Great Rivers Trail

bartjeej

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In September of this year, me and my buddy walked the Grote Rivierenpad (Great Rivers Trail, basically the Dutch part of the E8 European long distance trail). In 9 days we hiked 242 kilometers (150 miles) along some of the rivers forming the Dutch delta, from the beach at Hoek van Holland until Nijmegen, a city almost on the German border.

Below are some impressions. At times (actually quite often) we were too tired to stop for photos; a lot of our bodies hurt a lot of the time. Still I think I got some nice ones in there. All photos taken with the Fuji XF10, all but 1 SOOC apart from crop and resize.

We started at the beach on a hazy early autumn morning
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Then walked along the Maas (Meuse) river, admiring the massive industry at the Port of Rotterdam
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Modern water pump keeping the adjacent polders (some 5 meters lower than the river) dry. White structure in the background is the Maeslantkering, two massive sliding doors that can close off the 300 meter wide river from the sea in case a storm threatens to push the water inland. Its doors swivel on the world's largest ball bearings

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World's largest crane ship, its cranes can lift up to 18,000 metric tons. It's used for installing oil rigs.

As we moved away from the estuary, things slowly got less industrial
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Schiedam town center

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Sheep on a dike thought I was there to feed them, even though they had a sea of grass all to themselves

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Remnants of an old bridge that became too low for shipping and too narrow for road traffic. Its younger sister to the left

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Remnants of a willow swamp that was cultivated by people using the flexible branches for baskets, fences, reinforcements et cetera

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Just liked the shadow on the house

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First view of Unesco world heritage site Kinderdijk
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Its 17 windmills in 2 rows (for two polders that both drained their water into the river at their joint border but couldnt agree on how to manage the windmills that did the draining, so each polder has its own row of windmills) attract hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. On a monday afternoon in september of the Second Year, Covid Era, we practically had the place to ourselves

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Cobwebs on a windmill further east

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Polder window

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On boring countryside roads we played a spotify playlist over a bluetooth speaker (hiking isnt what it used to be :p ). When a great guitar solo comes up you just have to whip out your air guitar...

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This apparent lake was created by the powerful vortex of water after a dam break grinding an 18m deep hole in the ground

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We slowly moved away from the peatlands and cow meadows, into the fruit growing region of the country

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2CV breadvan in a dike town on a very quiet peninsula created by a meandering river. Too cute

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Smaller river used mainly for recreation

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Right: the Rhine, locally called the Waal river carries freight boats to Germany. Left: low-lying meadows alongside the river are allowed to flood in case of high water, usually in winter. The proper dike protecting the adjacent lands is some 500 meters inland from the river. Cows can graze the grass most of the year

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Nijmegen. After 240 of our 242 kilometers, something went wrong in my back, so the glorious city center image I had in mind became a random street shot on the shortest route to the train station. Still, it felt like a proper achievement.

The E8 continues all the way to Istanbul (although it becomes sketchy after Austria), but I doubt I can get my buddy to try the whole thing...
 
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