Nordkap - Zürich

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Starting in Alta (no) June 16. 2008. Arrived in Bremgarten (ch) 01.August 2008.


The airline "SAS" drops me in Alta (Norway) on the airfield at midnight.
It is a very impressive experience assembling my bike during midnight and setting up the tent under sunshine one hour later.
Unfortunately, I break the tent pole. Such a "shit" on the first day and in de middle of nowhere. As I recovered and calm down after the shock I realize, that it could have been much worse. The inner diameter of the tent pole corresponds exactly to that of the tent peg. I remove the head of the tent peg and put it half into the tent pole and fix it together, it works beautifully.

retrospective view on Alta

many many rivers

from Alta to the North Cape are 250 Km.

The mountains are still covered with snow

Day 1: Mo. 16.06.08. From Alta to Russenes:
Kilometre. 116.36
Height, meters 999
Temp 13 º
Passing villages: Alta, Skaidi, Russenes on the E6

Alta to Karasjok E6

Ideal for fiching and skiing

Either river or lake

the first reindeers

Mitch with his Trolley

snow melting

A few kilometres after Alta, I have to cycle to a plateau with a 7% degree to a level of 250 meters. The next 80 kilometres are up and down.
The small villages are sparse. In one of them is a small food shop, the opportunity for an interim board.
I meet Mitch, a Norwegian. He pushes a trolley with his backpack on it. He started at the North Cape. In Alta he will exchange the trolley for a pair of skis to go cross-county skiing over the Mountains which are still covered with snow to the southernmost point of Norway. In Skaidi I'm back at sea level. I have lunch, buy food for dinner and breakfast and start the way to the next plateau. The vegetation is barren, the only trees are birches, but look more like a kind of shrub. After a while I meet a Belgian cyclist. We have the same bike but his is from a different alloy, a Koga-Miyata-Randonneur. He is sponsored by Koga, that's why his itinerary is on the website of Koga and not on his private one.

http://picasaweb.google.be/kogapata http://www.europafietser.iweb.be/nl/index.html

I encounter two young Norwegian women. They cycle from top to the bottom of Norway. It will be a long an exhausting way along many Fjords.
In Olderfjord, I leave the E6 and begin with the E 69. From here there is only one road to the North Cape, so I have to cycle the same way back in a few days.

to work fur

the Belgian Ewan

Day 2: Tu. 17.06.08. From Russenes to Skipfjorden (north of Honnigsvag) E 69
Kilometre. 105.03 = total 221.39
Altitude 671 = total 1670
Temp 13 º
Along the lake of Porsangen on the E 69 with 5 tunnels.

tandem riders from Andelfingen (ch)

draying fish


coulored houses

wooden frame to dray fish

even in blue

I see wooden racks for drying fish along the lakeside. There is a fine net over the racks to protect the fish from birds. While I take a picture I see a tandem coming closer. It turns out that the couple comes from Andelfingen (CH). They started cycling in Switzerland and have nearly reached their goal, the North Cape. The way back to Switzerland will be by ship and train.
On today's route are 5 tunnels of which the 3rd "Nordkapptunnelen" is the longest one with 6870m. The tunnel connects the Mainland with the isle of Magerøya. 3 kilometres with 7% downhill to the lowest point, then a strenuous 4 Km climb up to 12%. Fortunately, the tunnel has light and even a bicycle trail. I cycle on the road. On the descent I'm too fast to see the holes and bumps on the cycle trail, which is not well illuminated. The approximately 4 km climb has an inlet to take a rest every 100 to 200 meters.
At the end of the tunnel I meet a cyclist from the Czech Republic. He has only one month to go and return, which means he must cycle long distances every day.
I see reindeers everywhere, grazing between the bushes and on the road. Reindeers are the only animals I see. For supper, I can choose between reindeer meat and different kinds of fish.
I Skipfjorden I pitch my tent for the night and pay 130 N. Crowns = € 16.16 I know, Norway is expensive, but to pitch my tent and have a shower for € 16 is too much.

All 5 tunnel on the way to the North Cape (E 69)

Tunnel nr. 2

Tunnel nr. 1

the longest tunnel nr. 3 to the island Mageroya

The shortest Tunnel 4

The last Tunnel 5

Porsanger sea

From the Czech Republic

Day 3: We. 18.06.08. From Skipfjorden to the North Cape and back to Honnigsvåg, E6
Kilometres 74.25 = total 295.64
Altitude 1289 = total 2959
Temp 6 º

there is still some snow

the globe at the North Cape

snow and ice, 6 degrees

the ascent to the plateau, in the background Skipfjorden

Just after Skipfjorden (a few km. north of Honnigsvåg) I climb with 7% to the next plateau at about 300 meters. The temperature dropped to 6 º, the sky is overcast and occasionally there is a little rain. In this area (which has not a few metres flat surface) the temperature is o.k. but I still have to sweat due to ups and downs.
Arriving in North Cape, I see that I am not alone. The cruise ship I have seen yesterday in Honnigsvåg at anchorage comes from Italy. Passengers are transported by busses to the Cape speaking Italian, even via loudspeaker.
The entrance fee into the residence building is 200 N. Crowns = € 23.70, but free for cyclists. The caravan or tent can be put for free 48 hours. Inside the building there is a huge stage with a curtain. Here you can have a good time because there are served all sorts of delicacies. At midnight, the curtain goes up and you can watch the sun above the horizon slowly rising.
Suddenly I hear a child say to his mother "Mamma mamma, guarda guarda, neve neve." Everyone flocks out, romps around in the snow and people take pictures like if taking photographs would soon be prohibited.
Back in Honnigsvåg, I put my bike against the wall of a restaurant and go to dinner. A couple come to me and say, "you must be the cyclist, we have seen your bike outside". They are also making a bike holiday and would be delighted if we eat together. They are from Oregon (USA) and this year cycling in Scandinavian. They have been also biking many times in Europe, even in Switzerland.

from Hoodriver Oregon (USA)

even the churches are made of wood

Wild camping has its charm

Day 4: Th. 19.06.08. From Honnigsvåg to Lakselv (about 30 Km before Lakselv)
Kilometres 125.76 = total 421.4
Altitude 813 = total 3772
Temp 13 º
Along the E 69 to Oldersfjorden from there on the E6 direction Lakselv.

barren landscape with lots of lakes

I have asked some cyclists where they camp. Until now, all said they are camping in the wild (stealth camping). I have never tried but would like to do it.
In Norway, Finland and Sweden it is allowed, it is only forbidden from Denmark on southwards. Yesterday evening, I found a covered place to pitch my tent near an abandoned factory. The sky was overcast with thick clouds. You never know!! I do not think it rained last night, everything is dry even the puddles are empty.
I now go the same route I cycled 2 days ago but in the opposite direction, strangely it looks different.
In Oldersfjorden (transition from E6 to E96), it is time for dinner, I can choose between salmon and reindeer meat.
I go to the supermarket to buy something to drink and eat. It is good to have enough because between a shops or Supermarket a distance of 50 to 60 Km. is common. Sometimes, I encounter a car on the E6 or a herd of reindeers. It is a beautiful quiet road.
After supper I cycle for a while direction Lakselv because it is too early to sleep.
When lying in my tent, trying to sleep, I hear "tap tap tap", I open the zipper of my tent and see how a herd of reindeers cross the street and pass my tent. They have pretty hard hooves, as it sounds loud when their feet touch the asphalt.

wigwam in Norway

the buds get open

one of the many lakes

Day 5: Fr. 20.06.08. 30 Km. before Lakselv to the border Norway / Finland
Kilometres 128.15 = total 549.55
Altitude 807 = total 4579
Temperature 13 º
E 6 Lakselv, Prosangmoen, Luostejok, Nattvatn, Karasjok, border No / Fi.

the river flows toward Karasjok

family Hodler in Karasjok

border Norway / Finland

The countryside where I cycle through, are not actual villages but only a few farms strewn over.
The next 30 Km. to Lakselv I make fine progress due to tailwind. I take a breather and have second breakfast.
A few days after starting with a new itinerary, I eat much more than at home. My body needs calories. I eat much between meals like fruit, chocolate and other kind of sweets.
In Lakselv the E6 turns into a right angle to the south. The next 75 Km. to Karasjok are absolutely nothing but nature.
Karasjok is the capital of the Norwegian Sami. If you want to read about the Sami, you can click here.


In Karasjok, I have supper and put my bike in front of a restaurant. I order my dinner and take a large, alcohol-free, bottle of beer (I want to cycle for a while after dinner) Sometimes thirst is larger than hunger.
A couple enter the restaurant and speaks to me in Swiss dialect. They have seen the Swiss sticker on my bike. I have Robert and Margrit Hodlers of Switzerland in company and we have a nice chat.
After dinner I cycle the next 20 km to the Norwegian / Finnish border to call it a day.

Take stock of Norway:
Total Kilometres: 550
Total altitude : 4579
Temperature 6º - 13º

Little traffic.
Well-maintained asphalt roads.
Well developed tunnel, illuminated and even some cycle paths.
Always up or down, almost never flat.


Day 6: Sa. 21.06.08. Border (no/fi) to Inari (Solstice)
Kilometres. 106.71 = total 656.71
Altitude 694 = total 5273
Temperature from 13 º to 20 º
Stations: E 92, Kaamanen, Inari

I see more and more pine trees

up and down and candle straith

between the border and Inari

again and again reindeers

lakes and forest that is finland


The village on the border to Finland is called Karigasniemi. 70 km away is Kaamanen the nearest village with shopping opportunity.
My biological clock wakes me up punctually at 06.00h. I have breakfast in the tent and start 07.30h on a street which looks like a Chinese dragon or an up and down lane. I sometimes see the next 2-3 peaks in front of me and so on until Kaamanen.
On a picnic area somewhere between the border and Kaamanen I take a breather. On my cycle computer I see that the temperature has been raised from 13º this morning to 20 º. I talk with a Dutch couple and mention the sudden rise in temperature. He went to his car and confirmed that his indicator stands at 20º as well. (ater all it is solstice today) After half an hour I'm surprised by a massive thunderstorm. I put on my poncho, sit on the floor and let the rain run over my poncho. It takes only 5 to 10 minutes for the rain to stop.
During the afternoon the wind changes from north to south, that means headwind, but the landscape gets flatter. I cycle along many lakes and rivers but hardly no kilometre without water on the right or left side.
My dinner in Inari consists of two different varieties of fish with potatoes. It looks that potatoes are stapled food in Finland. I like them in all shapes, either boiled, fried or mashed.

Day 7: Su. 22.06.08. Inari - Vuotso
Kilometre 113.38 = total 770.09
Altitude 645 = total 5918
Temperature 20 º
E 75 - E 4 Ivalo, Torma, Saariselka, Kakslauttanen.

a Bavarian from the Isar

to whom belong these animals?

to from Helsinki

growing only a short time but very lush

fortunately, these aren't bulls

After 40 Km I reach Ivalo, a slightly larger city. Although it is Sunday, the supermarket with restaurant is open. I cycle along a river further south, slowly but steadily up just before Saariselkä, a hill with a water division point. To the north, the water flow direction Barents Sea, to the south, into the Gulf of Bothnia. On the hill I meet Herbert from Bavaria. He has started from his hometown at the Isar and will soon reach the North Cape.
The next cyclists I meet are a young couple from Helsinki. It is their first cycle trip and they are enthusiastic.
On Sundays everything is closed in Vuotso even the restaurant.
Fortunately, I have bought enough food to survive.

the rain is usually short but fierce

Inari with lake called Inarijarvi

Day 8: Mo. 23.06.08 Vuotso - Sodankylä
Kilometre 116.03 = total 886.12
Altitude 244 = total 6162
Temperature 18 º
E 75 - E4 Petkula.

Rahel und Jürg are cycling for 2 yeas

picnic area and maintenance the chain

from Piemond with unusual luggage

pitching my tent is best at a sea or river

The landscape is flat but the headwind stronger. As a second breakfast I take rolled up pancakes with bilberry, jelly and whipped cream on top, in a Finnish round hut.
During the morning I encounter a cyclist from Helsinki. He tells me that between the middle and end of June, the cold north winds change to warm south wind. The heat awakes the mosquitoes and become a real plague. As long as I cycle everything is OK, but after 2 minutes standing still, there they are, continually whirl up round my head. Luckily, I bought a mosquito net at home and put it over my helmet. I wear long bicycle trousers, top with long sleeves and gloves.
In Sodankyla a couple speaks to me in Swiss German dialect. They have seen a sticker on my bike. Their names are Rahel and Jürg from Switzerland. They cycle since 2 years around the world and have visited all continents. Of course, they also have a website from their bike trips. It is very interesting to have a look at.


Now it is time to clean my chain with a "degreaser" and lubricate it. Why didn't I do it sooner? It cycles much better. After dinner the wind is les strong so I cycle for a few more hours.
From far away, I see a cyclist coming from the south. It is an Italian from Piemond. He came via the Baltic States to Finland and will soon achieve his goal, the North Cape.
Today the display of my bicycle computer shows the first 1000 kilometres.

Day 9: Tu. 24.06.08. Sodankylä to Rovaniemi (capital of Lapland)
Kilometre 127.36 = total 1013.48
Height 455 = total 6617
Temperature 18 º
Torvinen, Korvala, Vikajävi.

the first farm with sheep

Arctic Circle

would the road ditches always be like these

The landscape is changing more and more. The Birches "shrubs" from the North Cape with tender buds are here real trees with leaves. The forests are now mainly from conifers.
8 km before Rovaniemi, I reach the Arctic Circle. I see a giant parking lot with countless buses. There is also the workshop of Santa Claus at the Arctic Circle. Everything here has to do with Santa Claus. A huge media hype. There are even 2 mailboxes. One for each day and one to send a card which recipients get on x-mass Day. At the Arctic Circle, a German tourist ask to stay on the stroke on the ground, he would like take a photo. Suddenly it looks as if I'm the sensation of the day and everybody wants to take a picture.

Here is a page on the Arctic Circle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_Circle

the Arctic Circle strip

who many km according to where?

the Santa Claus house

Day 10: We. 25.06.08. Rovaniemi to Kemi at the Gulf of Bothnia.
Kilometre 112.38 = total 1125.86
Altitude 185 = total 6802
Temperature 12 º
Muurola, Petääskoski, from Tervola on, left of the river Kemijoki (956)

ealy in the morning it is still a bit wet but fortunately not for long

Thomas came from Germany via Russia to Kemi

in the country, the farms are scarrered everywhere

Today, the wind is strong and I come along slowly. During the morning it's raining a little, but it stops soon. I change the side of the river at Tervola from the right (E75-E4) to the left side (956) of the river Kemijoki, because close to Kemi the road changes to a highway and is closed for bicycles. At 18:00 I arrive at the campsite in Kemi on the Gulf of Bothnia.
I can use the washing machine. Unfortunately the washing liquid doesn't get out of the laundry so I have to do it by hand. In the morning it is still wet and feels soapy. I wrap them in a plastic bag and hope to find a better washing machine in Oulu.

church in Tervola

the Finnish cows

Day 11: Th. 26.06.08 Kemi to Oulu
Kilometre 113.89 = total 1239.75
Altitude 118 = total 6920
Kuivaniemi, Olhava, Haukipudas, Oulu

the emblem of Oulu

endles good biking trails

tent to dry in the sum

Not nice cycling weather today, all-day rain in all nuances. In Oulu I enter a 4-star campsite for € 14 with everything, included Internet access, washer, dryer and a large dryer in the form of a refrigerator where I put in everything that has become wet, even the outdoor tent.
When setting up the tent, I drop my mobile phone and it is ruined. Fortunately I'm in a big city. (6th largest city with 130,000 inhabitants) Probably I have to buy a new one.
In the living room people are watching the Europe football championship match Spain -? A young man next to me is Spanish, but speaks perfectly German (his mother is German). He makes a Finland-tour with his bike.

the harvest is in full swing

giant bike

Day 12: Fr. 27.06.08 Oulu to Raahe
Kilometre 110.18 = total 1349.93
Altitude 140 = total 7060
Kempele, Liminka, Revonlahti, Raahe

fishing or canoeing, both is great

lunch break in Kokkola

usual €60

magnificently to bathe

Lupine clump in the wild

the E 8 with extra biking trails

I'm surprised at the many bicycle paths in Oulu and the surrounding area. On the computer I find out that Oulu was awarded for its cycle paths. 200 Km. biking trails exist in and around Oulu.
First, I search for a mobile phone shop in the city with success. I have to buy a new one. The chip is replaced and everything is as before. I'm happy I did not loose al stored data. Unfortunately, the instructions are only in Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish. SMS and phone calls work like my old cell phone. What do I need more?
In Liminka I have to decide whether I cycle through the inland of Finland with its many lakes to Helsinki, or along the Gulf of Bothnia to Turku. The memory of the many mosquitoes in Lapland makes everything clear. I take the itinerary along the Gulf of Bothnia, with the hope that the mosquitoes do not like saltwater.

Punkers with car

what lies on the ground?

do you know a better place to camp?

Day 13: Sa. 28.06.08 Raahe to Kokkola (Pedersöre)
Kilometre 142.09 = total 1492.02
Altitude 190 = total 7250
Pyhäjoki, Kalajoki, Kokkola, (Pedersöre)

lunch and "sightseeing"

there are no paths to the huts

Vaasa, I don't find it cosy

My compliment to the Finns for the many bicycle paths along the E8 and if there are none, the street has a wide margin strip.
The weather is getting better and my poncho wanders deeper and deeper into the luggage bag.
In Kokkola I order a cup of chocolate milk and get a portion of whipped cream on top. I don't have to pay the waiter is also a passionate biker and offers me the drink. When she has time, she comes over to me and talks about bike trips she did.
In the evening I see a wonderful and very quiet lake. It is still 20 º and before I set up my tent, I swim a few laps, soap myself with shower gel and do another few laps in nudist costume. Then I let myself dry in the sun. (The sun is still uo) The water is very clear and the beach consists of fine sand.

Day 14: Su. 29.06.08 Kokkola to Pörtom
Kilometre 137.89 = total 1629.91
Altitude 311 = total 7561
Temperature 18 º
E 8 via Oravais, Vaasa, Pörtom


greenhouses up here are certainly important


Changing clouds but no rain today, I cycle along on a super-smooth road. At noon I have a lunch break in Oravais.
Along the coast from Kokkola to Turku, up to 60% of the population speaks Swedish. That's what the waiter told me yesterday. It must be true what she told me as the signboards are written in both languages, but first Swedish and then Finnish. I am amazed how many people speak so well English. Just after World War 2, young people had to learn English at school, even in my generation the Scandinavian people speak English.
Vaasa is disappointing. Not a cosy city. It is almost deserted presumably it is too cold to sit outdoor on a terrace.
In Pörtom I have dinner in a petrol station restaurant. The nearest campground is ca.50 Km. away therefore I ask the hostess if I can put up my tent on the lawn along the parking lot "of course you can" she says. Now my tent stands beside the big trucks on the edge of the parking lot.



Day 15: Mo. 30.06.08. Pörtom to Rauma
Kilometre 130.27 = total 1760.18
Altitude 240 = total 7801
Kristinestad, Tuorila, Pori, Rauma.

restaurant in Kristinestad

tree trunks stacked endlessly

The trucks start running at 06.30, the right time to get up. After breakfast, I go to the toilet for shaving, brushing my teeth and washing.
Before I leave I clean the chain of my bike.
10 Km before Kristinestad I leave the E8 to visit the city and have lunch. First I go to the post Office to send back the winter clothes, the temperatures are 18 º in the morning and 22 º in the afternoon. I haven't seen mosquitoes since Lapland, so I don't need them further. They ask € 32 = Swiss Fr. 52 to send it to Switzerland. For that much money I can buy almost new ones. I will deposit the winter clothes in Holland at my sister's.
In the evening a thunderstorm is on the way. The clouds are getting darker and thicker. I cycle along a peasant settlement. In the big barn I see a farmer. I ask her if it is allowed to set up my tent in the barn. Her reply is, of course. I start to set up my tent, then she comes over and says, I have a better idea, we have a small house with a bed, you can use it. It is one of those little red cottages I have seen so many times. It is a one room house with a bed, a table with 4 chairs and a wardrobe. Just inside, it starts pouring outside.

cannal in Rauma

townhous in Rauma

barn to set up my tent

Day 16: Tu. 01.07.08 Rauma to Turku
Kilometre 181.78 = total 1941.96
Altitude 455 = total 8256
Laitila, Mynemäki, Raisio, Turku

on the way to Turku

selfportrainat picnic

church of Mynamaki houses and barns scattered everywhere

My hostess doesn't take money for the night.
I have nothing to pack, except my sleeping bag. I leave 7 o'clock direction Pori.
In the tourist information I get the schedule and prices for the ferry crossing, from Turku to Stockholm, € 29. The lady tells me, the city Rauma is worth to visit. It is even registered as a cultural heritage.
After a lunch break in Rauma the wind changes direction, the first time tailwind since Lapland. Without great effort I reach 35 km/h
In Turku I inquire where I can check-in tomorrow.

Take stock of Finland:
Kilometres 1388
Altitude 3133
Temperature 18 º to 20 º
Good and many bike paths.
From Norway until Sodankylä pretty up and down, then flat.
Many mosquitoes until Kemi but along the Gulf of Bothnia not anymore.
Food: everywhere you can get for € 8 to € 10 an open buffet. It consists of 2 plates. The first plate is fish or meat with vegetable and mashed or boiled potatoes, sometimes rice or pasta. The 2nd plate is a mixed salad. Dessert and coffee is included.
Language: Almost everyone speaks English. The youth, for my ears perfect and the older generation very good.
The wind: Mostly headwind. As I was told, in winter north, and from mid-June on, south wind


Day 17: We. 02.07.08. With the ferry from Turku to Stockholm via the Åland Islands.
Kilometre 8.38 = total 1950.34
Altitude 25 = total 8281

12 hours Viking Line

along hundreds of small islands

At 6 o'clock I leave the night place and go to the ferry. Day crossing is from 08.45 to 21.00. There is also a night ferry. A cyclist which I've met recommended the day crossing because it is a fantastic journey. From the 12 hour crossing only 2 are on open sea, otherwise always along small islands. In Mariehamn on the Åland Islands is a stop.
On the ferry I talk with a Dutch family doing day trips with their bikes. I get the "Rough Guide" from Scandinavia to browse. I write some addresses e.g. from the youth hostel in Stockholm.
In Stockholm I ask a young man with a bike whether he knows the youth hostel, he says, follow me, I will guide you there.

12 hours on the "Viking Line" along hundreds of small islands

Day 18: Th. 03.07.08 Stockholm to Gnesta
Kilometre 87.63 = total 2037.97
Altitude 481 = total 8762
Södertälje, Järna, Gnesta

biking trails through the city

a decorated street



several buildings in Stockholm


I have breakfast in the hostel and start cycling through Stockholm. Before leaving I get a map from the city, and a few tips of what is important to see. First the "City Centre" then the "Old Town", that way I cycle 15 km through Stockholm from one building attraction to another, the city is made for cycling, almost through the whole city I use the bike paths.
I change as many € for Swedish crowns as I think should be sufficient. Only valuable items are accepted in €, smaller things like coffee or sweets you have to pay with Swedish crowns.
It is lunchtime as I leave Stockholm. It is not easy to leave the city with a bike (too many highways and expressways) and have to ask many times which way to go. They know it only by car.
In Södertälje I go to the library to send a mail. It is either free or only 1 €.
I cycle until Gnesta to pitch my tent on a freshly cut lawn at a gas station.

the opera from Stockholm

Franchman from the area of Nice

nature reserve in Mölnbo

church and cementery before Gnesta

a gas station res stop


Day 19: Fr. 04.07.08. Gnesta to Askersby
Kilometre 124.56 = total 2162.53
Altitude 538 = total 9300
Stjarnhov, Flenn, Katerineholm, Vingåker, Askerby.

every a few miles a lake

to go for a swim

hilly landscape

Whether it's my biological clock or the sun but I am awake at 06.00, and 07.30h I start a new day. Today I cycle through a very diverse area, sometimes a lake on the right side sometimes on the left. The well-built road goes up and down, only 10 to 20 meters. If I cycle fast enough I can reach the next summit without changing my gear. It is becoming a game to estimate if I reach the next top.
Around noon I come to a lake where some families have already had a bath. It is tempting to swim a few rounds and why not, it is summer holiday.
I get in time to Flens to join the buffet. Coffee is free refill, like in the USA.
I get into conversation with two paramedics I meet in Katrineholm. They have a similar health care system as in Switzerland. A medic and a chauffeur drive to the accident scene. If it looks bad, they can request the anaesthesia. They tell me that it is not possible to get to Mariestad by bike. The E-20 is part of the highway and there is no alternative for a bike. Tomorrow I have to change my plan and will take the way along the "Vattern Lake" to get to Götenborg.
Now I cycle to Lake Hjälmaren to find a place for the night.



whole fiels with flowers

Day 20: Sa. 05.07.08 Askerby to Karlsborg
Kilometre 123.40 = total 2285.93
Altitude 517 = total 9817
Kumia, Askersund, Olshammar, Karl Borg



After about 20 Km. I reach Kumla. In a baker's shop I take my second breakfast and have a further look on my map how.
As from Kumla I have to change my journey. I haven't a reason not to believe what the two paramedics told me yesterday, so I change my planned route now and cycle to Askersund.
In Askersund I buy food in a supermarket for tomorrow, Sunday. I ask a woman about a product. She asked if I speak German. At the cash desk, I stand behind her and hear that she speaks in the Swiss dialect to her husband. They come from Zurich and we have a nice chat.
Between Askersund and Karlsborg I meet an Italian. An Inhabitant of Milan who cycled over the Gotthard and came via Germany and Denmark to Sweden. I can give him some tips on the way to the North and he can give me some of the South.

Lake Vättern


An Italian from Milan

Day 21: Su. 06.07.08. Karlsborg to Vara
Kilometre 114.14 = total 2400.07
Altitude 399 = total 10216
Tibro, Skövde, Skara, Vara


Prähistoric grave (Haelkista)

and a church vis-a-vis

It looks like a rainy day today. I have to pack my tent in a plastic sack, totally wet. After 50 Km I arrive in Skövde. I get used to cycle in the rain. With Poncho and gaiters, I am well protected and don't sweat. But I'm not that enthusiastic to have a sightseeing tour in the rain, instead I look for a restaurant to have lunch.
In the afternoon I reach Skara whose shopping centre is open on Sunday. Here I take a breather and look at my map and see Vara is only 30 km away.
On the way to Vara finally the rain stops. I'm happy to pitch my tent without rain and have time to let it dry.

breather in Skara

Picnic table and tent to dry

Day 22: Mo. 07.07.08. Vara to Gothenburg (Frederikshavn)
Kilometre 132.80 = total 2532.87
Altitude 437 = total 10653
Vårgårda, Alingsås, Lerum, Gothenburg.

Göteborg channel

Göteborg from the ferry

Göteborg - Fredrikshavn

I'm glad it doesn't rain. With tailwind and increasing sunshine my mood is rising. Around noon I arrive Alingsås where the sun is shining. I take the opportunity to dry everything that got wet during the rain yesterday.
In Alingsås the highway begins, I have to find out where the old road to Götenborg is, now ideal for cycling.
In Götenborg I make a sightseeing tour with my bike and cycle along the canal to the harbour.
At the ticket counter I buy a ticket to Fredrikshavn. In 15 minutes the ferry leaves for Fredrikshavn. As soon as I'm on board, the hatches are closed, and the ferry takes off.
After 2 hours I enter a new country, Denmark I have never been there and I'm very keen to see it.

Take stock of Sweden:
Days 6
Kilometre 562
Altitude 2377
From Stockholm to Gothenburg, across southern Sweden. It is a lot hillier than along the Gulf of Bothnia.
The streets: Very good like in Norway and Finland, but less biking trails.
The food: As in Finland, mostly open buffet for € 8 to € 10
Language: Second language is English. Most people speak English
Weather: Several days of rain and wind from the west


Day 23: Tu. 08.07.08. Frederikshavn to Gunderup (10 Km after Ålborg)
Kilometre 69.82 =total 2602.69
Altitude 247 =total 10900
Saeby, Frauenskjold, Hjallerup, Ålborg, Gunderup.

Powder Tower 1686-1690 Frederikshavn. Was formerlyon on a spit of land 100 m into the sea.
called "Knudtornet"

On the country direction Alborg

Potato field, the main food in Skandinavien

On the countryside in the north of Denmark

some buildings witch should give the impression of the city Ålborg

The landscape is noticeable different than in Sweden. The hills are gentle, the houses smaller, only parterre with a roof.
The E180 has many biking trails and is barely used, because the E45 highway runs parallel.
I would like to take a break with coffee and cake, but first I have to buy Danish crowns. Vis a Vis is a confectioner's shop who offers coffee too. I noticed that the grain fields look different and ask the baker's wife whether there is a different variety. She says, in spring-- it was too dry, the corn could not properly grow and now when it should rip, it's too wet, a very bad harvest can be expected.
In the next village, I pass on an indoor swimming pool. For 1 € I can take a shower. In the same village I find a "Launderette" (laundry), it is time to wash my clothes.
I'm pleasantly surprised of Ålborg. The city has many beautiful half-timbered buildings. In the library I have a look on the computer for mails and send some. Time passes so quick that I leave Ålborg at 18:00. After 10 kilometres I come across a petrol station with plenty of surrounding property. I ask the owner if it is allowed to pitch my tent here. That is Ok for him.

typical landscape in Denmark

the churches consist of 3 parts

the ever "come across" wind turbines

Hadsund on Mariager Fjord

Day 24: We. 09.07.08. Gunderup to Nykøbing (Sjaelland)
Kilometre 124.31 = total 2727.00
Altitude 713 = total 11613
Hadsund, Randers, Aarhus, with the ferry to the island of Sjaelland. (Odde)


the town of Randers with monument


farms on the way to Århus

Last night it rained, but the sun awakes me. The gas station is already open and I suppose they offer a warm cup of chocolate milk.
After 30 Km I arrive in Hadsund where I take a break in a park with view to a lake and a long bridge, let the tent dry in the sun and have a second breakfast. A couple passes by is very interested in my journey they say. If you need something, our apartment is at your disposal, e.g. you can take a shower if you like. (Do I look like I need one? Only yesterday I had a shower!). I think it is very generous but I will continue my journey.
The next town is Randers, again a gem. It's time for an afternoon "cup of tea." To look for a restaurant is not necessary in the pedestrian area are plenty of opportunities. Everywhere are tables and chairs, one restaurant after another.
I know that the ferry from Åarhus to Odde leaves at 18:00, time enough to explore Åarhus centre town.
When I leave the ferry in Odde the sky is cloudless, a beautiful summer evening. To cycle the headland from Ode to Nykøbing is a dream. Sometimes I can see on both sides of the headland the sea.
In Nykøbing I can pitch my tent on a farm.

Day 25: Th. 10.07.08 Nykøbing to Charlottenlund (Copenhagen)
Kilometre 88.10 = total 2815.10
Altitude 311 = total 11924
Whith the ferry from Røvig to Hundested, Frederiksværk, Skaevinge, Uvelse, Lynge, Farum, Charlottenlund.

a wonderful evening on the headland

"Sjaellands Odde"


picnic spot

country headland Odde

I intended to cycle southwards along the Iselfjord Jaegerspris but it's not allowed to cycle on the E 21, but many roads lead to Rome. I take the detour north of the sea. It includes a trip with a ferry from Røvig to Hundested. For the 25 minutes crossing I have to pay € 7.60
Leaving the ferry I meet a man who is interested in my journey. I ask which way to take to Kopenhagen and he underlines all small hamlets on my map which I should follow. He assured me that this is the best and quietest way to go to Copenhagen. I haven't reason not to believe him. I cycle through a beautiful area with almost no traffic.
In Sangerup I meet a passionate cyclist. She tells me where I can eat best, and the coffee is for free.
The campground of Charlottenlund is 7 Km north of the centre of Copenhagen. It is an old fortress with 8 cannons, aimed towards the lake. Luckily I approach the fortress by bike and not by ship.

overnight stay on a farm

the headland in the evening sun

gently hilly country all the way along

cosy cottage

on the country almost all the roofs are made of straw

the port of Røvig taken from the ferry

Day 26: Fr. 11.07.08. Copenhagen to Vordingborg.
Kilometre 97.61 = total 2912.71
Altitude 261 = total 12185
The National Highway 151 via Køge Rønnede, Ørslev, Vordingborg.

Charlottenlund fortress with 8 cannons

bicycle in a different design

the Little Mermaid

changing of the guard


old stock exchange and Christiansborg

city of Kopenhagen

To get to the mermaid it is only 7 km. and a bit further is the centre of Copenhagen. I just arrive in time to see the changing of the guards
The very large Frederik Church is an impressive copy of the St. Peter church in Rome. Started to be build in 1740 and due to lack of money it was not ready until 1894.
In the afternoon I leave Copenhagen and cycle along the Køge bay on the 151.
The wind is so strong and unpleasant that I pause.
Towards evening, when the wind has settled, I continue. Denmark is an ideal country for cycling, it amazes me that I don't see any tour riders.

on the country from

Copenhagen to Køge

the town Køge

and its environs

a peaceful landscape

the 2 to 3 km long bridge across the Storstrømmen

Day 27: Sa. 12.07.08. Vordingborg, via Rødby, and Puttgarden, to Heiligenhafen (Germany)
Kilometre 105.55 = total 3018.26
Altitude 275 = total 12460
Sakskøbing, Rødby, Puttgarden, Fehmarn Bridge, Heiligenhafen.

Guldborg Bridge

Sakskøbing, lunch in a cosy Atmosphere

here are windmills reasonable

a canadian couple cycling to Copenhagen

Soooo strong is the Wind

The bridge over Storstrømmen is 2 km. long. After about 10 km, I cycle over the second bridge to the next island.
Shortly before Rødby I meet a Canadian couple, which started in Amsterdam and cycling to Copenhagen.
The ferry from Rødby to Puttgarden needs 45 minutes and costs € 14.

Bye bye Scandinavia, Germany hello.

Another 23 km. later I reach the Fehmarnbridge. On the west side there is a cycle path but is prohibited for cyclists, because the railing is too deep (saddle height) with strong side wind, it is possible to fall over the railing.
In Heiligenhafen is a celebration, so many people are in the city.
For me it is time to look for a place to stay.

Take stock of Denmark:
Days 5
Kilometres 480
Altitude 1753
Denmark has slightly more gentle hills and smaller houses than Sweden, ground floor with a roof.
It is an ideal country for cycling.
The larger cities such as Ålborg, Arhus and Copenhagen, are very beautiful with many half-timbered buildings.
The streets are maintained very well like in all Scandinavian countries. They have many biking trails which are well signposted.

Bye bye Skandinavien, hallo Germany.


the port of Heiligenhafen. to find your sailing goat is not that easy


Day 28: Su. 13.07.08 Heiligenhafen to Kellinghusen.
Kilometre 123.31 = total 3141.57
Altitude 328 = total 12788
Oldenburg. Lütjenburg, Plön, Neumünster Kellinghusen.

Moon and Grain field

square in Lütjenburg

a big farm, a smal Kingdom

Holstein Switzerland is a bit hilly

even the storehouse has a straw roof

I leave Heiligenhafen this Sunday morning on quiet roads via Oldenburg to Lütjenburg. Like nearly every town, Oldenburg has a large square with terraces, whose chairs and tables are not yet installed on this early morning.
They tell me Lütjenburg is more beautiful, which is only 20 km away. It lies on a hill but not a very high one.
Arriving in Lütjenburg, I see many people on terraces at the market square, enjoying a cup of coffee in the sun. 5 Cyclists are back from a Sunday trip, they take a seat at a table next to me. They are very interested in my bike journey.
The roads to Plön are going up and down. Perhaps that is why they call it Holsteinish Switzerland.
A city on a lake always holds a particular attraction, like Plön, where I have my lunch break.
In the late afternoon I arrive in Neumünster where a festival takes place. Market people are tidying up their booths. There are many people from the surrounding, a flock of sightseers.
On the way to Itzehoe I ask a young woman with a bike which way I have to go. She says that she also goes in this direction and we go up together to Kellinghusen. On a large place is a theatre performance. We can watch the play from a terrace. At the end of the play it is too late, so Itzehoe has to wait for tomorrow.

church portal and window-shopping street in Plön

town hall of Neumünster

countless windmills here in Schleswig-Holstein

half-timber house near Kellinghusen

Day 29: Mo. 14.07.08. Kellinghusen to Zeven.
Kilometre 112.23 = total 3253.80
Altitude 151 = total 12939
Glückstadt, Stade, Harsefeld, Zeven.

house on a canal

he shows me how his weelchair is rebuild to a bike

country life

I avoid the city and circumvent Itzehoe southwards. I get in a power-down rain of about 10 minutes. Continuing through small villages with little traffic, I cycle cross-country direction Glückstadt, a city at the Elbe with a ferry to Wischhafen.
The rain has stopped but the wind increase. Fortunately I have to change direction, South-East. Now at last I have tailwind until Stade, again a gem of town. Not only the town, even the weather get photogenic.
I follow the German Fachwerkstrasse (half-timbered houses street) from Stade via Harsfeld to Zeven.

the fish market in Stade with the crane

Day 30: Tuesday 15.07.08. Zeven to Bremen (Dünsen)
Kilometre 90.57 = Total 3344.37
Altitude 106 = Total 13045
Stations: Lilienthal, Bremen, Heiligenrode, Dünsen.

a beautiful half-timbered farm house

I'm still in Germany?

I go into the library in Zeven to have a look for mails. I wrote an e-mail to a friend in Bremen telling that I am already in Germany. She had invited me to drop in on the way from the North Cape. I know her from a cycle tour a few years ago, the Camino de Santiago, since then we stay in contact with mails and postcards. I find out that she takes part of the "4 days march of Nijmegen" in the Netherlands, which takes place this week.
I go instead directly into the centre of Bremen.
It is amazing how well the city is rebuilt. Bremen was, like most cities in Germany, destroyed by World War II.

For cyclists, it is not so simple to find out the way out of town. Finally I'm on the right track toward Wildeshausen.
It is not raining but the clouds look threatening. In Dünsen I come to a park with a circular hut, about 8 diameter. The ideal place for the Night and I'm sure my tent will be dry tomorrow.

landmark of Bremen, Roland



Bremen city hall

half-timbered houses called "Fachwerstrasse"


Day 31: We. 16.07.08. Dünsen to Emmen (Netherlands)
Kilometre 139.05 = total 3483.42
Altitude 145 = total 13190
Wildeshausen, Cloppenburg, Haren, Emmen.

the market place of Wildeshausen, unfortunately a bit wet

North Germany also has many wind-turbine

beautiful horse with colt or filly

birdge over the Ems

Haren-Rütenbrocker channel

a village named ERIKA

I dress myself according to the weather and leave at 7 o'clock. In Cloppenburg, I see a sign with an indoor pool and decide for swimming. Then I look for a bakery to have the second breakfast.
On my map, I see that the Dutch border is within reach. Via Werlte, Sögel and Lathen I cycle to Ems. I cross the river and ride along the Haren-Rütenbrockerkanal to the border.

I am leaving a beautifull North Germany

and start with a new country

Take stock of Germany:
Days 4
Kilometre 479
Altitude 853
In Puttgarden I start my tour through northern Germany, and in Emmen I reach the Netherlands. First I cycle through hilly "Holsteinish Switzerland" with the many beautiful towns like Lütjenburg and Plön. It is almost a continuation of Denmark. Then it's getting flat as a pancake but not less appealing. The large farms, often half-timbered, and especially the many Biking trails are impressing.


Day 32: Th. 17.07.08. Emmen to Kampen.
Kilometre 99.54 = total 3582.96
Altitude 40 = total 13230
Hoogeveen, Staphorst, Hasselt, Kampen.

their first long cycle-tour

egg-shaped building in Emmen

Typiscal signpost in Holland

Tourriders from Voorhout

National sport in Holland, "Hengelen". angling

a street without cycle-path is rarely found

It is time to do my laundry, but the only laundromat in Emmen is closed due to holidays. I will have a try in the next city, Hoogeveen. At the tourist info I inquire for a Laundromat and the library. The Laundromat is just 100 meters away. I can leave the laundry and pick it up in 1 ½ hour. Time enough for lunch and library to write an e-mail). The laundryman write all the villages I should follow to reach Kampen on a piece of paper.
I encounter a couple of cyclist. They are from Voorhout a neighboring village of my birthplace. They will make an extended tour through Germany. We have been in the same school in Voorhout many years ago and share common memories of schooldays.
Shortly before Kampen I call it a day. It has been a strenuous day with strong headwinds.

the houses in the east of Holland

have mostly

roofs made or straw

a new strow roof is almost finish

mostly just one story

Day 33: Fr. 18.07.08. Kampen to Loosdrecht.
Kilometre 103.54 = total 3686.50
Altitude 65 = total 13295
Elburg, Nunspeet, Harderwijk, Putten, Nijkerk, Hilversum, Loosdrecht.

on the dike


the last carrot was for me

Kampen aan de Ijssel

memorial hall


6 X 100 stands for 600 victims

I cycle about 15 km. over a dyke to Elburg but leave it due the strong wind. Via Nunspeet, I arrive in Harderwijk, a former fishing village on the "Ijsselmeer", a lake which was drained. The re-cultivated country is 2.338 Km² and 365.300 people live on this peace of earth. It became the 12th province of the Netherlands. Left is a narrow strip of water, only a few Km. wide. But fish is still available and I'll have a herring as a starter while the cod is in the frying pan.
In Putten is a memorial from the 2nd World War, it is reminiscent of a terrible event. I see 6 Field with 100 four-sided figures of planted box, 6 times 100 makes 600, each for a human being of Putten sent to a concentration camp. Nobody came back.
In Hilversum I cycle through a beautiful forest with magnificent oaks and beeches.
By 6 o'clock p.m. I enter my brothers house in Loosdrecht.

between Hilversum and Baarn

junior and shopping, everything fits in

5 Gray und 2 White offsprings

Day 34: Sa. 19.07.08. Loosdrecht to Noordwijk aan Zee.
Kilometre 77.02 = total 3763.52
Altitude 66 = total 13361
Breukelen, Nieuwkoop, Alphen, Leiden, Noordwijk.

son Mike

my brother Willi and his wife Ria and

In the garden of this castle lives an artist

I have taken this picture discreetly from behind

a strange feeling to live in this house

each house has its own ship

I have to wait a moment until continuing

Amsterdam-Rijnkanal from Tiel to A'dam

Around noon, I leave Loosdrecht direction Noordwijk. My brother will arrive later by car.
I have calculated to be in Noordwijk between 14:00h. and 15:00h. I have never had such a strong headwind as on this day. Along the "Old Rijn", flat as a pancake without a house or tree, I fight against the storm. (At night I hear the weather forecast; wind strength has been Beauford 7) I arrive in Noordwijk at 17:00h.
Due to joy of seeing my brother and sister again, I soon forget the strenuous battle and hope that the wind will blow a while longer because if I leave the day after tomorrow, I will have tailwind.

here you can see how high the gound water is

My brother can dig only

1 meter until he gets on ground water

forced breather

Leiden "de Zijlpoort"

arrived in Noordwijk

Day 35: and 36: Su. 20, Mo. 21.07.08. Rest days in Noordwijk.
Kilometre 0 = total 3763.52
Altitude 0 = total 13361

Sculptures on the beach

beach in Noordwijk, here I was born and raised

my youngest sister Christel

Since my last visit in Noordwijk things have changed.
The World Climate warming is taken very seriously and government acted. The dunes in Noordwijk have a weak spot when the sea level should increase. Therefore, last year they have begun to strengthen and raise the dunes. The sand has been vacuumed from the sea 20 km. away from the coast with tubes to raise the week spots. In spring they have been finished.
Next year they begin with the neighbouring municipality, Katwijk.

Noordwijk aan zee. here I grew up

Both sisters with children

Day 37: Tuesday 22.07.08 Noordwijk to Oss
Kilometre 151.31 = Total 3914.83
Altitude 40 = Total 13401
Leiden, Alphen, Gouda. Kinderdijk, Gorinchem, Zaltbommel, Oss.

not only temporary but all-year flats

this channel is higher than the pasturen land where the sheep graze on


Windmill "de Valk" in Leiden


it looks like rhubarb but a bit too big leaves

reinforce the dike

a couple from Thüringen

Already 7 O'clock I leave Noordwijk with target Oss.
For the first time after many, many Kilometre I have tailwind and come forward quickly
Now I wish my ears would be larger and pointing out.
I am cycling via Gouda to Kinderdijk (east of Rotterdam)
I come across two cyclists with load up panniers, who are looking at the windmills, of which there are so many. I ask them where they come from, they reply from Moscow. It is the first time I meet cyclists from the east. I am pleased that they have the opportunity to explore the west by bike. From one of them I get a little wooden spoon as a souvenir. Continuing, I encounter a couple from Thuringia. Rotterdam is the end of their Holidays. That means it is there last day.
In Gorinchem I have lunch break. In this city the river Maas, flows in the Rhine (in Holland colled, "de Waal"). The source is 10 km east of Montigny le Roi, France. (Department of Meuse) I have in mind to follow this river until its source.
10 Km east of Gorinchem I take the ferry to follow the river on a dam to Oss.
I arrive in Oss at 18:00h at my sisters house.

this wooden spoon I got it as a souvenir of the two men from Moskau

Kinderdijk with the many Windmills

ferry across the Waal at Herwijnen

Day 38: We. 23.07.08. Rest day in Oss.

3 bicycle 3 Randonneurs von "Koga-miyata"

small but cosy to live in

the whole street is moving upwards

After breakfast we go shopping into the town and come back home in the afternoon. If you haven't seen each other for one year, one day goes too quickly. In the evening her daughter comes for supper and we have much to talk until late in the night.

my sister Marianne with dauther Brigitte

Day 39: Th. 24.07.08. Oss to Roermond.
Kilometre 119.41 = total 4034.24
Altitude 128 = total 13529
Cuijk, Boxmeer, Venlo, Roermond.

on a bridge in Venlo

Street in Roermond

traveling with Bob trailer

the Meuse in Roermond

After breakfast, my sister accompanies me the first 30 Kilometres to Cuijk, where we take a farewell coffee. She goes back, river down and I cycle direction Roermond, river up.
In Venlo, in front of a cactus greenhouse I meet a couple from Germany.
They make a Holland tour. At the entrance, chairs and tables invite for a break. Inside you can get coffee and hence, nothing stops us from taking a break.
She is a botanist. (That's why they stood in front of a greenhouse) They are well equipped with panniers and he has a Bob trailer at the back of his bike.
On the Square in Roermond, almost all the chairs on the terrace are occupied on this sunny day. A group of cyclists invited me for a drink and I must tell about my journey.
At the tourist info they tell me where I find the library and campground. I send a mail to Monique and George in Maastricht. I met them a few years ago in southern France. George has a website too, that's why we stay in contact. They are recently back from the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and he works hard at his travelogue.

Georges und Monique's Homepage:
Klick here

Day 40: Fr. 25.07.08. Roermond to Maastricht.
Kilometre 63 = total 4097.24
Altitude 133 = total 13662
True, Susteren, Sittard, Meersen, Maastricht.



12 Partners in Europe

not easy to find your bike

view of Maastricht mit St. Servaatsbridge

It is not easy to leave Roermond to the south. I can't get to the other side of the road and I have to do a big detour through an industrial area.
I try to cycle as close as possible to the Meuse, but I can't see the river very often.
Early in the afternoon I arrive in Maastricht. I'm welcomed warmly by Monique and George
with coffee and "Limburgse Vlaai" (a Specialty in this area). In the afternoon I get a "guided tour" offered by George. He lives within walking distance to the centre, so the bikes stay at home.
George has built a beautiful gazebo, covered with vine branches. We have a glass of wine on this beautiful evening and soon it is midnight.

St. Servaas church Maastricht

city hall Maastricht

left: the only and oldest city gate in the Netherlands 1299

Vrijthof: go for a stroll on the boulevard of Maastricht

with Monique und George in the gazebo

Take stock of Holland:
Days of cycling 6
Rest days 3
Kilometre 639
Altitude 514 m.
From Emmen to Noordwijk heavy headwind. The last stretch from Alphen to Noordwijk Beauford 7.
Impressive are always the many biking trails. You feel safer on the road and that is probably the reason why cyclists in Holland don't wear a helmet.
"Highlight" was the visit to my brother and sisters and Monique and George in Maastricht.


Day 41: Sa. 26.07.08. Maastricht to Dinant (Be)
Kilometre 134.62 = total 4231.86
Altitude 212 = total 13874
Liège, Huy, Andenne, Namur, Dinant.

boundery nl/be

on the Jokobsweg

ship to sell € 150.000

Liège on the Meuse

such things we have too

still large freighter

I leave Monique and George accompany me the next 30 Kilometre to Liège.
He knows this area best. We take the quietest and most beautiful bike paths, mostly along the Meuse.
On the bridge in Liège we say goodbye and I follow my way up the river to its source.
On the other side of the bridge, I see a bike sign with "Revine". Revine lies on the Meuse, but in France, i.e. I can follow these signs the next 2 days. On the ground of the bridge, I see a scallop made of brass. I'm on the Camino de Santiago for those who come from the north.
Except for the last 15 Km before Dinant and a peace between Liège and Namur I go this route only on bike paths.

bike-paths at least to be marked

I come closer to a different landscape


on the way to Scotland

don't hurry

on the way home to Berlin

the Meuse still fairly wide


Take stock of Belgium:
Days 1 ½
Kilometre 136
Altitude 223
From Maastricht to the French border,it is possible to ride on bicycle paths along the river Meuse. Only one piece, from Liege to Namur, has no bike path. (but marked)
From Maastricht to Namur it is flat.

From Namur on I enter the Ardennes and the scenery gets more beautiful.


Day 42: Su. 27.07.08. Dinant to Charleville-Mezières.
Kilometre 102.41 = total 4334.27
Altitude 358 = total 14232
Givet, Fumay, Revine, Montherme, Charleville-Mezieres.

on the way to Paris (Dinant)

the only sign that confirms I'm in France

back to Noordholland of a tour around France

I oversleep one hour. A Dutch couple next to my tent is ready to leave the campsite for there journey to Paris. We talk a little bit, take photos, and they're gone.
On the way to the border (13 km) I meet another Dutch couple. They cycle home from a tour around France.
Givet is the first city in France and for me time to have a coffee break.
It's a beautiful quiet Sunday and the temperature rises and rises.
Arriving in Charleville-Mezieres, I ask a man for the campground. He says, if I follow him, he will show me the right way. A super campsite with swimming pool restaurant and Internet access, for only € 07.15
I have Dinner with a Dutch/Scottish couple who cycle around Europe. We exchange many stories about cycling.
During dinner is a thunderstorm, it's centre can't be far away, immediately after the lightning is the clap of thunder.

Givet the first town in Frankreich

too shallow for a ship

I have seen a sign of this bike-path in Namur

the National sport "pétanque"

here ships sail again

Day 43: Mo. 28.07.08. Charleville-Mezières to Verdun.
Kilometre 111.31 = total 4445.58
Altitude 710 = total 14942
Sedan, Mouzon, Stenay, Verdun.

In Mouzon the Meuse is deep and wide again


German Cementery 1914 - 1918

a peaceful harvest time

Out of Charlville- Mezieres I cycle on the right side of the Meuse and take the wrong road, which mistake is a strenuous 150 m. uphill. In Sedan I change the riverside. On my map I see a road along the river
The Meuse in Mouzon is noticeably narrower and shallow, impossible for a ship, but a kayak will do.
Since I'm in France, it is summer, 30 º and I have to change my cycle dress a few times.
In Verdun I come across memorials of World War One and on the left side of the road, I see a German cemetery. There are over 11,000 soldiers buried. Not much further is the French cemetery.
The campground at Verdun is obviously in possession of the Dutch, you think you are in Holland.

quiet cource of the Meuse

war monument, in the background the river Meuse. Have they fought about this river?

evening picnic before Verdun

Day 44: Tu. 29.07.08. Verdun to Neufchâteau
Kilometre 118.03 = total 4563.61
Altitude 678 = total 15629
St.Mihiel, Commercy Vaucouleurs Neufchâteau.

to read please click this picture

Franch cementery 1914 - 1918

a variety if wild flowers

from this village came Jeanne D'arc

birth house of Jeanne D'Arc

Birth house

The campground is located on the D 34 with direction Neufchâteau.
I reach St. Mihiel, after 35 kilometers I find a launderette, written "Lavomatic". I get routine with these machines, even in French language I succeed to serve them.
Here in France I can't expect to read something in English and most people don't want or can't speak English. France is the only country from the 9 I cycled through, which I couldn't make myself understand with English.
In the meantime, I go to the "Supermarché" and have a coffee.
After using the tumbler I can fold up my cycle dresses and put them into my panniers.
Shortly before Neufchâteau I encounter two tour cyclists, two young men from Turkey. I have never seen cyclist with load up bicycles from Turkey. They started in Ankara and will travel to Iceland via Bergen (Norway). They also have a website but unfortunately only in the Turkish language.

the Meuse in the village of Jeanne D'Arc

2 globetrotter from Ankara (Türkei)

My cockpit

Day 45: We. 30.07.08. Neufchâteau to Luxeuil-le-Bains.
Kilometre 135.52 = total 4699.13
Altitude 1002 = total 16631
Bourmont, Montigny-le-Roi, Sources de la Meuse in Pouilly, Luxeuil.

started in Tarifa with aim to the North Cape

Watershed, left to the North Sea, right to the Mediterranean

a cyclist from Cologne on tour around France

In this village is the source of the Meuse


Today I will reach the source of the river Meuse. I follow the D74 to Montigny-le-Roi. At this point I meet a German cyclist who started in Tarifa (southern Spain) with destination North Cape.
My food and beverage supplies are on a low point. Unfortunately, arriving in Montigny-le-Roi it is lunch time and all shops are closed.
Now I begin to search the source of the Meuse. 11 Km along the D 417 and then left to Pouilly en Bassigny, where I can find the source outside this village. On a wall with a brass plate is the whole "Meuse" mapped from the source to Chorinchem where it flows into the Rhine (Waal). Under this wall, a small river appears and flows into the village, where I take a photo of the first bridge across this small stream.
I cycle along the D 417 eastwards until I reach the Saone. My water bottles are empty and I want to buy some water. A farmer tells me that the next shop is 15 km away. He fills my 1, ½-liter water bottle with fresh spring water, I'm very grateful to him for that, because it is again a very hot day.
After 15 kilometres, I find out that the alleged shopping opportunity is gone and the next one is 9 Km further. After 9 Km the only shop in this village is closed due Holidays. I cycle until Luxeuil le Bain, the most expensive campground I have been on this journey (€ 16.80)
In the evening I get invited from my camping neighbour for a cup of coffee and a glass of wine.

the first sewage pollution in the young Meuse

the first bridge over the Meuse

course of the Meuse

Typical France village

the source, at the bottom of the wall the water beginns to flow

the Saone, not far away of its source

Day 46: Th. 31.07.08. Luxeuil-le-Bains to Basel
Kilometre 124.72 = total 4823.85
Altitude 848 = total 17479
Lure, Belfort, Altkirch, Basle.

wash house

a lot of half-timbered houses in Alsace

Since the N19 is blocked for bicycles, I cycle from Luxeuil via Lure to Belfort on country roads. From Belfort on I take the D 419th. Somewhere between Belfort and Altkirch I reach the province Alsace with its very beautiful villages whose names end almost all in heim, willer or bach. The villages are strikingly beautiful decorated with flowers and have a lot of half-timbered houses. The older generation still speaks Alsatian.
The street from Altkirch to Basel is very straight and goes up and down, unfortunately there is no cycle path.
Reaching Basel, I look out for "Klein Basel" where my long-time friends Maria and Francesco live. They welcome me warmly.
Tomorrow is the Swiss national holiday. In Basel, the firework is held on the evening before. Eleven p.m. we see the firework from the "Dreirosenbrücke".

from Altkirch up to Basel it goes up and down only

Swiss customs

Take stock of France:
Days 5
Kilometre 564
Altitude 3576
At the border from Belgium to France the summer came. Sometimes the thermometer climbed up to over 37º.
The north-east of France is quite hilly.
Streets are OK but not too many cycle paths.
In France, you need your hands and feet if you don't speak French.

Day 47: Fr. 01.08.08. Basle to Bremgarten
Kilometre 80.42 = Total 4904.27
Altitude 562 = Total 18005
Stations: Basle, Fricktal, Bözberg, Brugg, Mellingen, Bremgarten.

looking from the "Dreirosenbrücke" where tonight's 1st August firework wil take place

I leave Basle at 09.30h. The temperature has gone back somewhat but it is still 20º.
Between Keiseraugst and Rheinfelden, it starts to rain, the last shower on my nearly 5,000 km travel journey.
On the first day of August, all shops are closed even most restaurants. I am pleased to find a bakery in Frick which is open. Here I get a big cup of milky coffee with "croissant".
The last obstacle is the "Bözberg" with 569 meters.
August 01.08., I'm back home at 15.00 p.m.

the last hurdle in Fricktal, the Bözberg

I'm back at the right time. Yesterday evening I have seen the fireworks in Basle, today it is in Bremgarten


back in Bremgarten