our intrepid teamleader Carly (with umbrella). she worked hard to make sure we didn't take too many wrong turns
it seems the entire area had been deforested around the 15th c. to make grazing land for cattle and esp. sheep (whose sh.t - ahem - manure was much in demand). In the 17th c. some of it became a tobacco farm. In the 19th c., demand for timber resulted in reforestation. Today there are 27 estates within the national park.
at one point we crossed a cement embankment - apparently it had been a railway platform once upon a time, when a resident family installed a private railroad for their personal pleasure.
by far the most energetic member of the group was paul and baida's beagle Balu, who kept straining at her leash throughout the trip
Our first break was at a large stretch of sand which was a bit of a surprise this far from the sea.
as we walked, we talked. there were a good number of academics and intellectual interests in the group. as we were walking i got to discuss resonance in computer networks with christian from delft; impending trips to darjeeling and nepal with "in a jiffy" alex; brain transplants and immigration with baida; kayaking and bicycling and statistical information retrieval with eugen; infant cognition and attention with dorothy; the falling markets for corporate insurance with paul...
we stopped at the small village of austerlitz where we ate our snacks and most people had coffee but i managed to expand on my inventory of ales tasted with the belgian "la chouffe".
nearing maarn, we crossed a small round structure with classical columns. a woman standing outside turned out to be the maarn-based artist mijpe, she said she'd lived six years in bhutan, and we fell talking. the romantic structure in the middle of lush greenery was her studio - how fortunate! it was called Koepel van Stoop, and had been a tea house (the columns were from the demolished Koopmans exchange building in Amsterdam).
while talking to mijpe about her art and the ownership of the parklands and history, the group had long vanished from sight.
fortunately, I was able to catch up soon enough...
at one point while we were taking a break near a paddock, a horse came by and checked us out, much to balu's delight.
it took us another hour or so to get to maarn. after five hours of walking through the mud, we didn't find the prospect of maarn's single chinese restaurant too alluring. we got onto the train and dispersed like woodland seeds...
a marker along the path
eugen near the manor
what eugen was shooting above
raindrops on petals ...