It is about time that I wrote an update on our cycling tour. All photo’s can be found here
On the Thursday we took the train to Maastricht. It was a great day for touring and we stayed at Hotel ”Empereur, conveniently placed next to the station. We had a walk around town and as I had visited it not that long ago, I gave some directions. I took them to sylexyz and they really loved it. Just like I did when I first saw it. We spent a good half hour doing nothing but looking around. We then had dinner at Gio’s a great Italian restaurant Really great food.
The next morning we took off. Getting out of Maastricht was not easy We even had to take a detour for a bit. Egeltje had warned us about the hill. She was so very very right. Steep! Unfortunately for me a lady decided it was too much for her and got off her bike. Which meant that I had to brake and lost momentum. Pushed the bike the last bit. The men were also not happy. We certainly needed to catch our breaths after that. However we did manage.
After cycling over an industrial estate with large trucks we came to a part which was both very pretty and beautiful to cycle But not all was like that. All of a sudden there was a detour for repairs. But all in all it was an easy route to do. Weather was great.
That evening we slept in a village called Heel Heel only has one hotel and it is in the local cafe. We had specified we wanted rooms with our own bathroom. The other option was shared. So not us.
After arrival we climbed two flights of narrow stairs to our room. Room was small, but could contain a double bed………….not much more. In order to get to the en suite we had to negotiate who was moving where. It had no door and worse there was no soap in the shower. One can argue about taste in decor. In the case of this hotel one can’t. Everything clashed and not in a charming way. It felt a little like fawlty towers on occasion. The food did make up for the decor though. The food was really very very good. Breakfast was made by a lovely lady. The lady in question told us she loved zombie movies. She had every zombie movie ever brought out on Betamax VCR. Which had us giggle like small children. She then decided to talk about the dead pigeon on the street. She was so adorably funny, without realising it. Really she will always feature in our story of this trip. So all in all not the best of hotels, but a great time there none the less.
That day we took off to Mierlo. We’d been there before as several cycling routes go through there. But before we got there we had to go for about 60km. Morning was not too exciting with bad tarmac and general agricultural surrounds. We were very happy when we got to the lock and the cafe that was next to it. I was soooo utterly tired that I took a nap. My head in SO’s lap. The picture taken I will not put up. Too embarrassing!!!! At least you know again who your friends are. From there the trip certainly improved from a scenery perspective. Slowly we moved towards the Strabrechtse Heide (Heath). Initially the road into nature was actually pretty decent. But it did deteriorate as we headed further. We stopped after a while to enjoy the view, and shortly after we came to the conclusion that the men simply could not skate on that road, which was more of a sandy path by then. Not even our train construction helped them, though we did try. Going back seemed not to be a good idea. We were less than 10 km from our finish. Our detour would add 10-15 km to the day. So in the end we determined a shortcut over the heath and the men took off their skates, put on their walking shoes and, well, walked. The ladies took the long way with the bikes. Which was fun! The path got more sandy and harder to ride. My friend managed to get her recumbent square onto the path and nearly fell. I slipped kermit (bike) a few times but stayed up.
Then of course we had to find our men back, with the mobile phones proving to be indispensable. In the end we were up on the bridge crossing the main road and the men could get a visual on us.
Soon we got to the hotel after that. We were very glad to be there. I was happily welcomed and the lady behind the desk explained that the boys did not have to share a bed as the suite had two double bed. Now I was confused! The boys? Yes your sons. I nearly died laughing. My friend has a short haircut, so the lady had seen us as a couple with our sons on skates!. So I explained the situation and she pleaded with me to not tell them. I told her I would tell as we do tend to like a good laugh and thought it was pretty funny but not bad.
She gave us the keys to the room. But hang on it said suite. Oh well what is in a name?
So we got to our floor and door and then we saw this on the door. Double checked the number and yes this was our room. SO asked me what we were paying (very reasonable price for a standard room including breakfast) and we decided to open the door and then we got the giggles big time. This is what we saw. A lounge, A dining area. A separate bedroom (as promised with two double beds) and space to spare. Oh yes and a bathroom with door. Of course cycling we don’t need much room really. It fitted in a corner to be honest.
The difference with the first room in Heel was huge. In fact the room in Heel would have fitted into here about 4 times!
We spend a lovely evening on the terrace. It must be said though. The meal in Heel was better!
The next morning we decided to return home. We were not going to make Den Bosch before rainfall. Weather forecast was getting worse and even Eindhoven station was not going to be secure in the dry at the time we left. We managed to get there in the dry though.
So our trip was cut short by a day but what we did was awesome.