Heart to Beat #2 We made a start
Well, it is clear we will not blog daily. That would be impossible. Not only for us, but also for the people who follow us on our website. Nobody wants 1000+ stories about our “everyday” experiences. We want to blog about a theme, about the area or cycle route. This blog is about the first week of our world trip, or we can also say that we give you some information about cycling through the first hills in South Limburg Hills, the Belgian Ardennes, the Eifel and Saarland.
On our 2nd day we cycle from Opitter (B) to Margraten (NL). Highlight, and also a small detour, is the cycle path through the water near Genk, of which we have put a video on Facebook and Instagram. Very special! It is very beautiful cycling in the vicinity of Hasselt, definitely recommended!
In Maastricht we return to Dutch territory for a moment and we start the first altimeters when we climb from the Maas valley to the plateau of Margraten. We pitched our tent at the farm campsite “Appelhof”. The neighbor of the campsite warned us that there could be some inconvenience: his daughter has a graduation party toninght. We crawl into our tent at 9 pm and are tired enough to not heard the party at all.
The 3rd day we cycle through the Limburg village of Lemiers where a fair procession is under way. It’s compulsory before the village is aloud to start summer celebration. At Gemmenich we return to Belgium, or now we have to call it Belgique (French part). After a few kilometers, however, we cycle into the German-speaking part of Belgium. Yet special: within about 10 kilometers 2 language boundaries passed (Dutch, French and German). At the village of Raeren we pick up the famous Vennbahn Radweg. This is a cycle path that has been laid out between Aachen and Luxembourg over a former railway line. We thought it might be monotonous, but nothing is less true: a beautiful route and you easily cross the Ardennes. The rate of increase of the Vennbahn is on average 2%. At the end of the afternoon we reach Waimes in the heart of the Ardennes. We have seen on Google that there is a supermarket there on Sunday until 5 pm. Half an hour before closing time we stand in front of the supermarket. In the store we ask for camping options. There appears to be a campsite 5 km back to the north, near the hamlet of Champagne. We quickly found it and in the cafeteria we watch the football match Spain-Russia and we met follow cycling holiday traveler Bas de Bruijn who arrived at the campsite at the same time.
On the 4th day we continue our trip on the Vennbahn and cycle into Germany. We enter the tourist info shop in Sankt Vith, which is in Belgium, and were they speak German again. The lady at the desk asks where the trip goes. Harry gives the goal of today, of this year and of next 3 years. The lady thinks she is being fooled. We leave our sticker / card with her. A day later she sends a message via Instagram and wishes us a lot of success on our world tour. Brilliant!
We pedal on the Prums Radweg towards Pronsfeld (Germany). It strikes us that we have not met anyone in a kilometer or ten. Eventually we see why: a bridge appears to have been washed away. Apparently we missed a sign with “umleitung”. Crossing is not possible, but there is a walkway of about 20 cm wide across the river. However, a sign says that it is PRIVAT and may not be used. Anyway it would be difficult to walk over with the bikes here. We consider cycling back when a lady across the road parks her car and balances over the gangway. Harry asks if we can use this too. The lady replies slightly grumpy that it is allowed at our own risk. We take the bags from the bikes and after 15 minutes we are on the other side!
After Pronsveld we choose the Enztal radroute and there is also a detour set up. In Neuerberg we find a colony of Dutch people at the campsite. The owners are also Dutch. A minority of Belgian guests let themselves be heard that evening. The 0-2 deficit at halftime is reversed into a 3-2 victory. The ‘We are Belgium, We are Belgium’ can be heard all over the campsite.
The next day we wake up when the rest is still sleeping. We break up the tent and have breakfast at a place in the sun to warm ourselves up a bit. Around 8:30 we continue the scenic route through the southern Eifel to the border with Luxembourg. We spent three days on mainly former rail routes, which have been converted to nice cycle routes.
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