Hiked: September 30, 2015
I started in the joined villages of Graft and De Rijp, walking along the main road through both villages. De Rijp is another of those typical picturesque villages with narrow streets, small canals and lots of old, wooden houses that are so typical of this part of North-Holland. Leaving De Rijp, I followed a quiet road along a canal past the old fortress of Spijkerboor.
As I arrived at the small ferry just past the fortress, there was no one near the boat, so I sat down in the sun and waited. I wasn’t in a hurry and the weather was excellent, so waiting was no punishment! Within ten minutes, a few more walkers and cyclists appeared and the ferryman came out of the nearby café to take us to the other side of the canal. Note that this ferry runs daily until the end of October. During the winter season, it only runs on weekends and official holidays.
I continued my walk following a quiet road along the canal towards the stretched-out village of Oostknollendam. Far away, across the polderland, the industrial buildings of Zaandijk were already visible n the distance. The area along the Zaan River, with the city of Zaandam as its centre, is traditionally an industrial region, known for its food processing industries. Past Oostknollendam, the industrial buildings were right on the other side of the Zaan River. This was also a short stretch where there was more traffic on the road, until I turned off the main road near Visitor Centre De Poelboerderij to follow a footpath along the Wormer- en Jisperveld, a nature reserve that is a main gathering point for migrating birds. This footpath along the water took me past the small town of Wormer.
I had to walk a short stretch through a residential area on the outskirts of Wormer, but on the other side I was out in the open again, following the road on a dike dividing two polders. The level of the land in the polder to my left was about 2 meters higher than that to my right. Hiking along the dike road, I had a great view on the windmills of the Zaanse Schans, a major tourist attraction.
The last 40mins or so, I walked through parts of Zaanstad and Zaandijk. As I walked along the Zaan River, occasionally the smell of roasted peanuts or cacao would waft across the water from the factories on the other side of the river. The last kilometre or so, from the Zaans Museum and the entry to the Zaanse Schans to the train station of Koog-Zaandijk, all I had to do was follow the tourists to find the train station.
Today’s hike was again almost entirely along paved roads and I passed more ‘civilization’, villages, industrial areas etc. than the previous stage. But, apart from the last 4kms, I enjoyed this hike more, because these roads were a lot quieter than those on my previous stage.