Day 4: Mönchengladbach to Aachen
- Distance: 65 km
- Duration: 5 hours
- Route: Mönchengladbach – Rheydt – Wickrath – Alsdorf – Würselen – Aachen
- Accommodation: A&O Hostel
- Highlight: The forest before Aachen
The cycling at day 4 started at Mönchengladbach. In this area there were several old towers as water reservoirs to be seen. I went south to Rheydt, heading to the castle at Wickrath. This castle/palace has a nice garden with some canals around. It’s a nice stop for a small break. The following is one photo of the entrance.
The way to Aachen was flat. Before Aachen the hilly part started. I was not sure how I will manage this part, but it was much easier than I expected. Before Aachen was my favorite part of the day. There was a forest and a very nice off road for bikes. It was going up the hill and then going down directly to Aachen. Awesome ride!
In Aachen, I went to the A&O hostel, which is a basic one and good for a short and cheap stay. In the evening, I went out with an old friend who showed me the city center. The city is very nice and lively, full of students and many options for going out.
In Aachen, I decided to change the initial plan of the tour. I wanted to reach Maastricht and Liege on day 5, and then on day 6 to get back to Aachen and get a train to Bonn. But I decided on day 6 to stay the night again in Aachen at the friend’s place and on day 7 cycle the whole way to Bonn. This change caused another change of shortening the last day.
Day 5: Aachen to Bassenge
- Distance: 50 km
- Duration: 3,5 hours
- Route: Aachen – Vaals – Gulpen – Margraten – Maastricht – Kanne – Bassenge
- Accommodation: Couchsurfing in Bassenge (Damien)
- Highlight: Crossing the border from the Netherlands to Belgium
This was a shorter day of cycling, because I wanted to do more sightseeing. I left the hilly Aachen in the morning. It was a very short way to cross the border and enter the first town Vaals in the Netherlands. And of course the bike ways were amazing. Welcome to the Netherlands!
This part of the Netherlands is actually the highest above the see region. I think they even call one of the hills here a mountain 😀 But I was coming from Germany, so the whole way until the Maas river and the city of Maastricht was going down. In Maastricht I did a long sightseeing break. It is a very nice city with beautiful old town, but also a nice new modern part. Here is one photo from the river.
But before I went on the sightseeing tour, it was time for coffee.
And then a bit of cycling through the old town.
When I reached the center of the old town, it was crowded so cycling was not an option. Pushing the bike with me was also annoying, so I looked for a place to lock my bike. But I had the bags with me on the bike so I had to carry them. Luckily, this is the Netherlands and they all cycle, and think of all practical things for people who cycle. So, I found out that there was a nice bike underground parking space next to the river where you can leave your bike and be safe. You get a number of your bike spot which you need when you want to pick up your bike. The service is for free!
After I spent few hours in the city, I got my bike and went to the south. The border with Belgium was near. It was exactly at the village Kanne. The remarkable part here was that once I crossed the bridge near Vise which is the official border the road changes completely. They were not nice anymore. Welcome to Belgium. The asphalt was very old. There were no more bike signs. This was the case for the whole stay in this part of Belgium. It is the french one.
My accommodation was at Bassenge, a village near Liege. The village is on the top of a hill so it was a challenging part. I was accommodated by Damien, who was another nice couchsurfing host. He is also a marathon runner. A great one.