I cycled a long way yesterday! I set off from South Belgium at a record early time at 9.45am. The sun was only just burning off the mist.
Because I’d rested for a day to sit out the rain I really wanted to make up for it and cover a lot of ground.
On this ride I was, for once, aware of roughly where the border was, this is what it looked like:
Nothing particularly momentous!
I had a huge climb up to and through the town of Wiltz which seems to have recently had a lantern festival. The lanterns were still hanging in the trees and the street lights were made to look like flowers
A little further into North Luxembourg it was hilly, forested and beautiful. There were quite a few tough climbs but also one massive, long, zigzagging descent through the woods down to the valley and then along the Sûre river. This was the best bit of cycling on the trip so far.
I pretty much followed this river all the way to the city.
There were lots of chalet type houses nestled in the trees on the steep sides of the valley, it looked like a really lovely, if quiet place to live. I haven’t got photos though because this road was really, really long and I was very pressed for time. I had arranged to stay with another warmshower host in Luxembourg . Getting lost in a city is bad enough, getting lost in a city in the dark is something I really wanted to avoid so I was really pushing myself to keep a good pace. I’d worked out roughly that I should just about make it in time.
I was so proud when got to the outskirts! It was only 6pm so I had two hours of daylight to find the house. I had a quick look online for a Google map of the address and realised she was right the other side of the city. Google thought it would take me an hour and a half. Google is always a bit optimistic! Just into the city things were beginning to get complicated and my Dutch instructions were getting very convoluted! I managed not to panic and tried to have faith that I was on track but just as I was being over taken by another cyclist I had the urge to check with him that I was on the right road. After an initial bit of confusion over which language we were going to be speaking we settled for English (no surprize!) I explained my route and by amazing coincidence it was exactly where he was heading! He offered to ride with me despite my slower speed- amazing! Just when I needed it! Unlike when I was in Rotterdam, I felt totally at ease accepting his help. I’ve obviously made a lot of progress in relaxing! I didn’t get his name and he didn’t tallk very much but he showed me the way and told me a bit about his life which was based in Belgium at the weekend with his family and Luxembourg during the week for work. Because he wasn’t around the city at weekends he said it was really hard to establish a social life, hence having lots of time for cycling. This was his daily commute to and from work. It took us on a whistle stop tour of the city. So I saw high city walls, attractive houses and flowery allotments and then finally a long stretch of cycle path through tall trees and along the river. He left me just two mins from my hosts house (and the municipal campground that I really hoped I wouldn’t need)
Christine hadn’t answered any messages or phone calls and I was slightly worried I might have the wrong number and would not find her house, the same old anxious feeling beginning to rise up.
But. I thought, I could try, and the worst is I camp again which is not ideal when it’s about to get dark and I’m really ready for food and a shower and a bed, but it’s not the end of the world either.
Just around the corner and I was ringing the doorbell to Christine’s house and there she was. All ready and expecting me. Her phone had been on silent since work and she hadn’t checked it, just waited for me to arrive. Phew! Just minutes before night fall. Everything was fine again.
Christine is a nurse in Luxembourg. She loves nature and she loves cycling. She has taken her bike to Sri Lanka and traveled around the island staying in guest houses and surprising everyone by climbing massive hills on her bike instead of catching the buses! She started me thinking about future trips…
A house and company was really good for boosting my morale and making the 110km (!) ride worth it. I was so relieved and pleased at the distance I covered. 6 pages of map! It had been my favourite day so far and I was closer to my goal of getting to the south and the part of the route everyone tells me is the highlight. The only thing left to worry about was whether I’d be able to walk in the morning!