As a girl I have learned that we are not, yet, meant to be alone on the streets. Since childhood the difference was visible: the girls had to mention the time of returning home or to be in the house until night falls, while the boys were enjoying all the free time outside. The fear accentuated during high-school when I was even more under a schedule my parents decided on (of course not respecting it was part of my teenager life). And the feeling became stronger once I moved away from home as my parents used to tell each day not to go out alone, to take care and so on. Safety for girls is still an issue in so many parts of the world and people don’t understand that this is more than a feminist caprice: we should feel as free as everyone else, without fearing that something will happen if we are alone on the streets during the night.

Having all of this in mind and the weekends for myself only, I have started making plans in traveling by my own and visiting whatever I have on my list for some time now. It took me 2 days to decide on what to do in the first day of this kind and, after reading about the trails in Castricum, I have chosen to make the Groene Wissel trail. As the name says I was expecting to be surrounded by green and exactly this happened:

Early in the morning I jumped in the first train to Amsterdam Sloterdijk and took the train to Castricum. The trip took around 40 minutes total and once the train left the station I saw these beautiful poppy flowers by the tracks:

Just at the beginning of the trail a small farm is still with flowers on the fields. Colorful and fresh, the flowers are making you smile and relax, even if you are alone. Oh, I need to mention that I took my ipod with me, but the entire trip in the woods (20 km, 5 hours) I didn’t had any urge to listen to music. And who would, since the woods are crowded with singing birds?

The trail will bring you to the old braband farmhouse, which was one of the largest in the area, constructed in 1763. Unfortunately, the curious eyes are not able to pass the green fence surrounding the farm:

The park contains a combination of geographical forms, dozen of birds, walking trail, cycling paths and ends at first on the Castricum beach, behind the dunes. Imagine my surprise when I figured out that the trail leads exactly at the nudism area.

After refreshing at the shore, after 10 km walk, I have continued my way through the dune park. A good exercise for climbing as some of the dune are just like sand mountains and the effort is unbearable during a 30 degrees burning day.

I have left Castricum behind with the image of the picturesque farm houses at the base of the woods, the poppy flowers by the tracks, the crying or laughter of the cormorants, the amazing green-blue color of the fountain and the peace I had with me, hiking by my own, without any fears.