Breda - Zundert, or coincidence is the god of fools and how Dutch food is really Spanish


I leave Breda and Marijke at 1030 in the morning. In one of my boots I find a card of St. Benoit, the pilgrim Marijke's husband named himself after when he chose to be baptized. He did this at an age at which most Christians have forgotten all about their initiation to the church or at least don't think about it consciously. For Benoit this transition was so important, that Marijke to this day, won't mention the name he was given by birth. I am moved by the gesture of the card and I put it away so it won't get folded.

Today my destination is Zundert, the birth place of Vincent van Gogh. I feel my right leg twitching and my back is hurting. I realise I borrowed my backpack from Jos, a good friend of mine who walked to Santiago the Compostela some years before, but I never readjusted it to my body. I don't even know how to. I'll have to fix it soon though, before I get some serious injury from it.

The walk to Zundert is 20 km, no problem in normal circumstances, but the bag seems to weigh extra heavy today. My moral is lowering. I walk for about 20 minutes and I take a break near the hospital. Even before I sit down a car pulls over behind me and I hear a door slam. "I saw you walking with your backpack and guitar. Are you by any chance Wijnand, the guy that is walking to Jerusalem?" Somewhat surprised I answer him that I am. "Then you are staying at my place tonight, I am Jan. I gather you won't accept a lift?" I promised myself I would walk every kilometre but I never said anything about my luggage... Coincidence is the god of fools, I read somewhere. I don't care if it's coincidence or fate, I just lost three kilo's!

Relieved of the weight the walk to Zundert is easier to endure, even though my right leg is still protesting and rain is coming down on me most of the afternoon. A few hours later I arrive in Zundert and I am happy to find my unexpected saviour at home with his girlfriend Jona, and my stuff safely put down against the couch.

That night I get 'hutspot' for dinner. "This might be the last proper Dutch meal you'll get for some time." Jan is right and he couldn't have chosen a more appropriate Dutch dish. I come from Leiden and in Leiden hutspot (mashed carrots, onions and potato's) is the 'local dish' since they defeated the Spanish in 1574. It was found on the camp site of the Spanish when they were chased by the washing waters after the dikes were broken. So technically hutspot is a Spanish dish, but I don't think they still serve it.

That night we go out for a few drinks in 'De Kèrel', a local pub. Arash, a good friend of mine and the guitarist in my band, is coming over for drinks. He introduced me to Jona through Twitter. We go to bed around three. Way too late since I will meet the television crew of KRO's 'Goudmijn' the next day, for an interview on national television. We had too much of a good time to cut it short though, and getting to know new people is what this whole trip is all about. Again, nothing changes, really.

Wijnand Boon