Monday, June 26, 2017

Peter and Sonia's A Series of Interesting Events

We left Roermond this morning at 9:15, a pretty decent time considering that for some reason neither of us slept very well. Which is weird, because our accommodations were wonderful.

In any case, we hit the road and found our way to the LF3. At one point, wanting to avoid another exhausting day by taking a few judicious shortcuts, we were looking at our maps when a "kind" Dutchman asked us if he could help, giving what seemed to be a good route to Maastricht; he even took us to the start of the path along the Juliankanal.

A typical Dutch scene, with the water on the left higher than the ground on the right
All seemed well (if a little less structured than we were used to) until the path became increasingly overgrown. We soon realized that we should have turned off at one point and taken a path leading down to the bottom of the dike.

Yeah, something's not right here. 
Eventually, we decided this bushwhacking on bikes couldn't go on, so we unhooked the paniers and took everything down the VERY steep embankment to the real LF3, about 8 metres below.

That's more like it!
All's well that ends well, and the rest of the day was fairly innocuous. That'll teach us to take advice from the Dutch. We'll just follow the posted signs from now on!

As per the last 3 days, today's ride took us through quaint little towns and picturesque farmland. There were also several detours, which turned out to be well marked once we realized what they were -- the joys of travelling where you don't understand the language. At one point, we encountered some heavy machinery building some sort of earthworks, and it occurred to me that most of Holland is one huge feat of engineering. It's no wonder that Dutch gardens are so tidy and meticulously kept. It's just part of the Dutch mentality to control nature. (I don't mean this as a criticism at all; it's kind of mind-blowing how lovely and natural Holland seems despite its being completely manufactured!)

With the good weather and a lack of headwinds (and even some tailwinds), we made excellent time and arrived in Maastricht by 2:30. After settling into our lodging, we went to explore. Maastricht is another university town. You can always tell; there's a certain liveliness to them (all the young people zipping around on bikes is also a giveaway). It's a very pretty town and just the right size to wander around and get lost. There are lots of old churches and fortifications. In some ways, it reminds me of Bruges. In others, Basel is brought to mind, since Maastricht too is separated by a river.
Maastricht city hall

The old city wall

So pretty. Reminds me of Bruges. 

Tomorrow, we turn east into Belgium, heading for Brussels. Hard to believe we fly home in a few days.

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