Tag: Germany

Le Grand Tour: The View From On High

It’s now two weeks since I arrived back in the UK after the summer’s jaunt around Europe with Wanda (the bike…). It’s been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least. On a personal level, I finally feel as though I’ve caught up with things. It was a rather sudden turnaround from being long-distance cyclist to secondary school teacher – about 18 hours to be precise – but after two weekends I’m finally in a position to say everything is ‘sorted’. Well, apart from that cupboard crammed full of my camping equipment but at least I can’t see it unless I make the effort to open the door.

Le Grand Tour: Day 63 – Rotterdam To The Hook Of Holland (39km)

So there it is. Finished. After 63 days, 55 cycling days, around 4,700km, 7 countries, 10 train journeys, lots of ferries (small and large), 45 nights in the tent, 11 nights in hotels, 4 with WarmShowers hosts, 1 with a friend and a night with a Vriendren op de Fiets host, 8 episodes of The Cycling Europe Podcast (the final part 8 episode should be published tomorrow morning upon arrival back in the UK), over 60 (almost) daily videos… and zero punctures, I arrived back at The Hook of Holland earlier today after the relatively short cycle from central Rotterdam and in doing so completed the ‘Grand Tour’ loop. It’s been fun.

Le Grand Tour: Day 62 – Arnhem To Rotterdam (161km)

The longest day of the trip but it needed to be.it’s now Saturday morning and I still have around 60km of cycling today: 30km from central Rotterdam to the Hook of Holland and then, back up and down the Rhine to the end of one of the other fingers of land to the ferry. Check-in closes at 7pm tonight so I have plenty of time to complete those 60km but if I had stopped yesterday east of Rotterdam that might not have been the case. 

Le Grand Tour: Day 61 – Hürth/Cologne To Arnhem (16km + Train + 70km)

Today has been a real joy. Everything came together in a celestial meeting of cycle touring, travelling, people, places, weather… I loved it. Even the trains joined the party after an initial reluctance to play ball at Cologne station this morning. With only 48 hours of this continental odyssey remaining, I couldn’t wish to have spent a more enjoyable day in the saddle. Even that pesky wind which, for much of the past week, has been annoying me in a manner that usually only a tiresome Year 9 student can achieve came to the party and blew me along the banks of the Rhine willing me to get to Rotterdam on time. Fabulous. I only wish you could have been here.

Le Grand Tour: Day 60 – Braubach To Hürth / Cologne (121km)

It’s now day 61 and it’s turning out to be a ‘fun’ morning. I’m booked onto a train to Xanten from Cologne but in chaotic scenes very reminiscent of taking a train in the UK, there is some confusion regarding the train that arrived on platform 4 a few minutes ago, wouldn’t let passengers on and then scarpered. I need to change at Duisburg… I’m forcing myself into ‘zen’ mode. It might have been easier to keep cycling and take the train from a quieter station. The plan was to arrive in Xanten – famed for its Roman ruins I Iearnt last night – then cycle over the border into The Netherlands. Come back later today to find out if that ever happens or whether I’m still here in Germany. Or indeed Cologne…

Le Grand Tour: Day 59 – Gernsheim To Braubach (135km)

Such a contrast after three tedious days of cycling. The Rhine has come back to me! It was an epic day in terms of length – 130km – but also in terms of the environment. Finally the steep-sided Rhine valley has materialised and those cliff-top castles have appeared. Today was up there with some of the best cycles of the entire summer 2022 ‘Grand Tour’ journey. Enjoy the pictures and the videos as I have little energy to add much to what you can see…

Le Grand Tour: Day 58 – Philippsburg To Gernsheim (110km)

In the context of a two-month cycle around Europe I can put up with a few days here and there of uninspiring or troublesome cycling but I do feel for all those people who set their heart of cycling the Canal du Midi or, more pertinently to this week, from Basel to where I am now (about 20km south-west of Frankfurt). It really is keep-your-receipt stuff but unlike a pair of jeans from Marks & Spencers, you can’t take a cycling holiday back to the shop and ask for a refund.

Le Grand Tour: Day 57 – Kehl To Phlippsburg (123km)

The best thing about day 57 is that it wasn’t day 56. That’s not to say that day 57 will go down in history as being a great day of cycling but it wasn’t anywhere near as monotonous as yesterday’s cycle. And in contrast (because it’s not all about the cycling…), yesterday evening was fun chatting with Dave from Seattle, the German chap and the French family with their very funny two boys. Tonight here in Phillipsburg it’s just me and the chap in the next tent who I saw for the first time about 30 seconds ago. He’s wearing a dressing gown and a head torch. It’s not a look that I have ever coveted on a campsite but who knows? It’s only 9pm. The evening could yet turn out to be an entertaining one…