Maastricht to Mittersheim, Switzerland

From 01/06/2011 to 15/06/2011

Our original plan was to cycle to Nice, France and fly home. We had bought the plane tickets but due to unforeseen circumstances we only made it to Basel where we turned and headed back home. The reason will be explained later. We cycled back to just North of Kehl, Germany before hoping on a train to Aachen, Germany. From Aachen it was only about 30kms to Maastricht.

Day 1 – Wednesday 01/06
Maastricht to Eupen, Belgium – 54kms

After the usual goodbyes and mandatory pictures in front of our door we got underway at 09:00. We were a bit unprepared this morning because about a kilometer down the road we realized we’ve forgotten our helmets so we turned back. On the way back we ran into this other couple headed to Rome and back. Nice to have the time for such a long tour. It turned out that we would run into them a few times on the way to Basel as we both were using the same book from Benjaminse (cyclingeurope.nl), and the first section is to Basel.
The weather turned out to be very good, the only problem today was that there were several hills to negotiate and they totally wore us out.
Sometime before Eupen we met Merritt & Marsha from Iowa, nice couple who flew into Amsterdam and are also cycling to Rome.
After setting up we took a short nap to recover before heading to the nearest fast food about 3kms down the road for dinner. Camping here is OK for a night.

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Our traditional picture in from of our door.

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Near Groot Welsden about 6kms from home.

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Second breakfast near Sippenaeken on the Belgian border.

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Beautiful land houses and farms in this area.

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Also some great views.

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Merritt and Marsha from Iowa.

Day 2 – Thursday 02/06
Eupen to Worriken – 52kms Total 106kms

After a very cold and restless nights sleep we got on the road at 08:30 even thought we took our time about it. Not having trained at all is really taking a toll on us, we had a real hard time getting over the hills today. The route through the Hertogenwald and Hoge Venen is very beautiful and goes through forestland and some of the route is on gravel. We didn’t have any problems on our 35c tires. We are already thinking of a rest day and think Sunday would be a great time as the weather will change. Tomorrow we have a hill of 500 meters to get over and then the route should flatten out a bit.
We’re already having doubts about the wisdom of buying a book from cyclingeurope.nl since last year we cycled around Europe without such a guide and had a great time.
The camping here is on a lake and is huge with many attractions for families with kids. It’s very clean and has a great restaurant.

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Climbing to Hertogenwald.

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Stausee Eupen and the begining of Reservee Naturelle Hautes Fagnes-Eifel.

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Reservee Naturelle Hautes Fagnes-Eifel.

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Reservee Naturelle Hautes Fagnes-Eifel.

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Reservee Naturelle Hautes Fagnes-Eifel.

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Just great riding.

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Reservee Naturelle Hautes Fagnes-Eifel.

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There is also a large army base here.

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Even with all the families around we didn’t feel crowded.

Day 3 –  Friday 03/06
Worriken, Belgium to Wallendorf, Germany – 98 kms Total 204kms

After last nights great meal and a good sleep we got underway at about 08:30. The morning was cold but it quickly warmed up. We rode along the river Our for a while but the route ended and we had to climb this huge hill to Lutzkampen, Germany than along this plateau for a while before descending again to the Our river. But half way up this hill we remembered we had done it before on our fall 2006 tour. We’ve also realized that we’ve done other parts of this route also in 2009. So this will be the third and probably last time we come around here. After Lutzkampen we ran into this Dutch couple we ran into on our first day near our house. Nice to run into the same people every so often.
The weather today turned out to be great with clear skies and in the afternoon quite warm.
Camping here is OK, reception was closed but the owners have seen us so no funny business. We were too tired to cook this evening so we checked out the restaurant in the hotel next door. It was expensive but very good.

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Great start to the day.

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Riding along the Our river.

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The climb up to Lutzkampen, Germany

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Looking back.

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Looking East near Harspelt. Click to view larger.

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Looking West near Dasburg. Click to view larger.

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Castle above Vianden.

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Our favorite bench a few kilometers before Wallendorf. This was taken now 2011.

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This one was taken in 2009

And this one in 2006. Notice the bikes are pointed North and we still have our Agu panniers.

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Nearing Wallendorf.

Day 4 – Saturday 04/06
Wallendorf, Germany to Remich, Luxemburg – 74kms Total 278kms

Overslept a bit this morning. We were pretty tired from yesterdays ride and with the good food and beer we slept like baby’s. When we finally got on the road  it was nearly 10:00. To our surprise we found out this morning that the camping was extremely expensive at €20.
The cycling path along the river Saur was just like we remembered, smooth with great scenery all around. After a few kilometers we stopped at Echternach for some supplies before we continued along the Saur to Wasserbillig and the Moselle were we turned left and headed upstream.
Even though it’s flat we didn’t plan on doing 74kms, the plan was to stop sooner but the camping that we had planned for was very busy and the two fat Asian ladies wanted to stick us between the camping road and the swimming pool with hundreds of kids screaming, so we just turned on our eee pc and looked for the next place which was at Remich about 15kms further. In the meantime we just kept a close eye on the skies above as some nasty looking clouds were forming.
Sure enough as soon as we pitched our tent the skies opened up and it came down by the bucket. It didn’t last long but it was pretty scary with all the lightning.
Camping here is good fro a night we will be on the lookout for a decent camping soon for a rest day.

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Cycling path along the Sour after Echternach.

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Riding along the Moselle.

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Riding along the Moselle.

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Nice looking stature, can’t remember the town, but it was on the Moselle.

Day 5 – Sunday 05/06
Remich, Luxemburg to Faulquemont, France – 90kms Total 368kms

We were up and on the road by 08:30. It had rained some last night and this morning it was still overcast, cool and fresh. Later on the day the weather cleared up and it became real hot.
We got off the Moselle ant Koeningsmacker to look for supplies, To our surprise the supermarket was open on a Sunday and we got plenty of food and water. We then turned left on La Canner and after the town of Inglange we got back on our route.
Along the way we kept running into this other cyclist, Herman d’Groot a Dutch guy touring solo to Rome. He is also following this popular route. We had a nice chat and took some photos of each other at a few points along the route. But he rode much quicker and soon we parted ways.
The weather in the afternoon just kept getting hotter and later in the day some very dark and nasty looking clouds appeared. The plan was to head for this camping a few kilometers further through some wooded areas and there wasn’t much information about this camping. We didn’t want to get caught in a storm in the middle of nowhere looking for a camping that might not be there so we decided to get off the route and head for Faulquemont were there was a hotel.
Hotel le Chatelain was clean and fairly priced. For dinner it was pizza and beer, a cyclists staple 🙂

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Entering France near Schengen.

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Crossing the Moselle after Sierck-les-Bains.

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Close up Sierck-les-Bains.

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Cycling along the La Canner.

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Cycling along the La Canner.

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Cycling along the La Canner.

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Herman d’Groot.

Day 6 – Monday 06/06
Faulquemont, France to Mittersheim, France – 55kms Total 423kms

It rained last night but the thunderstorms that were expected this morning did not materialize so by 08:30 we were on the D20 heading South out of town to get back on the cycling route. After about 10kms we got back on the route and the camping that we were aiming for yesterday and to our surprise we found it closed. We were glad we got a room as there wasn’t any place to stop for the night for a quite a few kilometers.
At Mittersheim we ran into Herman having lunch next to this canal. We joined him for coffee and had another chat. His plan for the day was to cycle on for a while more but we decided to check out the camping just outside the village. And what a great camping this is, quiet, next to a lake and with a supper market nearby. So as soon as we set up we rode into the village and got a good supply of beer, some food and just chilled. Later on this Dutch couple, Annie and Jan, whom we ran into on our first and third day showed up.
After relaxing a bit I took a dive into the lake to cool off and also chat to this French fisherman called Jack. Later on in the evening while talking to Annie and Jan, Jack shows up with this huge 4.6kg fish he caught, very impressive. Never thought these small lake held such big fish. But according to Jack there are many lakes around here and their all connected underground.
We will be taking a rest day here tomorrow, this camping is great for a rest day.

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Looking forward on the D20 right after Faulquemont.

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Looking back from the top of the hill in the previous picture.

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Camping at Mittersheim.

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Jack and his prize catch.

Day 7  – Tuesday 07/06
Mittersheim – Rest day

Did pretty much nothing today. After saying goodbye to Annie and Jan we did some shopping in town before returning to camp and just relaxed.
Later in the afternoon Aafke, another Dutch cyclist came to camp. Aafke is also following the same route but backwards, From Rome to Holland and she’s doing it solo, chapeau!
In the evening this huge thunderstorm came with high winds and a lot of rain. We were glad there was a tall hedge next to us which blocked most of it.
We had a real nice chat with Aafke and hope our paths cross again.

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Early morning saying goodbye to Annie and Jan.

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This picture of Aafke was actually taken the following morning while saying goodbye.

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