Three countries in a day is synonymous for a European trip. We visited three countries in an hour during our drive from Moers in Germany to Liége in Belgium. There was this short half hour drive through the Netherlands. When we left Göttingen (I have now uploaded more photos thanks to the luxury of fast wifi so feel free to re-visit the last post for some visuals), the plan was to just drive as far as we got during day light, find a free camp spot for the night, cook, crash and keep driving the next day. Daylight got us to Moers, not far from the Dutch border and we perched the Hymer next to a little strip of trees and a little meadow, nothing fancy, just off the Autobahn.
The Moers ride the next morning was unspectacular. The Ruhrgebiet is the most heavily populated area of Germany, with lots of industry and flat roads, which made the scenery rather unattractive. It was still good to stretch the legs and have a look at Moers itself, a very old township, dating back to the 12th century. Quick shower and lunch in the motorhome and we were back on the road again, this time to head for the Ardennes and Liége.
With the motorhome also came a ADAC Stellplatz Guide with free camping or parking areas for motorhomes all over Europe. Often, villages or tourist attractions offer free camp spots for one night and allow free use of toilets or other amenities. The book showed one of these camp spots near Liége at the Blégny Mine, a museum with a big unsealed car park that had a few spots reserved for motorhomes at the back. It turned out that we were the only campers that night and our little Hymer looked somewhat lost.
The Belgian roads were calling me for a bike ride but Alberto only heard the calling of the dinette. My bike is on the bike rack behind Alberto’s bike and getting the bikes off the rack is a bit of a mission so a walk by myself seemed the better option, and a welcome change to the riding. The fresh air after the long drive, the green of the fields, the little hidden track that I discovered, it all made for a pleasant evening.
The next morning I couldn’t wait to get out for that ride but when we opened the curtains, the blue skies were gone and instead, proper Belgian weather greeted us. It was cold, grey and a misty drizzle was hanging in the air. I was excited. The rain jacket, overshoes and bibs for -6 to 0C, that I had bought extra for this trip and, to my disappointment hadn’t needed, yet, were finally getting a proper use.
We followed the signs for a tourist cycling route, loosely, and meandered up and down valleys of the Meuse river. No need for Alberto to get his sniffer dog nose for climbs out. They were everywhere, those little Belgian bergs. Only one was cobbled. Down into Visé we went for coffee and a sample of Belgian naughties – croissants filled with chocolate and banana.
I could have kept riding forever but unfortunately, we had to get back on the road to Saint Quentin. Now I can’t wait to get back to this area for Liége – Bastogne – Liége in a couple of weeks’ time.
We made it to Saint Quentin today and it’s the eve of Alberto’s challenge. The registration was an experience in itself.
It says Bienvenue en enfer on the musette, and for Alberto tomorrow. I can’t wait to hear his story over a glass of wine tomorrow night.