A bit excessive, even for me, intrepid traveller that I am, but on Friday last week I was in England (and Germany and Holland), on Saturday in Holland, on Sunday in Holland (and Germany) and on Monday in Germany and Spain!
Last Friday I flew for £10, courtesy of Ryanair, from Stansted to Weeze airport (formerly RAF Laarbruch) which is almost on the border between Germany and Holland. My penchant for honesty cost me dear as when the young lady at the car hire desk asked if I was going into another country I told her I was and she promptly added another 44 euros to the bill! Wiping out any saving I had made on Ryanair.
The point of all the moving around was to take part in the annual march (read walk or ramble) around Osterbeek, near Arnhem in Holland. It's called the airborne march and it is to remember or honour the British paras who took part in the battle of Arnhem in September 1944. Another great military disaster celebrated - a bit like Dunkirk really. There are thousands and thousands of people, civilian and military, individuals and groups,who take part in this walk, which is held over various distances ranging from 10km to 40km. I decided to do the 15 km.
I have a couple of Des Buckley namesakes on Face Book and when I noticed that one of them had taken part in the walk last year, together with his wife Hilda, I thought it would be interesting if we walked it together. And so it transpired. It made the walk go much faster talking about the many things we had in common - almost as if we had been leading parallel lives. We shared a beer or two at the end. If anybody ever tells you that that Des Buckley drinks too much then let me tell you it is not me, it is the other one. I suspect, of course, that he will tell the same story!
If you time the return to Osterbeek correctly then you can turn your finishing stagger into a swagger as you get to march in behind a band and the music motivates you with a fresh lease of life. There are many bands taking part and this was the one I linked up with on Saturday.
I spent Sunday night in Dusseldorf, exploring the old town, before flying back to Spain yesterday. I think that those nice security screening people were on strike as there was only a small number of lanes open. The queues to enter security wound around the inside of the terminal and it took well over half an hour to be processed. Thank goodness I was flying within the Schengen zone, and thus no passport control, or there wouldn't have been time for the pre-flight calming G&T.
Perhaps one more long walk before "the big one" through the Cairngorms in just under 3 weeks time. There is still time to donate if you want to.......