Northern Holland -Arnhem 's Airborne March

This post is oven freshness…

Latest Event:Airborne March (63rd year)

This is one of the World largest one day marching event (that is partly the reason why I must participate).This march/walk is accompanied by many British and Polish military veterans and participants from 15 different countries.There were routes laid out through the several villages of the municipality of Renkum in the Netherlands, along the battlefields and drop zones of the operation Market Garden of September 1944.

This is to commemorate the remembrance of the Battle of Arnhem and those who lost their lives …..

This is our story…

In the morning,sahur was @ 4am (iftar is 8.30pm).Had a very light breakfast.Just a slice of bread with nutella.No mood, kinda jittery.Dunno what to expect. The guys were supportive of us joining them for 25km.They think its cool.

Travel tip/trick: Eat whatever that can boost your energy.Jamu,majun or ubat periuk (the bitter it is, the better it is for ur health) or any herbal drink is great help. Red bull?Nah, I dont really like that, its too sweet.Some countries banned that product.

Departing from various homes,we used car pool.Knowingly that there will be many cars and limited parking space. We shared a car.Along the way to wards the destination, we drive on Nelson Mandella brug (bridge below)…

This is the 4th time (annual event) for the guys but first for me.I’m gonna try to complete the walk of the Battle of Arnhem (operation market garden),starting and ending at Oosterbeek.

Along the way,there are lots of acorns on the ground- fruits from oak trees.The dutch called it “Japanese” because it is yellow in colour and it wears like a Japanese cap. Cute.

We parked a good 10-20mins away from the walkathon starting point.This macho stallion greeted us there.

U can buy the ticket online or on the day itself at the location.Cost about $7EURO

What am I? Crazy? Yeah probably…I just wanna do normal things in fasting month.Who says you cannot do normal stuff in fasting month. If me and my buddies can do it, so can you!(3 of us muslims fasting, 2 non-muslims not fasting but they were very good to us,they eat discreetly and not taunt us…with food or drinks jokes.Thanks!)

First impression when I heard it…25Km dont sound that far.In Singapore context , its only walking from Pasir Ris to Jurong in linear (not far right?Err…I think the mind is deceiving me)

I leave it to my walking buddies. There are many options, we can choose 10km,15km ,25km and 40km.The guys wanna do the 25km.And one of them is fasting. I think if he can do it, so can I!!(Trying to be macho or perhaps, I dont wanna chicken out.Trying to act tough hehe! )

OMG, upon reaching there, I was baffled by the growing crowd .I’ve never seen so many people as many as these….There are many freebies given out.One of it is the Ricola sweets.Even though we are fasting, we still grab some sweets cos we can eat them later.Gratis, must take, right?

On your mark get set…walk!

The military band was there too.Are they gonna carry those heavy instruments too?Good luck…

These uniformed men of high ranks saluted at us as we start our walk.Cool right? Felt so VIP….

Wanna see my walking buddies? With great walking buddies like these, who needs the finishing line,right?

Err…wrong…when u reach halfway during the walkathon, everything goes haywire. You are ur own battle ground.Its mostly about giving up or proceeding on.Or about rolling myself down the hills and just disappear.Or just faint and let the rest take care itself.Or throw the white flag in and take the bus (for those who cannot take it anymore) .Or pay someone to piggy back me (err…anyone?)But I dont wanna give up. I know I can and insya-Allah I will.

How come this buddy of mine is so energetic? I wonder what supplement does he take?

The oud Mariners…marching along.

The first town we pass thru was nice.They have a mini market and at a distance, there were tents sprouting with loud music waiting for all of us to complete the race and party(err, I wonder after the 25km walk, where do u get those extra energy to party?Hmm…the Dutch must be super humans.)

T-shirts or souvenirs are sold…
Candy floss anyone?

Beautiful wild flowers sold here….

Vietnames loempia-spring rolls freshly fried with vegetarian fillings and chicken kerrie (curry)

Beautiful buildings along the way…

Ola (walls) ice-creams.There are many ice-cream stalls along the walk.My eyes cannot stop glancing at people’s ice-cream.Even drools at a kid’s soft ice (vanila soft ice-cream on cones) (im not sure whether they are halal, but I stop for a while to look at the satay being barbecued. Mmm…)

Poffertjes -remember those tiny pancakes that I pop into my mouth for breakfast?( in previous post

Along the way,there are some kind souls who give Gratis (free) drink /snacks for humans and their pet dogs…

Medical and fire services all stationed ready for any kind of emergency..

Even lil princess and superman took part in this sweet…

I think these are the Physalis fruit….

As i reached the first few kilometres, the distances between us all increases (especially mine) and so I asked them to walk ahead.I dont wanna slow them down. It was really tiring! Seriously dead tired, where I cannot even feel my feet.

The scenery was unbelievable.I took so many photos that I have a hard time choosing them to put in this blog.But the beginning I was so enthusiastic, snapping here and there as time goes, I had no energy to lift the camera up to even snap.Sometimes I forced myself to gather that tiny ounce of energy to snap a particular shop/road signs but end up it was so blurry but I cannot take any more shots, too tired or perhaps, I dont care…Im at my verge of tiredness that I can just sleep on the road/in the forest out of nowhere without a care of people passing me by and looking at me.I dont care, I just need my bed….(hee!)

I wanna join those cows lazing around…
This is an old fire warning syystem.Break the glass and hit the button, the Fire department will be notified immediately and come to its location.

The forests, the houses were beautiful .The dutch called it “mooi”. Even the clouds were at their best behaviour and presentation.

We passed by many meadows and flowers field e.g sunflower fields.(some even take them home)

The weather was sunny but chilling cold.And there were a few instances of raindrops here and there but not so bad.We just walked in the rain.Beautiful smell of the crispy!

My feet had some “feet squables” in the shoes cos I borrowed my roomie’s running shoes (i didnt bring mine from Singapore) and its a bit smaller but I use it anyway. I should have brought sandals just incase.And I got blisters. Oww…

My buddies brought me to a medicine quarters/red cross counters after seeing me walking in pain.I dont want cos I fear, they might cut me up (i had this phobia with hospitals or anything with doctors,blood or even operation room/equipments)

After much hesitation and procrastination (i should have bribed him with a magnum icecream or something later on), I gave in and seek medical attention. I find that its a small matter .I got blisters and the toe nails are pinching on my toes.Its quite uncomfortable and I still got 13km more?What?!!! So i reluctantly go in with 2 buddies accompanying me.Felt bad that I took their time and they had to wait for me thus they are slowing down.The other two had disappeared in their jolly good time (hmm, ice-cream time perhaps)

I was the only one there and I got to undress my socks. Fearing that they might run away at the grizly sight(i got a great imagination, I imagine there were blood in my socks yikes!Gory..)And many came crowding near. I never let anyone inspect my feet in such a close distance.Felt like in a nail spa or something(but I never been to one,wanted to try the vietnamese at SD but I chicken out).

I felt embarrased.It wasnt a big deal anyway.But they took good care of me.The lady went to the back to get something and came back with a scissors.I shrieked!I retract my leg and threathen to put on my socks.The ladies pacify me that they are not doing anything with the scissors just to cut the bandage/plaster.

Then I relaxed but later I saw something shiny.Small but shiny.It was a tiny blade.WHAT?!!! I panicked again.The lady try to hide it but I saw it gleaming from afar. I shrieked and screamed.U should see the commotion I created til more medical guys came in wondering what happen. heheh! I am scared they are gonna amputate my leg or something.The lady pacify me (but my buddy told me that she went out and laughed heheh!)

In the end, I allowed them.As they poke and cut whatever flesh on my feet ,I looked away .I dunno why I was paranoid.Perhaps I fear that due to language miscommunication, they might amputate my leg by mistake (my wild imagination hehe!)

Anyway, alhamdulillah my leg is still intact.they dress the wound and spray some cold spray and add some powder(is my feet stinky?) and off I go.

OMG, when u stop, ur engine gets cold and refused to go back to the same momentum.My buddy pulled me, hold my hands but I let go in the end ,too fast for me. I got short legs and my rhythym is slower like jazz music.Theirs is more punk rock or perhaps, rap.Too fast for me.

Along the way there were many food stands and drinks.Some people get out fo their houses and cheer for us.Very motivating.Sometimes, when Im battling with the devils in my head, some people give encouragements and that drive me on. I felt so tired that at times, the vision is blurry, body swaying or staggering to one side. Asking myself upteen times, am in a nightmare?

Its not a straight route, mind you.It is hilly up and down, rocky road…and soft marsh grounds and lots more.I never knew I can pull thru.Alhamdulillah.Especially when you are fasting and there are loads of food and drinks and wait a minute..I dont see any muslims around. I think they must think, Im crazy…yeah indeed we are. Im stretching my boundaries.My limit to see how far I can go. I’ve been to walkathons and all that but its not this far.

Travel tip/trick: I learnt that you must be comfortable with your own pace.Dont follow others. I let many pass me by but I dont care, what matters most is that I survive this ordeal (ordeal? hehe! Serve me right…)and be at the finishing line. I visualise lots of stuff to motivate myself. I walk alone.Its better that way, u strayed in and out of other groups and learnt more about others.Sometimes,you even chat with them.

I was walking when a pair of old men laughed at my ripping jeans.they asked me”Wow! U walked till u ripped ur jeans!”heheh! I laughed too, I didnt notice it.

It was cold and chilling,I wore 2 pants.1 slacks inside and 1 pair of jeans.The same goes for my top.Guess what colour I wore?

Red of course….Im the lady in red from top to bottom so much so that the marching army sang about me.Woo-hoo! (the main reason, so that my buddies can recognise me from afar just incase if I ever get lost or perhaps its a motivation for me cos red symbolize fast speed right?)By the way, why am I wearing the word “TRUST” at the back? I think Im trying to convince others (and myself especially) to trust me that insya-Allah I can finish this race. hee!

All kinds of people.It was gaziliions of people,perhaps.Going to toilet was a breeze (I had to pay 20cents at the toilet @main entrance?!! I thought it should be FREE)But anyway, along the routes, some home owners open their houses for the public to use their toilets.(Wow! Such kindness…)

Travel tip/trick: When u snap pictures like me, randomly, try to shy away from forest trees or bushes or secluded areas cos u might caught some people indiscreetly giving back something to the nature.Giving what? Pee….and occasional stools.. mostly men. Err… yeah, cos the toilets might be far away in some woods.

We went thru many woods/forests.Sometimes, I felt like Im in a Lord of the rings in an enchanted forest or something.Waiting for Gandalf to appear any moment.Mysteriously enchanting and interesting.Below is a private property which only opens to public for this walkathon. I wonder what lies beyond the woods…kinda creepy…

The only forest I can experience (that I know) is Bukit Timah Hill reserve in Singapore and so I really must indulge myself silly in these kind of environment.

travel tip/trick: We passed by many cemeteries and forests.Do read some dua/supplication when u got o deserted areas like the beach,forests and anywhere.At least a taawudz (audzubillahimasyaithaniirojiim) and basmalah.My favourite is last 2-3 ayat of Al-Baqarah/ayatul Kursi.Prevention is better than cure,right?Especially when the men/children has to pee in the woods, do recite some dua before doing ur “business”.

This is the first point where British parachuters drop ,on 17th September 1944.

Eh, why are the Scottish running away…I wanna hear those bagpipes….

Beautiful flowers….

For sure, I had my oxygen theraphy (do read my experience about F1 in summer events in previous post was fully filled to the brim and overloaded.The air was so fresh. And the beautiful smell of the summer in the woods.During autumn or any other season, the smell is different.

Hey! I used to carry my kids this way wherever I go locally or internationally , hence the nickname “Backpacker mama”. Luckily they grew so fast and walk on their own now.Imagine me half-dead carrying this….

As Im nearing to the finishing point, I tell myself that I must take this snapshot.And so I clenched my teeth and slowly snap this pic of HALAL eatery, the only one that I saw thruout this journey in Arnhem.

Hey, beautiful old car…

Start 11am end 5pm.(The Dutch walked 5km an hour, I walked 50m an hour or perhaps 100m an hour (alhamdulillah,I got short legs so I can use that as an excuse and take my own sweet time).The guys had reached about an hour earlier and was sitting in the spectator seats.When they saw us , they cheered for us so loud that I blushed. Even so,after we reached the finishing line, it was so tearful that I cannot let out a single teardrop.Too tired.But I was thankful that I made it. Alhamdulillah.

“Everyone who reaches the finish will be awarded a medal with the Airborne emblem, as was agreed by General Urquhart.”-quoted from

And this tiny medal make me smile.It was nicely made.Everyone got one. This is my first one.I believe it was a well-deserved first medal for me! Woo-Hoo!The 2nd,3rd medal will be different .

After this event, walking buddies told me to change my initials P.B- “Putri Berendam”(water Princess) to “Putri Belanda” (Dutch Princess) Cos after what I’ve gone thru today…I deserve that title.Woo-hoo!(own group recognition hehe!)

I met someone who had 45 medals.(WHAT?!! He has been walking this walkathon since age 11 )anyway, my woes are not over yet….

The car is parked faraway.OMG…help! We walked slowly almost felt like crawling…but the worse is not over yet.The worst moment was when we sat in the car for an hour ride back home and when we get out, the legs are jammed.And I end up walking like a duck or (orang baru sunat) mostly like a robot.The people who sat at the balcony below was wondering why we were walking like that….no time to explain, just said 25km walk and they knew.

I barely made it to bed.I just lay there and then suddenly, I speed into dreamland.I was asleep.And woke up just in time to break fast.Phew! I drink lots of liquid, kinda dehydrated. Still sores from the walk, I sat in front of the pc, writing this story while the sores and excitement is still there.

After this, Im gonna crawl back to sleep.Im gonna sleep with my legs raised.Argh…need a masseuse…(the guys were very happy that we made it and was really proud of us,the gals and wanted it to be annual regime for us.)Hmm…perhaps next time, we gotta practise first..10 km then proceed to 15km then 25km? (Or perhaps, I should visit them in some other season..I’m trying to avoid this)

But for sure I learnt lots this time.I learnt to be patience, walk my own pace, dont follow others, make new friends and socialise….and Im gonna apply that to my daily life,insya-Allah.

A stranger taught me something today.He told me “Why do u try so hard to fit in? U are born to shine..” (I wonder what makes him say that to it mistaken identity?) Anyway,thanks!That made my day…

Ok, I talked too much. I just came back…and I walked like a robot.Perhaps,tomorrow I shall give myself a pat on the back…Oww! Im gonna sleep like a robot now, perhaps Im gonna be a sleeping beauty..”Putri Tidur” for a week. Welterusten!

p.s: Guys & gal , if u are reading this, thank u so much for including me in the team.Thank you for all the support and encouragement along the way and for making me laugh with all the crazy antics. Thank you for holding my hands and pulling me along when my feet refused to budge.It has been a good experience for me.Alhamdulillah.One of a kind journey and feeling….

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