Living in Zuid Holland doesn’t do much to dispel the traditional image of The Netherlands – flat polder lands, crossed with drainage ditches, wildmills and bulb fields. Vising Gelderland, however, has been a great opportunity to remind myself of the country’s other faces. After a day behind the laptop in the training room, I hired a bicycle from the hotel reception and set off for a 2 1/2 hour ride through the woods.
Whilst in England we would hesitate to call this landscape hilly, there is no denying that the land does undulate somewhat (the highest elavation of the Veluwe is apparently 100m), giving the opportunity to experience the rush of wind when freewheeling downhill. The area is littered with well marked cycle paths, but apart from a small section through town on the main roadways, I saw virtually no-one.
The woods may have been empty of human life, however, with the continual accompanient of bird song it was never silent. I caught sight of a quite a number of birds, including blue tits, coal tits, magpies and some unidentified smaller and larger “brown jobbies” near the path. The undisputed highlight, though, was the sighting near the end of the ride of an adult wild boar with three young, chasing each other through the woods, and across the path ahead of me – a magical moment.