Five hours before sunset, Intercity 13032 pulled into the station at Caen. The dark clouds made it feel like dusk as I made my way north on the bike route to the coast. I had picked a hotel a few kilometres out of town, so that I could get well along the coast the next day. It was Wednesday, the 26th of July. Continue reading
Saturday the 22nd of July, I saddled up and rode to the main train station in Boulogne-sur-Mer. I had not planned to run alongside the Somme, but the tracks followed the swollen river all the way to Amiens. I needed to get off at Saint Roch to change for Rouen, but, mesmerized by the scenery, I almost missed my stop. Continue reading
On Wednesday the 19th of July, I lay in my tent at 0500, ready to go back to sleep, when I heard thunder. The storm front predicted for 1300 must be early, I thought. With a little more than four hours of sleep, I decided to break camp not to have to pack a wet tent. While I struggled to wake up and get moving, the storm rumbled over the fields well to the south, and never did rain on me. Continue reading
(I never saw the 1979 movie, but the title stuck with me.) On Wednesday, the 12th of July, Marianne and her husband Hans had invited me to dinner. I spent the morning waiting for the rain to stop. After lunch in my room, I rode to the Mauritshuis palace, officially the “Royal Picture Gallery”. I planned to visit it, the Escher Museum and take pictures of the Binnenhof (Parliament) and maybe another museum. The plans fell apart quickly. Continue reading
Under an overcast sky on the 4th of July, I rode to the Hauptbanhof in Köln (Cologne) and caught a Regional Express to Düsseldorf. Before checking in, I rode to the river, where I wanted to see the modern architecture on the waterfront. Continue reading
Thursday morning the 29th, my host Nasr went to his German class. I did my laundry, then walked east along the Mosel River to the Deutsches Eck (“German Corner”), the point of land formed by the confluence of the Mosel and the Rhine. There, I caught a cable car to the imposing Festung Ehrenbreitstein that overlooks the east bank of the Rhine River. Continue reading
On Saturday, the 24th of June, I left Kaiserslautern. The Regional Express went all the way to Koblenz, but I got off in Trier, the medieval fortress town at the confluence of the Saar and the Mosel.
From my studies of Modern European History in high school and college, I had expected the Saar valley to be industrialized for its entire length. Wrong: in this fertile, winegrowing region, the Saar weaves through a floodplain covered in crops, vineyards and woods. Continue reading