After a lot of spontaneous changes in the itinerary due to a stubborn – now bald – head I finally was able to start the As high as possible – Tour.

A giant blue ruler next to a ruling blue GIANT (c) Stefan J. Pflanzl

A „giant blue ruler“ next to a „ruling blue GIANT“ (c) Stefan J. Pflanzl

A few kilometers east of Rotterdam – in Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel – is this pillar which is perfectly symbolizing the lowest point of this continent. From that moment it can’t go any deeper… what a positive thing.
So I started with the „easy“ part, which meant biking from there to Stellendam to the Hobie Kayak Europe Headquarters where Fiona, my kayak, is already waiting for me to take her to water. As a passionate biker that will be no problem I thought…
It seemed like i felt too sure about that. I forgot how it was to bike in the Netherlands – one of the most bike-friendly nations in the world. This is definitely a true statement. You see bikes everywhere and I guess it is the number one vehicule used in that country. BUT: In the cities it is not possible to enjoy a ride with a racing bike as you have to use the bikeways. No matter where you are – you are an obstacle if you go faster than 20km/h.
Whatever… it’s not time for the biking-bikeway-car-discussion. I finally managed to arrive in Stellendam at the coast of the North Sea to swap concrete with water.

(c) Stefan J. Pflanzl

(c) Stefan J. Pflanzl

At about 4p.m. I started my adventure at the harbour there. First time on such big waters, with wind and all by myself. The bigger ships seemed to take another route so that I couldn’t even be an obstacle for them. After about 4 hours of kayaking I finally reached the east end of Tiengemeten – an island with 6-10 inhabitants which I really enjoyed.
The next day was the day when my friend Steveplant left me. He came all the way by car to make some great pictures of the beginning of my trip and now I see him driving away. So from that moment on I will be alone – as usual. Without losing time I packed all my stuff and I put out to sea. This time a sunny day without the tiny bit of rain yesterday.

Wind turbines, water, ships and my beloved nature close to the riverbank let me know that this was a good day and after a few hours of sports I „parked“ my kayak at a beach, mounted my tent and enjoyed living in the moment.

Wind, sand and nature - cold but gold

Wind, sand and nature – cold but gold

After the third day, which was basically a cold, wet and windy day I entered the Waal – the biggest arm of the Rhine-delta. With that the current of the water showed it’s power. My speed decreased and I slowly started having some doubts about my spontaneous change from using the kayak in combination with the bike for going upstream.
There is almost no harder fight for me than the fight against my own thoughts. And I have more than enough time to think the whole day! Will the current be stronger? Do I have to walk? How should I continue?

what will I do?

what will I do?

A lot of people said in advance that the current of the Rhine will be too strong to go against it without a motor – but as I said – I am stubborn and I probably will always be. So I continued my trip on the fourth day against all odds. I think it was kilometer 935 of the Rhine, where I finally made a decision… don’t be too stubborn and find another way to get your ass up that river!

Written by: christian