At the beginning of May, when nature was still blooming, we (my mom Valérie, sister Sarah and uncle Jacques) set out on a trip to the Netherlands to visit my older brother (Pierre). Having toured the region on our bikes, we slowed the pace and explored the countryside surrounding Hengelo on a day hike.
Our small adventure started in the nearby town square. Every Wednesday it hosts a farmer’s market, a chance for us to embrace the local culture and everyday life. Though sparsely filled, we saw a few iconic stands from cheese makers to fresh braadworst.
We headed out of town, walking through an industrial zone, mixing old factories and minimalist buildings. Several bike parks reminded us of our ride around town and the Netherlands’ impeccable cycling infrastructure. We were also super lucky with the weather, enjoying a sunny 20°C morning.
Though the buildings were quite impressive the local architectural attraction is tiny salt houses. As soon as we were on the outskirts of Hengelo, the first ones appeared on the horizon. They have been in use for over a century and originally housed small drilling facilities. Now they serve as access points to underground pipes that carry brine toward a nearby processing factory.
Turn after turn, we wandered through flower fields, trying not to get lost in a maze of canals. Fortunately, even hiking directions were on point and led us from one town to the other. We contemplated the blooming nature and enjoyed the fresh air.
A few kilometers later, we were approaching Enschede through a nature reserve and found a bench, the right picnic spot. From the ground or up on the observation deck, the birds chirped endlessly while we ate our improvised sandwiches.
Our hike was already coming close to an end. After chatting with local bird spotters, we headed back towards Hengelo, following train tracks that led us to a golf course. Of course, we saw more iconic Dutch houses, cycling paths, and endless plains.
We ended our hike and day with a small supermarket run and beer sampling on a rooftop overlooking the whole city. We were living slowly, enjoying the weather, city, and benefits of being together for a short while.