Another day, another country. Welcome to Germany – don’t mention the war!
A nice early start was tough at first, but after downing some coffee I was eager to hit the road. The extra hours allowed me to keep going beyond my target with no problems. It reminded me how valuable seizing the day is. I still had some height to descend from just inside the border into the City of Luxembourg – great to relax for a few kilometres!
The whole country of Luxembourg was very clean and well kept. The people were very friendly and all spoke English. The city contained some tremendous architecture and history, however I wanted to push on: I was feeling good and the sun was out so why not? There were great drivers too which was a nice change from the final parts of France; a delight to be riding the roads.
The American Cemetery just outside the city was again closed due to the American budget cuts. I managed to catch a lady as she entered the main gates. She turned came to meet me beyond the gates, we spoke in French until she responded that it was indeed “fermé” (closed as it was in Normandy). I hung around to take a video outside and noticed this lady still standing there. Over the past few days a few people had tried to break in; this lady lives in the grounds and thought I was going to trespass (she was probably right!). I think she was intimidated by me! We worked out we could speak to each other in English and she was sad to say that the place was closed.
She did very kindly offer to take my GoPro in video mode and walk around the site (that she wouldn’t let me into for legal reasons) and she filmed the whole grounds along with a commentary. General Patton was also buried here; he led his troops to liberate Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge (or the “Ardens”). George Patton unfortunately passed after the war after being involved in a car accident where he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt; he suffered serious injuries which he didn’t recover from. He was brought back here to be buried with his men.
I continued on downstream of the Moselle with a tailwind; I was flying. Casually hitting 32 kmph (20 mph) without any pedalling for about half an hour. I was next to the river for miles until eventually crossing and entering Germany. Managing to not be selected by the police just past the border I continued on a small cycle path overlooking the flowing water. Another beautiful site to the trip.
I have been reminded to “not mention the war” but it is a bit hard with the motivation for this trip. An older German gentleman cyclist struggled to catch me on the way into the next town; he had an amazing looking carbon bike with impressive racing wheels. He said I was very strong to be going so fast, especially with the bags. I guess a short day, several espresso’s and 10 days of riding non-stop have helped my speed!
Trier is the oldest towns in Germany and it contains some beautiful historic buildings that I have witnessed wandering around the town. It was also a big battleground in World War II. Many British POWs from Dunkirk were marched here before taken to other POW camps in Germany; a similar journey to the one I have undertaken.
Coming into the town I checked my bike for any issues: the rear tyre was pretty well worn but the front not so bad (because of the weight of the pannier bags). Using a trick I learnt from “The Man Who Cycled The Americas” I swapped them over and also cleaned the chain and oiled it – however there is a fair bit of sand and grit in their which I can’t get out – hopefully it won’t become a problem! Otherwise the bike is running extremely at this approximate half way mark.
I had “noodlesoup” for dinner, which is German for “noodle soup”. Next stop – fluency!
Tomorrow I will head towards Frankfurt with a plan to get there Friday and stay on a friend’s sofa.