Wow, what to say about the first days on the bicycle. First and foremost we have already been amazed by the hospitality on the way. Also we really appreciate the small things while cycling. The small rays of sun, the compliments and encouragements we give each other, the views and nice bicycling paths.
Departure on Sunday the 2nd was quite emotional. It was nice to have friends and family cheering us on while we were starting the first meters on the bicycle. Slowly we began to get into the feeling and before we knew it we were half way to Biezenmortel, our first stop. We came through our previous city Dordrecht and through the Biesbosch. The winds were tough and they weren’t going to be easy on us the first days.

Have a look at the photos we made in our first week:

It was nice staying with friends, Renske and Max, on the first night, relaxing, chatting and sleeping in a bed. On the second day again we said goodbye and we were on the bikes again. We had some nice roads through forest and along a canal above Eindhoven. We were a little bit nervous about finding a place to sleep because it was our first night searching. We were in an area with not so many houses. We rang a doorbell but nobody was home. Then we saw light at a house near Ospeldijk and we gave it a try. A nice man opened and we were allowed to stay!
The house where we were was from a farmer in decorative grass, the largest in the Benelux. We got invited to stay in the warmed shed and after having made dinner the farmer Bert Cuypers and his wife came to chat and we talked about our plans and their company. They had just received their first order in Asia! The following morning we surprised the workers by being there and then we got on our way again.
We went down to Roermond and from there started following the Rur. There was a nice gravel road next to the river where it was nice riding. Just before we reached Julich, our final place for the day, we were talking about our route and a nice colorful lady stopped to talk with us. Her name was Iris and she fave us some information about the area. Then she wanted to give us something and we received nice colorful cards to cheer us up along the way. Was very nice and sweet! In Julich it was hard to find a place to sleep. Eventually we came to a small road with a house. Nobody was home but there was also a gate to another place. We entered and saw a window with light. We asked if we could stay and got offered the garden or the garage. We chose the garage and then got invited to shower and give a cup of tea. Erik and Kirsten and their daughter were very nice! It was here where we heard about the brow coal sites around Julich.
The fourth day would be our toughest until know. Susannes mood was a bit down because her body was coping with all the exercise and Martin had to deal with this 🙂 The start of the day was interesting with a visit to the brown coal site but it was slow. It always gives a nice feeling to make some kilometers early in the morning. The whole day would stay tough and finding a place was definitely hard because we were in an area with a lot of fields and fast roads. We asked at some stables if we could pitch our tent and we could. We were in Miel now and only 70 km today. It is good that it is not a race and we have all the time in the world.

After sleeping really outside for the first time we gathered our gear and were on our way again. We would reach the Rhein today, a first big step. The first hills also gave us something to work with and with 276 meters of altitude it is good to feel our muscles working. After a nice descent we reached the Rhein and then the going got better. We stopped in Andernach to find some wifi to check if there would be a place where we could stay in Koblenz but it wasn’t very clear to us yet. So we jumped on our bike for the last 25 km to Koblenz.
In Koblenz we were searching in the streets and we got approached by a guy if he could help us. We said we were looking for a place to stay. He was on the bike and showed us the campsite but it was all closed. He also asked what we normally did and then offered that we could stay with him and his wife if his wife approved. Teodor and Catalina were very nice to us. They are originally from Romania and have lived in Koblenz for 3 years. For us it is still new to get invited into people’s homes. Also for them it is new to have people, with a lot of bags, staying in their place. They were very nice and made a nice dinner and breakfast for us. We had like minded ideas about things and could level. It was also interesting to talk about differences in Germany, The Netherlands and Romania. We learned quite a bit! We could even do our laundry so we are happy people now 🙂 It is amazing that we meet people that are so open that we get invited off the street.
Now we have just been sightseeing in Koblenz and thought it would be nice to relax a bit on our 6th day of the journey. It is time to share our experiences and care for our bodies. If you have any ideas for us on our route to Bregenz please let us know!