Sometimes the universe and my soldiers have lessons to teach or wisdom to impart. They will go to any lengths necessary to make sure I am paying attention, even if it means the inconvenience of a flat tire and small cold. And that is what happened on 19 October – a flat tire and small cold.
I made it to Ammerzoden in a little over two hours and before it was dark, with no issues with the tire. The B&B owner, Tonja, was there to greet me and show me my home for the next two weeks.
Hedelbed is a sweet little B&B situated near a quiet field by the dike. You do hear birds, insects, the occasional horse, wind rustling through the trees, and the occasional car, but otherwise it is calm and peaceful. A perfect place to stop, think, rest, be still, and write. I had a large room with a bed and living room area, a kitchen, bathroom and if I wanted to bring guests on my next trip, there was a second room with beds off the main entrance.
On this trip I had tried to plan a few days of nothing. This meant I could sleep until I woke up, go where I wanted, eat what I want, or just do nothing. These were not days to meet someone, attend ceremonies, or give a program. Going with the flow for the trip and taking advantage of almost every opportunity meant I had only a couple of days like this left in my three weeks. Until, the universe and soldiers intervened and said, ‘STOP!’
On Monday evening I went to bed and did not set my alarm for an early hour. I did set it with enough time to get ready to go get the tire replaced in ‘s-Hertogenbosch 15 minutes away. I intended to be there by 9:00 but it was closer to 10 and that was fine. The tire was replaced within an hour and a half which was plenty of time to write and just be.
Sitting at the car dealership I realized the best thing for me that day was to go back to my cozy B&B and have lunch and hot tea, a nap, and then think about what to do next. It was NOT to go off to play tourist all over the place. And, I needed groceries for my B&B, so off to the local grocery store I went!
I had a luxurious nap that afternoon and when I woke decided to walk into the village and see what I could find. Tonja had mentioned a bakery in the town center. Bakery usually means something chocolate and yummy, so that’s where I went.
The bakery was off the main road and had more bread and dessert options than a person could eat in a year! I had an Appleflappe (apple turnover) and coffee while I wrote. When I was finished I took a piece of chocolate yumminess with me and went walking. I first went to the church and lit a candle.
Over the course of the trip I lit candles in most churches or chapels I found. I lit them primarily for my soldiers and certain living people I was meeting on the trip or had unfinished business with. By the end of the trip I was even lighting them for myself. We all need help. The chapel was very small but full of love and I sat there a long time thinking. It became a wonderful spot to sit and think over the two weeks I was in Ammerzoden.
When I finished I walked down a road off the main road and stumbled upon Ammersoyen Castle. I knew I was staying within walking distance of one, but had not looked on the map to see exactly where it was. I didn’t go into the castle since I had food with me and it was getting close to closing time, but I did walk around the outside.
Across the road from the castle were the ruins of an old church. What ghosts wander there inside the building and on the grounds? I so desperately wanted to go inside the church but the entire area was fenced off. There was however an open gate and I did walk through and explore the outside of the church from a closer viewpoint.
The entrance to the main church yard was barred and locked. It appeared they open it on special event days only. I was able to take some photographs and conjure stories of what might go on there, especially after dark.
The walk back toward my B&B was peaceful and along the way I noticed another street that looked to lead to the dike. Feeling pretty good, I had to investigate! I found a bench along the narrow road which ran along the dike and sat there a long time. Cars passed. People on horseback rode by. And couples walking their dogs slowly moved past me. The skies were threatening rain but every so often the sun peeked through.
I sat on that bench a long time writing and just breathing in the country air while watching the barges and boats float by. Looking down that narrow, winding road, I knew another day before I left, I would have to return and take a long walk. See where the road led. But for this moment, sitting was the right answer.
Solo travel is good and, I feel, required at certain points in life. While on those journeys, sometimes being forced to stop and realize it is for your own good, can open marvelous new doors and ways of thinking and being.
Have you tried this recently?
© 2015 Jennifer Holik
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