Day 356 – THE NETHERLANDS: Krabbendijke to Vlissingen

Today’s distance / 今日の走行距離: 42.9km
Average speed / 平均速度: 11.5km/h
Time on skateboard / 走行時間: 3h 43m
Total skateboarding distance to date / 今までスケボで走った距離: 718km (plus 428.5km)
Total cycling distance to date / 今まで自転車で走った距離: 11,800km

I am here.

The North Sea, Vlissingen, The Netherlands

After exactly one year and three days on the road, I am on the other side of the Eurasian continent. The significance of this sight filled me with emotion and tears came to my eyes. I hardly remember what the sea looked like in Japan. I only had eyes and a mind for what was up ahead. Now this is what filled my vision.

The North Sea, Vlissingen, The Netherlands

I never really thought or imagined that I would ever see this. For a New Zealand kid from Invercargill, Southland, places like this are so far away. And here I am, having arrived here mostly under my own steam.

18,500km in total.

12,000km by bicyle.

1,000km by skateboard.

5,500km by train.

Today was not without it’s trials however. The westerly wind was still blowing strong, and my feet were in no better shape than last night. The small and yet rather significant blisters on my heels were giving me grief.

A blister from pusing against the wind - nothing massive, but very painful with shoes on A moleskin donut to take the pressure off the blister

The moleskin repair job to take pressure off the blister didn’t last long. I was keen just to remove the skin off the top of the blister and be done with it, but the blister appears to be a rather complicated one. Numerous small blisters one on top of the other meant that there was no simple flap of skin to remove. There was no other choice…

Onwward! With only one shoe on (near Gravenpolder, The Netherlands) The blister was too painful for shoes, so skated 20km with only one shoe - from Gravenpolder to Vlissingen, The Netherlands)

20km later skating in socks, I was in Vlissingen. It was slow going, but at least I didn’t have the agony of the sore blisters rubbing against my boots.

I think the blisters were caused by a combination of factors. Dirty socks (unwashed for two weeks), extra effort pushing against the wind, and lack of proper rest for the last two weeks. Hopefully I can avoid this in the future…

I met Wim Harwig, a long time reader of my blog, and fellow recumbent rider, in Vlissingen. It was great to meet him after all this time on the road. I will be staying at his wonderful handbuilt home for a few days before moving on.

So, what now?

The plan is to head up to the Hook of Holland, near Rotterdam on Monday. I have booked a place on a ferry from the Hook of Holland to Harwich, leaving on Wednesday the 1st of August. Harwich is about 120km from London central, so I expect that I will be at Trafalgar Square in the morning of Saturday the 4th of August at 9am, arriving on my longboard.

So at 9am, Saturday the 4th of August, 2007, just over one year after I left Japan, I will have reached my goal.

If you’re in the area, feel free to drop on by.

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21 thoughts on “Day 356 – THE NETHERLANDS: Krabbendijke to Vlissingen

  • Chris J

    Hi Rob,

    Congratulations on an amazing trip! It feels great to have been along for the ride, even if only via my computer screen.

    I wish I could be there in London to hold the finish tape.

    Perhaps I will see you in the US next year if you decide to start on another epic journey…

  • Bram

    Hello Rob,

    Welcome in Holland ! You made it, wow !

    If you are looking for a place to stay in the Rotterdam area Monday-night and/or Tuesday, just let me know. We live in Bergschenhoek, a town approx. 8 km's north of Rotterdam Central and some 35 km's east of Hook of Holland.

    If you are not interested, I like to meet you briefly in Hook of Holland. What time will you take the ferry ?

    Regards, Bram

  • Scott

    Fan-freakin'-bloody-tastic, Rob. Well done, good on ya, etc.! I wish I could be in London to welcome you to the end of your epic. Or are you just jumping the pond and heading out for a crossing of the USA?

    Cheers and safe skating,


  • Uncle Peter

    Get shoes that fit and keep the moisture away and you won't get blisters. It's those two factors together that's the problem.

  • Allen

    I can't believe I have been reading your blog for a few days over a year now. Much more amazing is that you have succeeded. Congrats.

    Looking forward to you crossing the big pond and hearing about your adventures in the US of A. Contact me if you need places to stay throughout.


  • Daniel N. Lang

    Congratulations Rob!

    For me it was always a great feeling to arrive at the sea after a few hundred kilometers again, smelling a fresh breeze of salty air and having this intense feeling of freedom when sitting in front of an endless ocean!

    I am really looking forward to your trip through the land of what used to be the free 🙂 Show them real freedom, be their new Statue of Liberty!!

  • carl w.

    Wicked one year and a few days sitting here minding my own business, while being entertained by your travels.

    You need to check online to make sure there's not a march planned in the square

    Tafalgar Square is busier than you think…

    best of luck with the last bit,remember all people in England drive like foreigners!

  • Mum

    Nearly there! Only 165 days or so later than planned but who cares? Make sure those blister heal properly before you begin the US 'leg' of your journey.

  • Keryn Irving

    Hi Rob

    congratulations! I have been reading your blog while working away in the UK and I have been hooked. A friend of mine – Haidee Rich – told us about you when she was in the UK recently. Ever since I have been following your journey. If you're ever up in Glasgow, Scotland let us know and you are more than welcome to stay with us.

  • matt

    hey buddy

    great to see you,ve finally made it, its crazy to see how much you've acheived anymore nude photos? its been a while!

  • Rob Thomson Post author

    Bulk reply:

    @ Chris J – There is no if, my friend. Once I get to London I will be exposing my plans for getting home. But I can assure you that no airplane will be involved!

    @ Karen – Thanks! There is more to come too!

    @ David – It was interesting meeting you at M5 – all the best with your future designing endeavours.

    @ Scott – Look likely that I will be heading across the southern states. I will let you know.

    @ Allen – For sure, I will be looking for places to stay in the US – most probably due south in the US.

    @ Tim – I am already ahead of you on the stockings idea. I am wearing some very dashing ankel high numbers. As for the skateshoes, I'm not convinced. I have more faith in a good pair of walking shoes. Time will tell, I guess.

    @ Carl – Yeah, looks like I will be heading for the front of the National Gallery. But will keep updating on the plans on the website.

    @ Mahmoud – Look after that girl of yours.

    @ Mum – I will have about five weeks of sailing before I get to the US. That's about how long it takes to get across the pond. Blisters should be healed by then.

    @ Keryn – Scotland doesn't look to be on the cards this time round, but if I do ever make it up there, I will get in contact for sure.

    @ Matt – no more nude photos at the moment, but I will work on it, I promise!

  • Bob & Marion Ferguson

    Well done Rob.
    We have been watching you all the way from China. Paddle in the sea water will do the blisters good. Remind you of Oreti Beach eh?
    Don’t stop the blog, we are too old for these sorts of adventures but one can dream. Keep it up Rob boy.
    Cheers.Bob & Marion, Invercargill NZ

  • Nana

    I am so proud of you, Rob. I hope you realise what an epic journey you have just done. I still say you need to get your story published. It would make a great TV programme too.

    Will be praying that all your plans for the next bit will fall in to place for you.

    When Les goes tramping she uses some stuff that is used for strapping sprains and things. It is quite tough and protects the skin from the friction of boots. It is called Leuko. You get it from a pharmacy.

  • Mike C

    Rob you nutter! Congratulations! You're a legend! I've been following your journey the whole way and praying for you regularly. May God continue to bless you! 🙂 Mike C

  • Lee

    Oh no, I missed it! I left the blog alone for just a few weeks, and now look what happened: You went and made it to the other edge!

    Huge and hearty congratulations (yes, yet more of them to add to the pile) and good-on-ya-s. I think I might have even been making yoyos around the time you finished – was thinking how cool (though impossible) it would be to press some with a fork (like your Mum makes) and send them over. But maybe when you get back.

    Since you've got stockings, be sure to sometime do the weird rub-leg-hairs-then-put-stocking-on trick like in the Gondolier days, to see the ant effect.

    Yeah, very well done, eh. Coast to coast, on the biggest scale possible.