Rest day – or not; then actual rest day

With a big breakfast to add to the previous night’s dinner, I was beginning to think I was doing cycle-touring all wrong. Paved trails, warm showers, a proper bed, big meals with good company – they could easily be handled, but I suppose I would get a bit bored with pavement all the time, so bikepacking it is. I set off a little after the others as we made our way down the Our Valley – this river eventually forms parts of the German border. As we were well off the Vennbahn by now, due to last night’s hotel diversion, it was nice to be out in the valley through farm land and taking it easy for a more restful day.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugThe only photo of me so far in a week – on the Belgian-German border

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugWe crossed past an old border post back into Belgium – this German speaking part would rather be part of Germany again…

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Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugAt this town, my favourite trail, the GR5, crossed our path – I wasn’t at all tempted as the leisurely pace was good after a week.

As Jacqueline and Joseph began to find the Vennbahn a little hillier than they were expecting, I was encouraged to carry on at my own pace and meet them at the end of the trail – or later at Jacqueline’s house where I would stay the night and have a chance to catch up on bike & clothes cleaning, both much needed.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugIt was a rather inauspicious entry into Luxembourg – this up a bit of a hill because the old rail tunnel has been closed as many special bats reside in the dark there.

I had a meagre lunch, what I’d actually bought as breakfast before I met J&J the day before. After waiting half an hour at the station from which they would take the train south, I decided to ride on the national cycle routes to Jacqueline’s house as it was still only two o’clock and it was only forty-odd kilometres in a straight line. Little did I know that northern Luxembourg is really quite hilly. Even on the cycle routes there were some big steep climbs.

But it was beautiful forested land to be riding through – always nicer in the valley bottoms as the southerly wind, that I was generally heading into, was howling at about 60 km/h. I was really enjoying the ride, but my restful day disappeared as some of those hills were tough steep grinds.  I had to ride a big section of road to connect two trails – this took me up on to and around a ridgetop.

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From Ettelbruck, it was mostly gentle gradient following the river upstream and the local railway that the large Goodyear Tire and Moulding plants still use a few times a year. After a bit of confusion with the waypoint I had in my GPS marking my destination, we finally communicated by phone & Jacqueline worked out which village I was in and kindly came and picked me up – saving me another big climb. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to repay such hospitality as I was shown – a big dinner, a shower, nice warm comfortable bed, bike cleaning, clothes washed, breakfast. Fantastic. Maybe one day I’ll settle somewhere and be able to do the same for dishevelled cycle tourists.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugFirst Luxembourg flag photo – waiting to be picked up

Over dinner, it was decided that I should definitely pay a visit to Luxembourg City the following day and stay in the youth hostel. Bidding farewell after being dropped off near another rail trail, I was determined to turn Monday into a restful day – it was only twenty easy kilometres into the city. After checking-in, I had the afternoon to wander around the city. It’s really quite nice situated behind big walls on a hill and I enjoyed strolling around – but after walking up the hill, I realised I really was quite tired from Sunday’s efforts so returned to catch up on keeping this up to date.

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Now it’s Tuesday morning and the sun is shining – will head to towards NW France where there is a long distance MTB trail that I will give a go. There’s more than an even chance I’ll find this unrideable for me, but there’s only one way to find out.

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