All posts for the month August, 2017

Great trip.

Highlights:   No flats;  no dog chases;  Mark following my blog;  planning the next trip and pushing for more family to join us; incredibly flat Netherlands and Flanders section of Belgium; great hotels especially Martins Klooster in Leuven, BE and Hotel La Malle Poste in Rochefort, Be;   The miles and miles of bike paths;  the French dinner in Rochefort and the bread everywhere.

Lowlights:   The hills into and out of Rochefort and the rain everyday but our last.  It was so nice having Sag Lady along so the clothes we weren’t wearing didn’t get soaked.  We always had dry clothes to change into.

Luxembourg City is a blend of new and old.   Construction cranes were all over the parts of Europe we traveled thru, especially Luxembourg City.  The roads today were the best we were on this trip.   Reminded me of the difference in roads in Florida compared to the rest of our trip cross country.  We had another nice bike path along a river into Trier.   Supposedly the oldest city in Germany and an old Roman city.

Departure from Luxembourg. Who said we haven’t had any flats yet?  You just jinxed us.

Street scene in the old part of Luxembourg City. This area sits in a valley (more like a gorge) with very steep cliffs up to the new part of the city

Another view. We came down that cobble stone street. On a bike, it looks much steeper.

The bridge in the background spans the valley in which the old city sits. Sorry about the electrical boxes in the pic.

Some of the scenery we rode thru in Luxembourg and Germany.

Morning break along the road. Many cyclists in groups passed us this morning along this route. Same with yesterday between Rochefort and St. Hubert. When I got my camera out to take a picture of them for the blog, they stopped coming. Go figure.

Welcome to Deutschland. If you zoom in, you can see the sign on the wall. They really go in for “Welcome to …………..”, signage over here.

The bridge between Luxemboarg and Germany. The ducks are in Luxemboarg.

We have entered Germany, our 4th country this trip and the sun came out.  Thanks Chris.

The bike path we took almost from the border all the way into Trier, our final destination.

Taking the bikes apart and packing them up for the flight home.

Yes, we are in a parking lot. The rendezvous selected was City Hall. Beth pulled into the parking lot as we were pulling in. Perfect timing Sag Lady!!!

The ride back to Amsterdam for our flights tomorrow morning.

The most unusual hotel room I have ever stayed in. View from the door.

View from the bed looking back at the door. I’ll give you a hint: the closest circle on the floor is the shower which doesn’t work unless the glass doors are closed. You can figure out the second circle. You don’t have to close those glass doors for the toilet to work. Yes they are clear glass doors. Pretty intiment.

That’s it for this trip’s blog.  Already looking forward to next year.   Marcia, Nancy, Mark and Holly are coming.  We’re gonna have a blast. I’m not sure if this is me or the beer talking.

This day ranks right up there with some of our hardest days.  Bottom line is we got spoiled with all the flat terrain in Netherlands and the Flanders part of Belgium.  The rest of Belgium is downright hilly.

Leaving Rochefort, we started climbing immediately.  We had successive climbs and descents.  I was clocking the climbs and they were of the two mile long and lowest gear variety.  Nice coasts downhill but we froze on the descents.  After almost two hours, we had covered only about 15 miles .Very demoralizing, but the terrain improved after St. Hubert.   From there the terrain became rolling hills.

The salvation of the day was the tailwind for the last 20 miles or so.  It was just what we needed to finish today’s ride on a positive note.  We left around 8:40am and didn’t get to our hotel until 5pm.  We covered 74 miles which is a little more that Brian and I are comfortable doing in a day at this stage of our lives.  Only one more day of riding and it should be a short one, around 30-35 miles.  Then we have a four and a half hour ride back to Amsterdam.

We leave Chris at the Trier, Germany train station so he can catch the first of six trains he needs to ride to get back to Kopelain (sp?).  The biggest bummer for Chris is that the first train from Trier doesn’t leave until 8:30 tomorrow night and he’ll have to ride and switch trains all night.  Beth, Brian and I will be sleeping soundly in our hotel in Amsterdam tomorrow night.  We’ll be thinking of you Chris.

A view from the window of my room at our hotel in Rochefort.

Getting ready to roll out this morning.

Chris making final preparations for today’s ride.

After two hours of climbing and descending, our first rest stop on some church steps in St. Hubert.

A monument/memorial at the base of the church steps. Major battles in WW I and WW II were fought in Belgium.

Brian taking a break. For some reason, we didn’t eat much today.

A view of the countryside from this afternoon.

Afternoon break along some narrow agricultural roads. Very rarely did we come upon cars along these roads, fortunately.

Welcome to Luxembourg. I entered my third new country on this trip. Not much of a sign but more than Belgium had.

I’m having a blast and am already making plans for next year.  Even though it rained most of the day, we enjoyed the scenery.  Unfortunately, it’s hard to take pictures when it’s raining. Here goes my attempt at today.

The most elaborate church I have ever seen. Leaven, Be

Morning break after getting soaked.

I forgot to count so Brian forgot to suck in his gut.

The dirtiest my bike has ever been. The picture does illustrate the real thing.

The scenery was spectacular but it doesn’t show on a cloudy day.

Brian and I are waiting for Chris to finish climbing this hill. It only goes one way.

A nice beer in the lounge of the hotel after a long day.

A street scene in Rochefort, BE.

Typical rain shower on today’s ride.

A picture of Beth and my dessert which followed our best meal yet. Served in the French style.

Google maps failed us today.  Took us on gravel paths almost impossible to ride.  We had to walk almost a kilometer on one of the paths.   Also met a Belgium named Yeve, also traveling to Rochefort.  Rode with him until Namur when he took a different route.  Brian and I wished we could have taken the route he had mapped out.

Today was supposed to be 71 miles but I suspect it was more.  I don’tknow the exact mileage because my odometer got too wet in a rain shower this morning and stopped working.  Tomorrow is about the same distance but it’s supposed to be nice tomorrow.

Since I got so many replies to my picture blog (thanks Mark, you were the only one), I’ll try again.

Welcome to Belgium.

Brian and Chris standing in Netherlands and Belgium.

One of our bike paths today. Most of our day was spent on bike paths.

First rest stop in a bird viewing tower. It was raining lightly The cover was well timed.

Afternoon rest stop.

View of the grounds of our hotel.

Resting in a rocker at our hotel.

Not much scenery today other than the old part of Tilburg which we rode thru at 7:30 am and the jarring cobble stone streets of Leuven at the very end of today’s ride.  Off and on drizzle but not an issue.  A strong headwind kicked up our last hour or two.  Leaven, Belgium is typical of the towns we have been staying in with an old town square.  Covered 67 miles.  Tomorrow is our longest day of riding..

If I can get pictures to send, I hope to do a blog in pictures ala Mark.

Bike Parking Lot in Amsterdam

Leaving Amsterdam. First Morning

Classic Netherlands Landscape

Taking a Break on a Bikepath Next to a Canal

Lunch in Delft

Leaving Delft. Day 2

Picture on a Bouncing Bridge

Hope you enjoyed a sample of Day 1 and 2 pictures.  I’ll try to post more tomorrow but internet is fickle and I am having a hard time adding pictures.  57 miles today.  No rain and mild headwinds.  Perfect temps for riding.  Rain in the forecast for tomorrow’s ride.

The Netherlands is flat, and we are loving it.   Arrived in Amsterdam after flying all night and rented a car and drove to our hotel.   Balance of yesterday was spent getting acclimated to the 6 hour time difference and putting our bikes together.   Managed a little sightseeing in Amsterdam last night before getting as much sleep as possible.

First day of biking was also our shortest this trip at 41 miles.   Got rained on, at times pretty heavy, but a good beginning to this 3 country bike tour.  Chris did an excellent job navigating using an app on his iPhone.   We rode the entire distance on bike paths or dedicated bike lanes in Amsterdam and the two other cities we passed thru.

We are amazed at the amount of bike infrastructure, both in the cities and in the countryside.   More than even Denmark.   It seems everyone rides a bike to go shopping, commute to work and/or school, and just biking around.

Bikes have the right of way over cars and pedestrians.   Intersection traffic lights have special green lights for bikes.  I am loving this bike culture.   Wish we had it in the US.   Maybe someday if we keep pushing for it.  It is no wonder we hardly see any obese people with so many people riding bikes.   I have taken pictures of bike parking lots which are huge.   I will try to figure out how to download to my blog later in the trip.

Longer day of riding tomorrow but it looks like we have to go thru Rotterdam, a large city.  Tomorrow is supposed to be rain free, one of the few this trip.   I will enjoy it and hope we dodge the rain drops on the days to come.   Wishing Mark and Matt were with us.   Already thinking about trips in future years.   Ted, this morning our hotel had a devoted section to gluten free breakfast.   I’ll keep looking for you.