Needed for a week in Germany means an opportunity for a great ride from London and Frankfurt and back.
Leaving London for a Saturday afternoon chunnel crossing to Calais, and it couldn’t have been easier. First time using the eurotunnel and it was great. Even arrived a bit early and was ushered straight onto the next train leaving. Mind you is wasn’t busy at all.
When on the train you just park up, leave you bike in gear and then do not much for about 35 mins. For me, I just put my headphones on and had a little lie down on the floor of the train carriage. Very relaxing.
With all the immigration done before getting onto the train, I was able to ride straight off the train and was riding past fields with cows after about 2 mins. And that was my plan. To stay off the motorways and enjoy the countryside.
Saturday’s goal was to get to Mouscron, Belgium, which is on the French-Belgium border. Out of Calais I followed the coast up to Dunkerque, across the border into Belgium and then down the border to the nights accommodation. Heading up the coast was great. It was about 9pm in the summer sun and almost sunset… yes, almost. Stopped at a beach before heading inland to see people still riding bicycles on the sand, flying kites, and generally still out and about having fun. From there it was a ride down to Mouscron while the light faded, arriving for the night at about 10pm.
Sunday would be the long ride across Belgium, into Germany and through to Frankfurt. The weather was perfect and I was one turn short of going to the right way across Belgium. Before I could blink the road sign said “France” and i spent the next hour in a world of hurt traversing autoroutes to get back int he right direction. That pretty much paved the way for a speedy trip across Belgium to get to the German border and start to enjoy some national parks, twisty mountain climbs, some familiar towns and the ride into Frankfurt.
Belgium is a weird country and a great one at the same time. Depending where you are everything is in different languages so you don’t know if you have crossed the border into France, Netherlands or Germany or are still an hour away. But on the plus side, beer and chocolate! What more can you say.
Once in Germany it was straight into the Eifel National Park and through to Bad Munstereifel for a late lunch. The roads through the bush were almost traffic free and with some very nice twists to make the riding all that more enjoyable. Oh, and the late lunch… Jaegerschnitzel of course.
From there it was down to Staudernheim where I had spent a couple of Christmas’ with friends family, and along the south side of the Main River into Frankfurt for hotel check-in, dinner and prep for a week at work.
Fast forwarding to the Friday, it was time to head off for the ride home. The weather this time was unfortunately a lot worse but the rain was holding off. Heading out of the Frankfurt I ride through Koblenz and Rheinbach (both of which are very nice little towns) then through the border town of Aachen into The Netherlands. It was only 30 mins through this part of the Netherlands and then back into Belgium. Tonight I was headed to the university town of Leuven, but most commonly known as the home of the Stella Artois brewery. And I was staying in the hotel opposite the front gate! Arrived just in time to manage a bite to eat and a couple of refreshing beers.
The weather took another turn for the worse on Saturday which limited most photo opportunities, so from the hotel I was just heading straight up to the coast, stopping in Dunkerque once again for lunch before heading to the chunnel for the return trip.
The word of wisdom for anyone looking to do a trip through the Eurotunnel. When I put in the dates I wanted to travel, the cost came back at about £150 for a return ticket. If I changed it to the 2 separate one-way tickets, the total cost came down to about £100. When I bought a same-day/overnight return, and discarded the return portion, I was only paying about £20-25 each way. Obviously there are some subsidies coming into the play to generate weekend tourism which translate into some great savings. Definitely worth trying all the options on the website before committing to the price.
Here is the route I took if you would like to check it out, and below that I have put some photos and video into a short movie with some traditional German music. Hope you enjoy it.