trails & tribulations

by Jakob

A few years ago I had the impulsive plan to cycle to the Mediterranean.
Since I had already made quite a few kilometers on my bike, this was not an impossible task to do, but I had three weeks to cover the total distance of about 2400 kilometers. That meant about 114 kilometers per day, and that is quite a lot, if the bike is heavy loaded with all those hills and mountains.
“can do” I thought, bought the necessary maps and I started to cycle.

August 1, 2003
Took the train of 09.00 o’clock, but still arrived quite late at 12.15 in Maastricht. Anyway, the cycling went perfect, no uncertainty in my route description, but only cycling a bit too long: found a guesthouse at 20.30 where I asked if I could set up my tent in the garden. It was oke and even got a free meal.
There were also two Dutch guests, it went quite late, the hoegaarden-beers tasted mythical.

August 2, 2003
Left late: a bit of a hangover from yesterday and an extensive breakfast.
Almost as soon as I cycled again, some slopes of about 10%, even one of 14%, with only occasional descents, it was mainly climbing. With a temperature of about 30 degrees I was really a struggling. Along the way I bought some sports-drinks and fruit; amazingly: you feel your energy coming back immediate.
After 98 km cycling I am on a beautiful campsite among some Dutch. This time cooked for myself. Later on, ameretto as a nightcap 🙂

August 3, 2003
09.45 departed after coffee of other cyclists to have had.
The highest point of the Bulge, I already had. My intention today is to cycle to Metzervisse.
My water tastes too much for me to bottle, sports drinks, they seem not to know it icethea.
Today limit passed two: Luxembourg and Belgium-Luxembourg-France.
The last 25 km of the 125 I noticed quite heavy. ‘m Now on a family camping in Volstroff, not really my thing, but well, it is with swimming pool!

August 4, 2003
still woke up at 07.00 this morning, despite the party in the tent next to me, that continued until 04.00 hours. I’ve made long climbs and descents today. Actually it was too hot, en route refreshed myself at a fountain. A few hours later did the same in a fast flowing river (the Rotten). Arrived early at my destination in Chateau-Salins. A curious Frenchman was amazed about my cycling and kept saying: “grand courage!”, quite nice of him.
Two boys just arrived and they want to cycle also to the Mediterranean. They had cycled 130 km. One of them was really exhausted and the other still in top shape … hopefully they will get on together later on.

August 5, 2003
I’m awakened at 04.00 a.m. by the noise of the garbage truck, so that’ why I left early, after first I had received a bowl of tea from a Dutch couple It’s actually quite nice to leave so early: the temperature is very pleasant.
It’s getting hot again today and I’ve heard that it will remain so in the coming days. I purchased much soda on my way, does the same as sports drink: gives you energy … Cooled dowm in streams and fountains. Arrived early in Darney. cycled 130 km.

August 6, 2003
04.30 up and departed at 07.00. The further south I get, the more beautiful and happier the surroundings become. I make maximum use of the coolness in the morning, but from about 09.00 o’clock it starts getting awfully warm. At 12.00 I’ve cycled for about 80 km. In the afternoon I really have to take it easy, much too warm, but happily there are more and more streams for the necessary cooling. I meet another Dutchman on the bike, he is suffering so much from the heat, that he probably will quit his cycling-tour. I arrive at the campsite in Marney quite early in the afternoon and again I meet a some Dutch on cycling-holiday. In the river at the campsite you can swim and I immediately make ​​use of. Thereafter picked terrace in Marney. Around 110 km cycled.

to be continued

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