Leiden - Delft, or the inevitable hangover, the usual medicine and losing weight already
Ouch, that is how my first day of twalking begins. I am expected at the Zijlpoort at twelve o'clock for a photo shoot with the Leidsch Dagblad, the local Leiden newspaper. Also RTL4, a commercial national television broadcaster, will drop by to record the first steps of my journey. The Zijlpoort is not the most logical choice to walk through on my way to Delft, but it is one of the most recognizable monuments of the old city borders so I chose to meet everyone here.
No, I wasn't too careful with the alcohol the night before. It was the last night out with friends and family, so shoot me. The five hours of sleep must have left their mark on my face though and I am not sureif I want to see the pictures when they are done, let alone the television footage.
The photographer doesn't take much time. I guess because my face doesn't make for nice pictures today. A few days later when my mother receives the newspaper she writes me how striking the similarity is between my brother and me. My brother is five years my elder... She says she can't scan the picture and only typed over the article, but I suspect censorship.
Next up are the girls of RTL4's Health Angels (not kidding...). They let me pass by unnoticed at first what doesn't help me feel more secure about my morning after look, but as I later learn, they were only told they were meeting a pilgrim on his way to Jerusalem. They expected a sixty year old religious fanatic on sandals and not a thirty-something social media missionary with a hangover. During the interview the camera lady has to remind the anchor we have to watch the time, but she likes the story too much to shorten her questioning. That, together with her pretty face, at least compensate the hangover somewhat.
Almost almost gone
All in all this false start takes up more than an hour so around 1330 hours I can finally press on. But not before I visit my friend Eveline who gave birth to a baby girl two months earlier. With all the preparations there was never time to welcome her daughter Anne properly. There is no time now either, but I have to go. Luckily this visit results in me and Eveline examining the contents of my bag and pulling out 2265 grams of excess baggage. I must have had anticipatory hangover syndrome when I packed it. How did all that stuff get in my bag?!
Late, as always
OK, so at three o'clock I am finally walking. 25 kilometres to go and I am hoping for a meal in Delft. Is it possible to run with 12 kilo's on your back and a guitar in hand? I guess not, but at least the weather is shiny, so my spirits are up. The twalk is beautiful but endless. I arrive at Marieke and Joost's house around nine in the evening. 25 kilometres in six hours, not bad for a first day, but I left my hosts waiting for dinner. Marieke is a colleague of a friend of mine, Iris. They both work at the hospital. I was told she wasn't on any social media but apparently her boyfriend Joost and I had been following each other on Twitter for some time. We tweeted a couple of times, including the day before my start, but he never said and I never made the connection.
The welcome is warm and long awaited, and the Nasi (fried rice) and eggs Marieke prepares are warm and welcome. What can go wrong? Nothing really, except that I can't seem to lift my right arm to bring the spoon to my mouth... muscle ache from one day of twalking and I haven't even really used my arms! I fear for my legs the next day.
After dinner I sit down with Joost to fix the Internet connection on my laptop. He is one of the founders of www.geencommentaar.nl, a Dutch political blog site and he also happens to be a former help desk employee. He knows his computers and since I am completely analog when it comes to hardware I am glad to hand my disconnected laptop over to him.
I am wasted, but when Marieke goes to bed Joost and I just have to drink one more beer. Just one more, one for the road... Nothing changes... really.