Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bike Ride #1

We had originally planned to do a 90 km bike ride through the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium on Saturday morning. Our first obstacle was the weather - instead of heading out at 9am like we planned, we had to wait until 11:30 when the rain stopped.

After the sun started shining we took a 4 km ride out to St. Pieterberg - an old Roman fort on a hill. This is when we discovered all of Holland isn't flat; Limburg has hills. Big hills with steep ascents and descents. The 90 km plan was officially canceled.

After visiting the fort, we started a 40 km loop through Gulpen to Valkenburg and back to Maastricht. The countryside was beautiful and the hills added a nice change in scenery (and a burning feeling in our quads).

The first stop along the loop was the Nederlands American Cemetery and Memorial. It is a beautiful tribute to the soldiers that died during WWII, particularly those that gave their lives at Operation Market Garden.

Next we coasted down a large hill into the town of Gulpen - where they make the popular Gulpener Pilsner. We stopped for lunch at a local cafe and enjoyed mustard soup (a regional specialty), a melon and parmaham salad, and Gulpener Pilsner.

Next we climbed - and I mean climbed - out of Gulpen and headed to Valkenburg. On the way we took a little detour off-road to ride by the Oud Valkenburg Castle.

The town was too touristy for us - their was chintzy swag being sold on every corner - so we only stopped long enough to try Leeuw Pilsner - another local beer.

We got back to Maastricht just before the store hit and were treated to a view of complete double rainbows over the Maas River. How often does that happen?

We were exhausted after the ride and hung out in the boat's bar watching The Netherlands beat Scotland 3-0 in the a World Cup qualifier and playing Scrabble. It was a great day in Limburg.

You can see the rest of the pictures from the day here.

1 comment:

American in Norway said...

So fun! I would love to bike through a few countries...(better start training) Love the photos! Thanks for sharing!