It’s been just over a week since a few friends joined us for the first day and we were left by family at the Folkestone rugby club, having been fully fed with local fish and chips. Since then we have travelled along the top of France, popped into Belgium, Luxembourg and now in Germany (with a zigzag or two back in to France for good measure).
We had a rest day in Lens as Verity had been working right up to departure day and desperately needed to finally just relax. We found a great little hotel in an otherwise closed down and pretty uninspiring city. The one restaurant that was open (apart from a few taco bars or kebab houses) turned out to be absolute beauty and we tucked into steak frites and a pitchet or two of red wine.
Ignoring the obvious topical politics for a moment, travelling by bike and border crossings on back roads is an absolute dream in Europe. All too easily, as have slipped back and forth between countries with only a subtle roadsign to symbolise the transition. The cycle route through France and Belgium has been less than ideal, and were have often found ourselves on gravel tracks and retreating to join the ‘B’ road for lack of progress. However into Luxembourg was what you expect the Eurovelo route to be and you can see that when finished, it will be a brilliant system.
We are getting into the groove of our routine – pitching the tent and lighting the stove, and packing up into our planners the next morning. Soaking our porridge oats overnight is our latest top tip -resulting in a quicker and much tastier brekkie!
With a sneaky little 70+miler thrown in the 5 straight days cycling we were beginning to feel like the adventure was a gruel and needed to get out of the “head down and get there as we only have a weeks holiday to do this in” mentality. We have therefore had a rest day in Merzig, just inside the German border, and are enjoying cafes, a lie in and an evening meal that isn’t pasta (although Verity is still very tempted!!). This is a great little town with lots of people and a friendly atmosphere, We only feel bad for our complete lack of German. Sign language and pointing was expected for countries during this trip but perhaps not this early. Our French (A* GCSEs if anyone is asking) will only get us so far, and it was pretty much to Belgium.