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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hamont-Achel to Düsseldorf

Hamont-Achel is a small village, but somehow we managed to get a bit lost on our way out of town. Not an auspicious start to the day. Soon, we were in the Netherlands following a nice little canal.

But I guess the Dutch got their cycling detour procedures from the Belgians (or maybe vice versa) because after awhile we hit some construction and were unable to find the route back to the canal. When we eventually did, after walking our bikes thru a field and around a pond, we'd lost the good part of an hour. Then Tim had a flat (probably from the field) so more time was lost there.

Flat repaired, we followed the canal for rest of the morning. When it came time to leave the canal and head for the German border,  we ran into problem number 2: How the Dutch mark their cycling routes.

In all my cycling around Germany the routes were marked with numbers. For example, the routes around Bamberg or BA-1, BA-2 etc. Some routes have names, especially those that are longer distance routes. In Belgium, the routes we were following were numbered in a similar way: for example LF-3 (meaning Limberg Fiets -- Bike -- route 3)

In the Netherlands we saw numbers and arrows pointing at intersections, but they seem to change almost at random. After getting thoroughly confused we finally crack the code: Various intersections of roads are given a number. I suppose there is a pattern but often seems random. If you want to go from point A to point B you look at the map with these intersections and plot your route: for example it might be 17, 22, 23, 45, 66 and 69.

So by 2pm we made it to Kessel and stopped for lunch. It is asparagus season so we had asparagus soup and asparagus and salmon salad. Along with some Dutch Pilsners from InBev breweries.

Friday wants some Asparagus Soup

Salmon and Asparagus Salad
Tim's tire needed some work so that took a while. On the road again we had to cross the Maas with a ferry. Which was delayed while it refueld. 60 Euro cents per bicycle.

Ferry cross the Maas

We finally made it to Germany and then we realized we had grossly underestimated the distance to Düsseldorf -- we had another 50+ km to go. That would mean it would be 8 or 9pm by the time we got to Düsseldorf, we bailed and took the train.

Tom, my friend from LA was to meet us in Düsseldorf for the test of the trip. He was at the hotel so we checked in went to sample the Alt Beers of Düsseldorf.

zum Uerige, my favorite Alt

Füchschen, number 2

Sauerbraten at Füchsen

Schumacher Alt

Distance Ridden: 70km
Total Distance: 338 km

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