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Veluwe - Day 5 : Veluwezoom

Around 9:45 we emerged from our tent and sat in our chairs to wake up a bit. Later, it turned out that the camping's store was only open until 10:00, so we were too late. Fortunately they allowed us in anyway and even baked some fresh bread. We had a good breakfast, which was necessary with the long ride ahead.

Without luggage we first went to the town Beek to buy a map of the Veluwe. We also hoped they could tell us where the large animals in the park lived. On a map of the village the location of the postal office was clearly shown. Also on the traffic signs its direction was clear. When we arrived at the right spot a man told us it had been removed over a year ago. Koen tried to buy a map in a different store while the man kept talking to me and Bram. He said we had nice bikes and asked where we came from. Only yesterday he had seen the "wild cougar" that was supposedly roaming the Veluwe, and not far away. That was the same story as we heard yesterday, from the farmer who claimed to have seen it in his backyard. We didn't know where those stories came from, but they seemed hard to believe. He also told us we should visit the highest waterfall in the Netherlands which was not far away. It was supposedly 15 meters high.

 

Today we would visit the Veluwezoom, which constitutes around half of the Veluwe national park, the part you don't have to pay for. We would come across the waterfalls on the way there. We found them right away. There were already some people from Rotterdam, who thought it was amazing, such wild nature. We didn't like it at all. The river was only a meter wide and 10 cm deep. The bottom was concrete and the sides made of brick. It was almost not running. The falls themselves were also artificial, it were 4 stairs each roughly 4 meters high. The water didn't even leave the stairs, like in any real waterfall. We each ate an apple there, so Koen could tell his mom we ate enough fruit. I didn't dare to throw away the center, because the people who liked the waterfall so much probably didn't understand that wasn't really garbage.

There was bad weather predicted today and it was already getting overcast. When we reached an open part on the Veluwe it became even more cloudy. We saw a sheepherder taking shelter underneath a tree. It started getting more and more windy. Bram and I cycled to the forest quickly. We felt something was chasing us. I looked at my pocketknife which started to turn blueish. When we looked behind Koen was right behind us, but he was so slow we could easily get rid of him. At the end of the field we took shelter. The rain lasted about half an hour and was becoming increasingly more intense. When it was brightening up we continued cycling in search for a lookout point that was supposed to be close and where we would be dry.

There were dark clouds above the Veluwe. We were in the middle of an open space, with a strong headwind.

It was not crowded today, we only saw other cyclists twice.
 

Bram raced through a puddle, which didn't seem that deep, but turned out to be at least 20 cm diep. Fortunately we were cycling uphill, if we would be going downhill he probably would have fallen. After a very long time, over many hills, we got close to the lookout point. First we needed to descend a steep forest road, though.

In the front you can see a deep puddle. It was so steep you couldn't see the entire road from the top.

Bram only needed to pedal a bit to reach 40 km/h.

I took these pictures from the lookout post. The view is towards a drinking spot for wild animals.

Because it was raining there were no animals.

We ate an entire bread and sausage. Unfortunately we didn't see any animals, which was a petty because Bram practiced his lure to perfection. Other types of 'wild animals' also weren't attracted by it. It started raining like crazy again so we were happy to be dry. We weren't sure which direction to go and decided to just cycle around at random. We encountered a Scottish Highlander, a large cow with long brown hair.

The Scottish Highlander. He barely noticed we were there, but didn't move at all. In the picture on the right it looks like he moved, but it was just the camera.

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Left: Fortunately we had good suspension on our bikes. Right: Some parts were really too steep.

View of the fields

Quick, smile.


On some parts I needed to stop cycling, squeeze both brakes, and then I would still slide down even without my wheels turning. There were a lot of thorny bushes along the road, where fortunately none of us ended up in. At one point we reached 56 km/h. It was starting to get late and we both were hungry, so we left the park. Just outside the park was a restaurant selling 5 euro pizza. We were put near an open door. I'm not sure if they wanted us to sit in the rain, or were trying to make us feel cold and leave, or it was just to get rid of our smell. The first thing we ordered was hot chocolate. That was really nice after all the rain. We all had a pizza afterwards. The great table manners of Bram immediately stood out. He nicely licked his knife every time something stuck to it. Koen, who of course knew everything about restaurants, found that totally 'appalling'. When it started getting dark we decided to return to the campsite. We were in the southern part of the Veluwe so that was still quite a ride away. It was there we took these great pictures of Koen.

Finally a more realistic photo :)
 

There was a highway straight through the Veluwe we could follow. Nonetheless we decided to cycle through the forest. One section seemed to be covered by thousands of insects. All sort of things were jumping away when we got close. It turned out to be little frogs. The entire road was covered with the jumping critters. We went really fast over the small roads and a few times I left the ground. One time this was on purpose because there was a big pothole I needed to jump over.

 

Since leaving the restaurant Koen's mom had already called 3 or 4 times. Also once to tell us to be careful because the 'cougar' was spotted again. That night we also visited the point with the highest elevation in the Veluwe, but there was nothing special too see. Just a hill in the forest. There was a small tower to spot bushfires where visitors were allowed to go up to the first floor.

At four meters high we had a nice view from the tower, it was getting a little dark.
 

We decided to be smart and headed towards the highway, otherwise we would get stuck in the forest at night. In the middle of the road there were more Scottish Highlanders. We tried to get around them as carefully as possible, but the animals didn't move at all. They didn't even blink. Bram still had some apples left, most of which were now all busted.

It was getting dark on the Veluwe.

Quite late we arrived at the campsite. First we did the dishes from the previous day and then showered. I discovered I had a tick. Bram thought you could get those out using your nails, but I didn't believe him. The next day I got rid of it with a dedicated tweezer. Everything we had put in the luggage tent had gotten wet as well as my clothes on the washing line and our food that was left outside.

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Today we cycled a small loop through the Veluwe.

The western part was freely accessible, we would visit the Eastern part tomorrow.

Distance cycled: 70 km