“So, what’s in the Achterhoek?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never been there. Maybe we should check it out.”
“Sure, why not?”
A two hour drive later we find ourselves in Aalten, a village in the East of the Netherlands. We park the van and ride to a local farmers campsite, where we put up the tent and have ourselves a snack.
It’s the first time we’re sleeping in our tent again, after we returned home from our 27-month ride through the Americas. Since I had a hard time adjusting to normal life again, being here feels great. Routine takes over as we each perform our tasks; setting up the tent together, then Elmar starts making coffee and I finish our bedroom: ready for the night! We sit in the grass, looking at cows grazing in the fields as we hear birds singing. We open a bottle of wine and toast to this lifestyle and talk about future plans. As it gets darker, we call it a night and hit the sack. Tomorrow we’ll discover the Achterhoek.
Quiet farm roads
We have no fixed plans, but are armed with a map of the area and some good energy. After a huge and slow breakfast we pack our stuff and hit the road, following narrow farm roads with very little traffic. A sign tells us we are in Germany! Hurree, this feels like a huge trip again! If only we could just continue East. 😉
We decide to circumnavigate the bigger towns and start riding North. The weather takes a turn for the worse and it’s raining. This means the Dutch stay inside and we have the local bicycle paths to ourselves. Nothing can change our good spirits! Flowers are blooming and I love the fresh smell of wet grass. Every time I see an unpaved track we take it, some are sandy and hard to ride, but most are ok. Riding the unpaved tracks give us a more adventurous feeling, haha! After about 80 kilometers we turn towards a farmers campsite. We are the only ones here sleeping in a tent. In fact, it’s pretty quiet here. We take a shower and make ourselves a pasta dinner, followed by a nice espresso. Yes, it’s been a good day and with a happy smile on our faces we fall asleep, dreaming of new adventures.
Bike4travel gave us the opportunity to ride their latest steel travel bike: the Avaghon X29. We took it for this microadventure, loaded with 4 panniers and so far we are pleased with it! It’s a tough looking bike and we really like the riding capabilities of it. We’ll probably take this bike out for a couple of more rides and will write a review about it as well. But in short: it’s kicking ass! 😉
So, what did we find in the Achterhoek?
Not a lot! And that’s what we like. Quiet farm roads, narrow unpaved bicycle tracks, trees, forests, the sound of birds, the smell of flowers and grass, rain (whoops), a tiny part of Germany with flamingos in the distance, streams, a few hills, lots of cows and some happiness of riding our bikes and camping!