Strandweg, Ter HeijdeNothing is greener then the Meuse,
banks, reeds and poplar.
When one is back again
from far away mountains and rivers,
nothing is greener then the Meuse.
 
- J.W.F. Werumeus Buning

We’re home again! One day earlier then expected, after 23 days and 1758 kilometers. Even though the route we chose wasn’t the most spectacular we’ve traveled and we had head wind most of the time regardless the direction we went(!), we still enjoyed our trip immensely. Only we hit snag or rather the gear hub of Remy’s bicycle…

When you change your plans (see previous blog post), it’s like going on a new vacation. That’s how it felt for us when we reviewed our plans during our stay in Nancy. And it really felt like a different holiday. Only the weather remained unchanged: Hot and dry, until yesterday that is.
Officially the Vennbahn-route goes from Aachen to Troisvierges in the north of Luxembourg, but a German publisher of bicycle route guides extended the route all the way to Luxembourg-city. We wanted to Cycle the route in reverse (to Aachen), and knew that the part between Luxembourg-city and Troisvierges would be the hardest and most beautiful part.
It all went different! Directly after Ettelbruck we got a very steep climb up to deal with and to my amazement I saw Remy jump off his bicycle and started walking in front of me. Luckily I was able to capture this first-time event with my camera, because I can’t remember this happening before. Only him stepping down had a reason which had nothing to do with him, but is was his gear-hub. I’ll spare you the technical details, but he felt movement to the side and decided he could not exert a lot of much power which would be needed for a steep hill, but otherwise cycling would be fine. Well… Luxembourg is not compatible in this case.
In the end we decided to go back and take the train to Troisvierges. Feom that point it should be all right with and average inclination of 2% up or down. This would appear to be the case indeed, except for a few exceptons. The wonderful Vennbahn (and old railway line straight through the Ardennes) was a true cycling paradise from which we raced the final 45 km from Monschau to Aachen down hill with speeds up to 30 kph.

Just before Aachen I noticed that a pannier on Remy’s bicycle got loose. It was a screw that let loose in one corner. With a bungee cord the pannier was secured and so we arrived on the camping in Vaals. Yesteray we decidedd to go home by train. We didn’t think we would make it home in two day by bicycle. Together with the bicycle issues we encountered recently and the upcoming bad weather, the decision was made quickly.
This morning in Heerlen we stepped on the train for a trip of three hours - which is much more tiring then cycling all day! - we came home this afternoon. Home where the seagulls glide in the salty air of the coast and where we hear the sound of the sea. And where we’ll start making plans for the cycling holiday next year. Veni Vidi Fietsie!

(More pictures, click here)

toilet brush remy Remy had issues with his gear hub (Rohloff hub) De Vennbahn near Burg-Reuland Belgium De Vennbahn bij Bütgenbach - Elsenborn Vennbahn ortlieb the last supper Ter Heijde