Introduction page of our cycling trip from the Netherlands to Barcelona. The route we cycled. travelogue + photographs, part 1. travelogue + photographs, part 2. travelogue + photographs, part 3. travelogue + photographs, part 4. What did we think of the trip? Our gear: what kind of bikes etc do we have? The fun and not-so-fun parts of cycling trips. A tour through Belgium, 11 days, 810 km. From the Netherlands to the Italian Riviera (near Nice, France). Animated movies, 3D Studio Max stuff, VRML About me, email address Travel Home, travels sorted by activity Annapurna Base Camp trek, Chitwan, rafting, Kathmandu & around Road trip through Sweden in march Canadian Rockies + Vancouver Island A weekend with friends on the Dutch Wadden Island of Ameland Sydney, Fraser Island, diving Great Barrier Reef, Outback, Kakadu, Litchfield Granada, Barcelona, and Portuguese Algarve Total solar eclipse in Turkey, 2006 Cycling trip around Belgium - in Dutch only Cycling from the Netherlands to Italy - in Dutch only.

Trip to Barcelona:


Other cycling trips (in Dutch only):

Description of our cycling trip from the Netherlands to Spain - Part 1

In april/may of 2003, Eric and I cycled from Eindhoven (our home city in the Netherlands) to Barcelona, Spain. You'll find our "live" travelogue, written at internet cafes along the way, on these pages.
You can find a map of our route on this page. We followed the route described by Paul Benjaminse.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me through the email address on my home page!
Nederlands (Dutch version of these pages.)

Day 1 - Monday 28 april 2003
Destination: Maastricht (Netherlands)
Distance: 77 km
[To all Americans: for the distance in miles, whip out your calculator and divide by 1.6!]
Total dist: 77 km
Ave speed: 18 km/hr
Max speed: 34 km/hr
We only left home at 1:35 pm, and got off our bikes in Maastricht At home, just before departure. at 6:15 pm! It was raining a little as we took off, but it was dry in Waalre, and the sun was shining by the time we crossed the border into Belgium. Looks like we're heading in the right direction! In Belgium, we followed the Zuid Willemsvaart canal, with a strong headwind: hard work! We re-entered the Netherlands close to the city of Maastricht: this should be our last night in our home country for a while. We found a hotel in Maastricht, and went out for dinner. The bartender in our hotel couldn't believe our plans, thought we must be out of our minds, but we're ready for our next adventure!

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Day 2 - Tuesday 29 april 2003
Destination: Remouchamps (Belgium)
Distance: 78 km
Total dist: 155 km
Ave speed: 17.6 km/hr
Max speed: 44 km/hr
We made it to Luik/Liege around noon, and visited an internet cafe. We had a strong headwind in the morning, and the going was tough. The stretch from Maastricht to Luik isn't particularly inspiring, anyway. But in the afternoon, the sun came out, the wind dropped, and we had some beautiful cycling through the Ardennes, along the Ourthe river. Wonderful, through the woods. We stopped at a campground in the village of Remouchamps around 4 pm.

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Day 3 - Wednesday 30 april 2003
Destination: Houffalize (Belgium)
Distance: 64 km
Total dist: 222 km
Ave speed: 16 km/hr
Max speed: 46 km/hr
Oh boy, this was a very bad day! We packed our stuff in the pouring rain (heavy wet tent), shoved down breakfast while standing underneath a shelter, and took off quickly to warm up. It rained all day, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, but non-stop in any case. We had lunch in a cafe, a quick omelet while we sat dripping and sopping wet on our chairs. I'll bet they hoped we'd leave rapidly. We had planned an easy day, but the 65 km were very tough, with lots of hills and the rain. We were tired out when we got to Houffalize, and looked for a hotel. There was one serious cause for concern: Judith had a sharp pain in her achilles heel, and it became bright red and swollen. Not good! This made us decide to rest in Houffalize for a day.

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Day 4 - Thursday 1 may 2003
Destination: Houffalize (Belgium)
Distance: (day off)
Total dist: 236 km
Today was labor day, and we spent it well by not thinking of At the La Chouffe beer brewery
	in Achouffe. work at all! We hung around, visited a sauna, and cycled back and forth to Achouffe. This is the location of the La Chouffe beer brewery; La Chouffe is one of our favorite beers! Naturally, we had to taste a few. Today, Judith could hardly walk with the pain in her achilles heel, and this did worry us a lot. We wouldn't have to stop already, would we? The Chouffes did help kill the pain, but we're not convinced of their healing power...

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Day 5 - Friday 2 may 2003
Destination: Neufchateau (Belgium)
Distance: 47 km
Total dist: 283 km
Ave speed: 15 km/hr
Max speed: 42.5 km/hr
Well, we're back on our bikes! Judith is using doping now (yeah, man!), so our Tour de France can begin. A doctor in Houffalize injected 8 shots of some kind of cocaine derivative straight into the achilles heel infection, and now we're in great shape again. It's a miracle cure! We're wondering whether you'd get this kind of treatment in the Netherlands, but don't think so...
In de Belgian Ardennes, 
	near Neufchateau. We've got a strong headwind again. So far we've only cycled 20 km today; we're going further, but there happened to be an internet cafe over here.

The text above was typed in Bastogne. After that, we continued on to Neufchateau. It was tough cycling, against the headwind, but we're taking turns cycling up front now (with Eric up front just a little more often) - that helps. Just as we arrived in Neufchateau, it started pouring rain, with the occasional bout of hail, so we checked into a bed & breakfast. This place had absolutely wonderful food by the way. Ever heard of halibut in a sauce of algae? Excellent!

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Dag 7 - Saturday 3 may 2003
Destination: Vilosnes (France)
Distance: 78 km
Total dist: 362 km
Ave speed: 17 km/hr
Max speed: 52.5 km/hr
Today was a lot better! It's pretty good cycling with one good leg and one foot running on cocaine, that much is obvious. It was very cold and cloudy in the morning, but got warmer and sunnier lateron.
We joined up with the "official" route to Barcelona in Suxy, just before the French border. Abbey in Orval. A Dutchman, Paul Benjaminse, has undoubtedly spent a lot of time figuring out a cycling route from the Netherlands to Barcelona, that crosses beautiful areas, and makes use of the smallest roads, or even bicycle paths, whenever possible. So there's nothing official about the route, it's just that we brought along his books and followed his suggestions. So far, we like his route very much. We came through beautiful woods, where the headwind was broken, and we moved on at a higher speed. We took a break at the abbey in Orval, at the end of a long descent through dripping green woods. The Orval beer is brewed here, but we thought it better not to drink any. We did have a bowl of soup, to warm up.
Just past Orval, we crossed the border into France! So for all of Judith's colleagues who thought we weren't even gonna make it to France: haha! We cycled past endless fields with cattle and sheep, and through tiny villages. It's a very quiet region.
We spent the night in Vilosnes, at the campground. The caretaker wasn't there, so someone sent us to the mayor of Vilosnes' house - he told us to go ask for permission over there. Well, it feels very much relaxed to camp somewhere with permission from the mayor himself!

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Day 7 - Sunday 4 may 2003
Destination: St. Mihiel (France)
Distance: 70 km
Total dist: 433 km
Ave speed: 17 km/hr
Max speed: 43 km/hr
Wow, it was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. We cycled through the farming areas of northern France all day - the area is known as the Lorraine (or Lotharingen). It's ridiculously quiet here, there's hardly a living soul to be seen. Village between the fields, in the 
	Lorraine. Looks like they're all spending their sunday inside. We followed the valley of the Meuse southward all day, through fields of cattle and of bright yellow fields with coleseed in bloom. It was beautiful.
We had our lunchbreak in Verdun, and ate our French bread with cheese alongside the Meuse. Verdun seems to be a very nice town. However, it's hard not to notice that this area had a rough time in a series of wars. There are many memorial statues and signs for victims of the second world war, in particular, some of them donated by Americans.
We cycled on to St. Mihiel ("La Florence du Lorraine"), and landed on the campground. We would've liked to cycle a bit further today, but the next campground is 50 km away, in Toul, and that's a bit too far.

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Day 8 - Monday 5 may 2003
Destination: Neufchateau (France)
Distance: 114 km
Total dist: 555 km
Ave speed: 18.3 km/hr
Max speed: 55 km/hr
We're in Toul now, and there is actually an internet cafe here, and it's open as well! This is giving us some trouble. We're trying hard to update these pages regularly, but this is not a very touristic area, and when we ask around for internet cafes, people give us the same look as the cows in the meadows do...
[The text above was typed in Toul.]
After the cyber cafe, we picked up some energy at McDonalds, and then cycled an awful lot further. Eric between the coleseed fields
	in the Lorraine. We sped along today, partially because the wind has gotten a lot less, and isn't coming from the front. The weather is fine, partly cloudy and dry. Our laundry, tied to the luggage racks, is drying very well, but Eric's sun-burnt arms are getting a break.
We cycled all the way to Neufchateau (not the same as the one in Belgium!). We had calculated that that would've been a total of 95 km, but somehow it was 114 km! Campgrounds are distributed thinly around here, only one every 50 km or so, so we didn't have much of a chance to stop sooner. There were a couple of hotels, but we want to camp when the weather's this good.
We're still confused over how we could've underestimated the distance so much; we didn't have the energy to figure it out in the evening. We just put up our tent, went out for dinner, and then crashed in bed. Generally, we're exhausted in the evening, but we've still got the feeling that we got through our first week very well.
Today's route was excellent, by the way. We started out with an 8 km climb, followed by a hilly area, via Toul, with vineyards. We saw the Meuse close to its spring: just a tiny river, about 3 m wide, hardly moving at all and full of algae! It's hard to imagine that this river can actually flood half of Limburg [that's a province in the Netherlands].

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