hans groen *17 09 1959 - †11 08 2022

south england and felixstowe to wales

When I was young and crazy, I once biked from my parents place in The Hague to the Belgium port of Zeebrugge, took the night boat to Dover which arrived around 5.30, and around 8.30 I was at the Youthhostel in Hastings. I had to spend the full day in Hastings feeling a bit tired and with overcast weather. It was in the time before the Southcoast econome had its boom. The next day I travelled with someone I met in Hastings to Alfriston, a small village next to a river. I took one day off, I really had to catch up some sleep. Then I went to Arundel where I met the guy with whom I had biked to Alfriston.

On his advice, I went a bit more inland to Hindhead, one of the smallest Youth Hostels in England and beautifully located in a valey. From there I went back to Eastbourne and the next day to Dover to catch the night boat to Zeebrugge again. In a short time, I made a lot of kilometers, enjoying everything of the South English landscape.

The next year, I went to Wales together with the guy I had met in Hastings. We went first via Zeebrugge to Felixstowe. I think we had also an option on going to the peak-district, but when we started out that direction, we experienced the landscape in between a bit boring. With a bit of zig-zagging, we made it to the Cotswolds and then headed into Wales, the Black Mountains. Biking through this area is great fun. The gardenlike quality of the Cotswolds, the rough loneliness of the Welsh mountains, the wide area between Hereford and Malvern Hils. On our way back, we stopped in Milton Keynes, the infamous new city in the middle of England. It took us some time to find the Youth Hostel. For some reason, new places are build for trafic to and from the shopping mall and not for people travelling from one place to the other. On the way from Cambridge to Harwich, we lost each other. Somewhere we lost eye contact when I was going ahead a bit, and then I took a wrong turn which I discovered after some time. Went back, took the right way, but now chasing my companion who thought that I was still ahead. We met up at the little ferry in Harwich which took us to Felixstowe where our boat would leave, back to Zeebrugge.