Along the Vennbahn

In Maastricht I met up with Eddy, a cycle tourist of the hippy persuasion.  We agreed to cycle the Vennbahn together till one or the other of us decided we wanted to part ways.  He too is doing the trip on a budget, so we spent the nights freedom camping - a new experience for me.  It was interesting to hear his perspective on Belgium.  I didn't know it had only been founded in 1830 and there is still a strong desire amongst many Belgians for the separate French and Flemish speaking regions to have autonomy. He wasn't sure what to do with the German speaking part.

On the first day we cycled from Maastricht towards Aachen, and called it an evening in a town called Vaals just west of Aachen.  As we hadn't found anywhere suitable to set up our tents by nightfall I went to an official campsite for the night, while Eddy found a spot near a local sports ground.

The next morning we headed through Aachen and to the start of the Vennbahn cycle route.  The route starts in Aachen and travels south through Belgium, Germany, and Luxembourg to end in Troivierges.  It is over 125km of off road high quality cycle way, and as a result was very popular over the majority of it's length.  Most of it was sealed, though there were a few stretches of gravel, but these were very high quality and less bumpy than many purpose built cycleways at home.

That night we stopped at a little rest area hut south east of a town called Roetger.  It was an idyllic setting in a forest next to a river.  We set up camp and cooked ourselves some dinner before retiring after a long day.

The next day led us from Roetger to a town south of Waimes that I think was called Bonn. We went through a village called Monshau about lunch time that was a well preserved collection of picturesque half timber buildings and stone buildings.  We ate lunch in the market square and wandered a little till we cycled up and out of the valley. We stopped that night at a very fancy BBQ area just off the cycleway and waited while a man arrived by car and checked the facilities while we ate dinner, hoping he would leave.  Eventually he did and we set up our tents behind the hedge out of view of the cycleway.  We did have a few people come through walking dogs and jogging in the early morning, but they didn't seem to mind we were there.

We cycled onwards to the end of the Vennbahn, stopping just short of Trois Vierges for an early end to the day.  This time the cycleway was so quiet we stopped at one of the rest areas next to the railway tracks, and had plenty of time to cook dinner and watch a number of almost empty trains go past.

The next morning we aimed to cycle towards Trier cycling east to Dasburg and then south to Vianden and then following the river south to Trier. Only a few minutes into it I realised I had a puncture on my back tyre.  *sigh*  To be honest I had expected it earlier.  I replaced the inner tube and we were on our way. At lunch time Eddy decided to go his own way, and I carried on by myself.  A short distance after our lunch location I came to a road closed sign with a diversion route signposted.  Seeing no alternative, I followed the diversion. Unfortunately, I ended up cycling almost to the top of Luxembourg's second highest mountain - wonderful views, but very tired knees!  Ultimately I managed to get to the town we were originally headed for and the start of another off road cycle route to Trier.  I stopped at a campsite just south of Vianden, on the German side of the river.  Oh how good it felt to have a shower!!

This morning I took it easy and waited till my tent dried till I moved on.  I cycled along the river route to stop at another campsite in a town called Born in Luxembourg. The river is the border between Luxembourg and Germany, and it was a novel feeling crossing between the countries so easily.  I had breakfast in Germany, morning tea in Luxembourg, lunch in Germany, and dinner in Luxembourg.

It looks like good weather tomorrow for my final trek into Trier, where I hope to stop for a couple of nights.


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