Sunday morning. Our alarm clock wakes us and we do our daily routine. After breakfast and loading the last stuff from the fridge, we close the door and ride towards the train station. It’s a two and a half hour ride and takes three transfers before we reach the Dutch town Heerlen, close to the German border. This is Holland’s hilly part and it doesn’t take long before we start climbing. We meander through various towns and without even noticing, we find ourselves in Germany. Heading towards the Eiffel region! We circumnavigate the big city of Aachen and enjoy the quiet tracks. A last drop down to a valley and we pitch our tent on a campsite, where they charged us for the bicycles (!!!).
We make sure we take a very looooong shower to compensate for the amount charged for our bicycles! But, after those few steep climbs this first day, we actually needed one. 😉
Sun is shining when we wake up. We leave the main road behind us and and find a narrow track into the forest. It’s a steep climb up, but soon it levels and we slowly continue our ride up. We hear birds singing and wind blowing through the leaves. There’s nobody else here, just us and the coolness of the shadow. Once we reach the top it’s a long downhill, all the way to the Ruhr See. Here we buy ourselves a nice pastry and find a bench to sit on looking over the lake and it’s surrounding hills. There’s an unpaved bicycle path leading us up and away from the valley again. We see deer running away from us, but other than that, it’s quiet again.
In the morning it’s coffee time! It’s been a couple of lazy days, with slow starts and early stops. Having ice cream in front of our tent, just letting the sun warm us and relax. It’s nothing like riding in Bolivia or Peru, but this does have it’s charm too!
In this area former train tracks have been developed as bicycle paths; the so called Vennbahnroute. Every now and then we cross the track and have some easy riding with gentle grades. After a kilometer or so we get bored and I find off road tracks. Not going fast, but much nicer!
We have turned North again and cycle through the wooded area near Eupen and the National Park Hoge Venen. We’ve been here a couple of times before and we remember the area well. It’s quite open and very wet!
Just one more night camping and eating our famous pasta dish before we ride the last 30 kilometers back to Heerlen!
Distance: 253 km
High Point: 664m