Don’t Fear The Reeferbahn
Goede dag kutten,
Happy weed Wednesday to all 2 of my Canadian readers out there.
In June I ran the Pieterpad over the course of 18 days. It’s a shit name but a really nice trail. I don’t want to rubbish Dutch culture. I’m sure it’s called the Pieterpad for a good reason but from now on I will refer to it as ‘The Reeferbahn’.
The Reeferbahn is a 310 mile trail starting in Pieterburen just north of Groningen and ending in Mount Saint Pieterburg near Maastricht. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not a fucking hill let alone a mountain. I got the train over to Amsterdam from London and spent the night in Zwolle before going to Groningen and then running up to the start at Pieterburen on the first day.
I brought along my Crafty weed vaporizer for the trip and would break up each day’s running into little intervals like in Snooker. I’d fire up the vape 5km into the first run and set myself some internal marching music. Then I’d put it away and run another 5km and burn the last of the weed dregs.
For the mid session interval, I’d stop at a cafe, have a few bottles of Fanta Cassis to rehydrate and be on my merry way again.
The only difficult parts of the trail were the sandy bits. It was shitty having to remove sand from my shoe every kilometer but I persevered with it and towards the end it stopped.
I brought along my Anker Soundcore Mini speakers and spent most of the journey listening to Husker Du at full volume whilst blazing away. I’d often join in with Bob Mould in his wild incoherent shouting. Screaming along throughout tranquil countryside and spending vast portions of the journey doubled over laughing “MAKE! PLANS!!!! MAKE!!! PLANS!!!! MAKE!!!”.
There was one incident where I was doing this and I turned a corner only to find a man with his dog, standing there aghast at the scene. Dogs hate American hardcore music. Especially the Dutch ones.
What made it worse was that I had taken a wrong turn and I had to run past him twice more. The worlds shittiest hate parade for one hour only.
The weed generally made running easier. The uphills even felt like downhills but there were some confounding moments when I’d take a wrong turn and end up chasing my arse in circles for a few hours.
My brain was wracked with odd questions that no one on Earth has answers to.
“Am I running right? Why do I feel a very specific pressure under my right knee just below the 5th tendon? What is a knee anyway?”
I just went with the flow and stopped thinking if shit got too much. Love and hate were in the air like pollen from a flower.
The great thing about the trip was the affordability of the accommodation along the way compared to Amsterdam. I was able to book amazing rooms for about 50 euro a night. In Amsterdam that isn’t gonna get you shit apart from maybe a box hotel 5 miles out.
My fuelling strategy was naive. I would sometimes stop for a litre Chocomel and follow it up immediately with a litre of AA orange drink. Then I’d wonder why I needed to shit urgently in a forest. Fortunately I wasn’t snookered on the brown for too long.
At nights I tried to eat healthier.
I set out each morning with no idea where I’d end up that evening. I followed the trail using the Navigation > Course on my Fenix 3 and had the GPX open in GPX Viewer as well to ensure I was going in the right direction.
If I came across a nice town or village, I stopped for the evening and ate somewhere nice. I booked accommodation with the Booking.com app. This worked every single night bar the one night I was right by the Rhine and all my suggestions were in Germany and I had to get a 20 euro taxi from Tolkemer to somewhere with a B&B.
Much of the 2nd half of the journey goes along the Dutch/German border. One moment you’re in the Netherlands and the next in Germany. I liked the Gernany bits as I’d stop at a cafe and be able to order some shit in my broken German
“Hello muttifucker! Kann ich habe einen gesmeichtes Eis mit sehr lots of Kreme bitter danke Schon mijn kutten!”
By the time I got to Venlo my shoes were falling apart so I opted to spend the night in Eindhoven instead. I bought a pair of these flashy bastards. I asked the guy in Intersport if he spoke English and asked for some running shoes which were “extra bouncy”. He duly fucking delivered.
The ending was a bit of an anticlimax. Maastricht is a pretty city but my feet were torn up from the new shoes I’d bought in Eindhoven. I booked a place in there with the worst spiral staircases I’ve ever seen in my life. It was agony moving. I don’t know what it is with The Netherlands and steep staircases. It must be some kind of altitude fetish since there are no fucking mountains of note anywhere.
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. Since then my running has been on the up without weed but this month-long jaunt seriously broke me out of a rut that I might never have escaped from.
If you compare this with my old holidays where I’d spend 2 weeks angrily drinking by a pool, it is progress.
Weed is a drug that is addictive, no doubt. But compared to alcohol, it isn’t as immediately destructive. Weed buys you time until it takes all of your fucking time. Be careful what you do out there If you’re gonna trade addictions, make sure you pick an addiction which isn’t gonna ruin your life. Cannabis alone won’t ruin your life, but the idiotic fucking laws around it will.