Saturday, April 25, 2015
This is the day that Michael has been waiting for: a meeting with his family that have been living In Canada for many years now. Read how the day went by:
"This morning I woke up early. The weather looks rather good but it still seems to be freezing. I get my gear and get dressed. I walk down the stairs with my bags and all. Downstairs there are two people having breakfast. I stow away my bags and I also drop by for breakfast. Pretty soon we are having a conversation. They noticed I came down with a lot of cycle bags. They are a young couple from Australia in their mid twenties, I guess. They are sportive types and they also like running. He is a professor who is occupied with research on motion science. He speciality is recovering from diseases in combination with influences from metals. This is very appropriate in my case. You can't make this up to meet a young professor with a beard and a common appearance.
I have been experiencing more specialities and I decide to enjoy everything about it. After breakfast I grab my bike and load all my bags again. I am being waved goodbye by a young lady who made breakfast and took care of the B&B this morning. She tells me that she is certainly going to follow me on the internet. She wishes me good luck and many beautiful miles.
At 9:30 am I cycle in Ottawa knowing that I will not be here for a long time. I follow the canal that has been pumped dry for clenaing. At last I cross the canal and drive through 'Prince Albert St.'. Here there are still special lanes for cyclists. Riding goes pretty well and I am lucky with the North West wind that is half tailwind.
After cycling for two hours I am half through although it is cloudy and it feels really cold. The temperature is 5 degrees Celcius but it feels much colder. I see a sign with 'North Grower' on it and it looks familiar to me. Some time later as I enter the actual village I see the restaurant where I had dinner with my parents and brothers in 2013. I remember it as a fine place and very cosy. This is where I stop to get warm.
A very pretty woman asks me what I will have and I order a cup of coffee. I find a place at the bar where an elderly man is sitting. "It is cold for cycling", he says. I agree and we have a nice conversation. The man is 78 years of age and he suffers from an early Parkinson's disease. He tells me about his grandson who has a Duch girlfriend. He is impressed by my initiative. And also that I tell him about the liberation of Holland by the Canadians 70 years ago. Listening to him I find out that life on the countryside can be hard. Especially when you come of age. After talking for an hour and being warmed by the coffee and a small meal I pay the check. Also for the man's coffee. He is grateful for that. I say goodbye and climb on my bike.
The wind is less cold now but after a turn I have sidewind. The environment is beautiful. I feel very at home here. It is a strange feeling of peace and trust that I get. I really enjoy of every single moment. This feels great. It is almost spiritual for me. This environment has someting magical. How does one explain this?
Suddenly while filming with my camera on my helmet I see a beaver along the raod on a stump in the water. I stop cycling but the beaver goes slowly in the water and swims away. Then suddenly a splash and it's gone. Beautiful! Unfortunately I could not take a picture.
I will have to ride for 6 miles and after a turn I drive on a gravel road. Nature becomes more intense here. Beatiful trees. Three large birds of prey are circling above my head. They are beautiful animals. Soundless they fly through the air. A bit later I see a fox and he sees me too. It turns around and decides not to cross the road afterall. Beautiful. Next a turkey runs across the road and through the grass as a fool. It disappears between the trees. Surprisingly I ride into Merickville on a road that I do not know. What a beautiful tour. I have been cycling 10 kilometers too much and a disctance of 70 kilomters but the time flew.
I arrive at my family's and it is really great to meet them again. Instantly I have a fine conversation with my elderly niece who, along with the others, was very concerned during my stay in Newfoundland. It is not the time of the year to do such a thing. At the end of June or in July it would be fine but not at this moment she says.
After some time my nephew and his family arrive too. They also have been following me on my website. It is good to see them again too. They cook something of everything on the BBQ. And believe me they can like no other. My consin's husband Bob can handle this really good and he brought meat of the best quality with him. There is also a lot on the table like fine salads. A king's meal really. My nephew ordered a cake with the message 'Good Luck Michael' written on it, including a drawing of my bike. I am really surprised and it feels so good to be back again.
We talk and talk and from time to time I think about my family. It is a pity they are not here with me. Now I realise that I haven't been able to skype with them this morning. Tomorrow is another day. I really want to talk with them! What a perfect day!"
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Han Schomakers