“We play here every day, usually an hour or two in the afternoon. Six days a week, but not on Sundays.” Explains Jan from the Jue de Boules Association called Onderhands in Harmelen. Directly in the center of the village is a large boules field. “Otherwise we are just sitting inside our homes,” adds Jan to his story.
It is a nice clear Thursday in December and I’m on my way cycling to a pole camping site in Zeewolde in the Netherlands. It is cold today and the upcoming days it will be even colder. Fortunately without rain. When I see a couple of elderly fanatically throwing balls in the village center of Harmelen I decide to take a break here. A gentleman beckons me to a bench in the sun. And so I drink a cup of instant coffee with deliciously discounted Dutch cookies next to Jan and a group of fanatical pensioned bouler players.
A few weeks ago I had made an appointment with Erwin to go wild camping. Erwin is based in the north of the Netherlands and Zeewolde is a nice place in the middle of the country to wildcamp in an area called Horsterwold. Hosterwold is a nature reserve and in this area is a pole camp site called Campanula. That reads very tropical but its without any beaches and palm trees. There is however a fine cabin where you can sleep, at least if you don’t mind rats running around while you dream about that beach with palm trees.
Erwin and I are not having any problem with that so I grabbed my already versatile collection of stuff for that Thursday to roll out my sleeping bag in Campanula.
Not bad, touring along fields and rivers on a clear day like this. I was also ready for it. A new micro adventure. I feel that I’m unconsciously changing into city person. And that doesn’t make me always happy. Time and nature are very scarce in this city life. Time to do the things that I love. Things in nature, adventurous things. Every now and then I have to pack my bag and jump on my bicycle to find nature up deeper in our country.
With Erwin I talk that evening about everything that is relevant when you have passed the thirty. Work, love, travel. And combining all of them in the right balance can be quite a challenge. Especially when the people around you settle down, have children and you still think you have to emigrate to a beach with palm trees.
Campanula is a perfect place to philosophize about these topics. Just languish between the rats and fantasize about the perfect life where time plays no role and nature is all around us.