrow to post the photos. Really sorry.

h) Sigh….

4 Comments

  • Dear Roz, I must have needed a good laugh because your description of the virtues of your Marmot jacket made me laugh till I cried–it was the part about the sleeve pocket being good for storing chocolate that did it, I think! Sitting here in sunshine on a warm Los Angeles afternoon I am just awed by your determination to slog through miles and miles of driving wind and rain to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability–and it’s ironic that what seems to have done you in was the futility of trying to use technology to share your experiences with the rest of us!! (though I’m sure fatigue also played a part).

    Anyway, whenever you are actually able to access your messages, do know that we are eagerly following your travels and travails and sending our support and good wishes across the ether–you are an enormously good person doing an enormously important thing and deserve all the help and loving energy we can send. Oh, and Barack Obama announced that he will go to Copenhagen, adding at least some good energy from the US to the thinking and planning taking place.

    Meanwhile, all the best for your mighty trek–and may you continue to encounter sunshine, good chocolate and warm hearts wherever you go!

  • Sounds like a wonderful day, save for the cold and the PC woes — while you were fortunate to be able to eventually bundle up, dealing with PC problems like that is such a horrible way to wind up a day just before bed! Hopefully you’ll find an Internet connection a bit less Mac-hostile so we can see your pics soon! You’ve got more important things to worry about than that!

  • Dear Lady Roz, (you will always be “Lady Roz” in Santa Fe, NM!) I’m almost embarrassed to be sitting under Santa Fe blue skies while Orange Jackets are trudging through European rain and mud! (Of course at 7000′ those November blue skies are at 20 degrees F.!) I just wanted to let you know that your post-Thanksgivinged
    fans here in The City Different are following every muddy footprint as you all show our world what needs to be done to ensure a blue-skied future: keep slogging ahead towards an ecologically sustained planet, one footstep/oar stroke at a time. Our warmest wishes of support to Those In the Orange Jackets! – Doug Stewart, Santa Fe, NM

  • Thanks, all, for your lovely comments! I’ve had very intermittent email access (most blogs have been posted by my mother after very hasty turning on of data roaming for just long enough to send her an email via my iPhone – ridiculously expensive otherwise), but whenever I manage to pick up my emails I pass your messages on to the team – and we all appreciate them very much!

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