The Ardennes and Germany

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by panzerrocket, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. IslandMonkey

    IslandMonkey Been here awhile

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    I always think that moments like this make any trip. Another great ride report from you PR.
    #21
  2. helmik

    helmik Adventurer

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    On a motorway near you!!
    I think the Ardennes has got to be my favourite place in the world that ive seen so far. I try to get over once a year, off there in October hopefully, just waiting on news about another job first. When youre there next theres a steakhouse on the way back from Lux towards Vielsalm called El Toros, if you eat meat this is a fantastic restaurant and worth blowing the budget at least once. We always visit when we are over.

    Brilliant report, thanks very much.

    Mick.
    #22
  3. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    +1 on a great RR.
    The Ardennes; just the name sends something of a shiver. Given the time/money, to traverse the steps my dad took from Normandy, through the Ardennes, and into Germany during the second world war is something of a dream of mine. I've 'blown' a couple of opportunities and ridden in the Alps instead, perhaps I'll get another opportunity later.
    Jim
    #23
  4. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    africadero thanks, you live near a very nice area.

    IslandMonkey, thanks mate glad you enjoy my report.

    helmik thanks for your comment. Enjoy your trip in October. Also thanks for the tip about El Toros, will definetly try that next time - love meat.

    on2wheels52, great respect for your dad, he participated in the liberation of Europe, fantastic! If you get the chance, you should go to the Ardennes. Very nice riding area packed with memorials and museums from the battle of the bulge.

    There's a lot more to come, will work on the report later on today.
    #24
  5. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    The goal of the day was to see the citadelle in the town Namur. Hetty had warned me that I might get disappointed and suggested I paid the town Dinant a visit, while I was in the area.
    I started out, and in a roundabout in a small town I saw this. Guess the love bicycles there.

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    I continued through the countryside.

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    Nice houses.

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    I stopped at the castle Chateau de Modave.

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    I'd started out too early this day, the castle wasn't open yet, so I had a walk about the castle and looked at it from the outside.

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    Impressive views from the castle.

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    A last goodbye to the castle, and I continued on.

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    I went through small villages. I'd noticed during my stay here in the Ardennes, that there's hardly any old houses and buildings. The area must have been bombed and shelled totally to pieces during the battle of the bulge.

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    I reached the river Meuse

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    and followed it the rest of the way into Namur.

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    Here's Namur with the citadelle .

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    The Citadelle de Namur used to be one of the biggest military installations in Europe.

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    It was in active use up untill 1977.

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    It disappointed me though, that it was laid out as a public green area / park.

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    There was nothing on display from it's active military period.

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    The best thing about it was the views from up here over Namur and the river Meuse.

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    Under a threatening dark sky I continued along the river,

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    and reached the town Dinant. Dinant is dominated by some big rocks around which the town is built.

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    Riding back again towards Baton Rouge.

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    Monday is Ben and Hetty's day off, and since I was the only one staying at their place, they invited me out to eat with them. Very nice!
    I sat and waited for them and played with their dogs.
    Here's Billy the Kid,

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    and here's Jesse James. Funny thing is that they both are female dogs :rofl

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    I had a good eveing out with my hosts, but forgot the camera...
    Next day I was to leave and move on.
    #25
  6. Mike_drz

    Mike_drz Banned

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    somewhere near the beach
    woo, ugly doggies :D old midaged men :lol3 with no tastes :rofl
    #26
  7. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    Ha ha, yes personally I prefer a Doberman myself, we had 3 of them when I grew up.
    But it's actually Hetty's dogs - not Ben's as far as I remember.
    #27
  8. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    Tuesday morning I was up early, packed my stuff and loaded the bike.
    Hetty made me a good breakfast, before I said goodbye and went on.

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    Riding on I enjoyed being on my own again. I had a great time with team rrr and the weekend with the dutch guys I rode with was also ok, But I love to be on my own.

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    I wanted to ride to the western part of the Ardennes, where I hadn't been yet.

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    First stop on the day was the town Bastogne holding some museums from the war.

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    Nice roads.

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    Arriving in Bastogne luck wasn't with me. There's a sherman tank on the main square, but the city had started a lot of construction on the main square, so it was all fences, noise, dust and so on.
    I managed to get a decent pic of this jeep on the square.

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    A then the museum was closed another hour for lunch... I didn't want to hang around waiting for that so I rode out of town again.

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    Passing a war memorial.

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    Passing through small towns.

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    I arrived in the town Han-sur-Lesse,

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    where I wanted to see the Grottes du Han, Belgium's most famous caves.

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    After a 10 minute ride with a little train we arrived at the entrance to the caves,

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    and went underground.

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    Daylight again, at the end of the tunnel.

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    After this interesting visit I rode west, starting to look for a hotel.

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    At my third attempt, I found this nice hotel Le Saint Hubert, after crossing the border to France.

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    This ment french food for dinner, yummi. Here's my starter.

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    Followed by salmon.

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    And cheese for desert.

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    It was a nice mild evening, so I sat outside for like an hour or 2 with a cold beer before going to bed.
    #28
  9. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    Next morning I saddled up and left the town Haybes.
    It was a misty morning as I rode into the Semois valley, following the Semois river.

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    Stopped here for a coffee,

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    and studied the war memorial.

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    The main goal of the day was the town Bouillon where I would spend most of the day at the castle Chateau de Bouillon.

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    The castle get's it's fame from the crusader Godefroid de Bouillon. He's regarded as a hero in these parts of the country. In the 11th century he went out on a crusade to the Holy Land. They slaughtered, raped and burned their way through Europe, before they finally reached Jerusalem after 3 years. On the 15 July 1099 the army breached the city walls of Jerusalem and massacred around 40,000 Muslims and Jews.
    Here's the hero...

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    Nevertheless it was still a very interesting castle to visit.

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    When the castle was built is unknown, but experts reckon that it excisted already several centuries before the year 1,000.

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    The castle has been rebuilt and extended several times.

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    Views from the castle shows the strategic position it once holded, overlooking the river Semois.

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    At 12:00 an open-air bird show started.

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    Here's a vulture.

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    And then the highlight of the show, an eagle.

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    That was a big bugger!

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    And it flew veerry close over the audience's heads.

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    After this spectacular show I was back on the road riding through small villages,

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    passing war memorials.

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    It was clearly farmer-country I was riding through,

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    with tractors parked on main street.

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    I had a short ride through Luxembourg on my way to Germany, and stopped here for a coffee.

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    I entered the excellent riding area Eifel, in south-western Germany.

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    And started zig zagging my way north.

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    In the little town Manderscheid I stopped for the night at this hotel, the Kupferpfanne.

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    After getting installed in my hotelroom I went down to the bar, to get this.

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    After a solid german dinner I went to my room and planned the next day's route.
    #29
  10. cvcaelen

    cvcaelen Guzzi-rider

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Merelbeke, Belgium
    great writing :)

    I also like riding in the Ardennes,
    takes me 2 hours to get there from where I live,
    but it's worth it,
    every time.
    Never been to Baton Rouge though, must visit them soon.

    Greetings
    Christiaan
    #30
  11. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    Hi cvcaelen, thanks for your comment. You should definetly try to stay a weekend at Baton Rouge. Highly recommended.
    #31
  12. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    Wonderful report! Thanks so much for taking us along with you. Africa, Asia, and South America are fine but I really like reports about Europe, from the perspective of a "sporty" bike. I am making notes of your route and hotels for the future. Baton Rouge will be a destination, for sure. :clap
    #32
  13. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    Thanks Blader54, more to come now, so keep your pen sharp and ready:D
    #33
  14. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    After a good night's sleep I was on my way again. Weather was okay, partly cloudy, with good temperatures. I criss-crossed through Eifel north-east bound avoiding everything that looked like a larger city by sticking to the smallest roads. Yesterday in a mega-big fucker of a supermarket, I was so lucky to stumble over the ADAC KartenSet 1:200,000. Excellent! For the last 10 years I've used Shell's Die General Karteset 1:200,000 over Germany, and that's mildly spoken worn out, and not quite up to date :D I'd in my idiocy left 2/3 of the Shell map-set at home :huh mostly using 1:500,000 maps over Germany. The smallest roads are not on a 1:500,000 scale map... But back to the riding.
    Small nice german towns.

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    Suddently I hear this unmistakebly sound and point the camera to the sky. Shooting 20 something pic's at highspeed, I managed to get this shot. They were flying bloody fast and low!

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    Lovely Eifel.

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    Taking it easy, time to enjoy.

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    I noticed at some point that I'd crossed into the state Hessen, and thought to myself wait a moment, I know about a biker-hotel in the so-called Saurland in Oberhessen. I stopped at a parking/resting-area and got the pc out. Found the adress and plotted it into the GPS. Damn it was only 8 km away. But the time was only 14:00, a bit too early to stop, or what? To hell with it I thought got to check that biker-hotel out for future reference. So I rode to the small town Battenberg-Dodenau.

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    Recently I'd noticed that a lot of the houses had slate on the walls. Here I found a nice old house looking like that.

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    Then I checked in at the biker-hotel Arnold.

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    Also a nice biker-place with a good atmosphere.

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    Coming there so early, I had a lot of time to plan the rest of my route home on the smallest roads with my new ADAC map-set.
    After my route-planning was done I went down to the bar before dinner. I got talking to a local guy who'd had a beer or 3 too many. He kept telling me how good I spoke german, and all I could answer was, but you're drunk and talking too bloody fast for me, I only understand half of what you're saying! He didn't seem to mind though, so I tried to say yes and no, in what seemed like the right places :rofl
    After another brilliant day and evening it was off to bed.
    #34
  15. IslandMonkey

    IslandMonkey Been here awhile

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    "I had a short ride through Luxembourg on my way to Germany, and stopped here for a coffee."

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    Do you recall the name of this town? About 3 years ago I passed through Luxembourg with my brother-in-law on our way home from a European tour. We stopped somewhere for coffee and I bought some stickers for my panniers and some rolling tobacco, but neither of us can remember the name of the place. I think this is it.
    #35
  16. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    Hi IslandMonkey.
    The town is Diekirch 28 km north of the city of Luxembourg, as the crow flies.
    #36
  17. slide

    slide A nation in despair

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    Great RR. The writing and pictures could make an advertisement for touring the region.
    #37
  18. IslandMonkey

    IslandMonkey Been here awhile

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    Thanks. :thumb
    #38
  19. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    Hi slide thank you very much :D
    #39
  20. panzerrocket

    panzerrocket Been here awhile

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    I'd planned to have a look at a small bit of Saurland. Under a clear blue sky I rode east,

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    untill I reached naturpark Kellerwald-Edeersee where I went along the shore of Affolderner See,

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    followed by Edersee. Saurland turned out to be a pleasant surprise, got to get back here again to explore the area.

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    I went north of Kassel to avoid traffic, and crossed the river Wesser on my way into Naturpark Mürden.

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    The vacation was getting near the end, so I tried to slow down, enjoying the last bit.

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    Nice riding area.

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    When crossing Lüneburger Heide it started to rain around 16:00, so I checked in at Schumann's Hotel.

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    In the bar after dinner I got talking to a woman, seemingly nice. And well, men are men, so no need to tell you what I was thinking about. It quickly turned out to be a nightmare, as she spent an hour telling me how dangerous it was to ride a motorcycle, with no respect to me or my points of view. I tried to say that I was aware of the dangers and after 25 years of succesfully surviving riding my bikes, I thought that I had a pretty good idea as to what I was doing. It was like talking to a deaf. She bulldozed me down. Talking about my son, and eventually of my riding with a 6 year old approx. 30,000 km over Europe finding that safe, she went totally bananas and called me irresponsible. Well horny or not, I was fed up with her shit, and told her fuck you bitch - and went to bed.
    I usually regard myself as a good ambassador for motorcycle-riding, but that was just too much.

    Next morning it was a damp and misty morning when I started out.

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    I don't know what it is with me and Lüneburger Heide, but I never seem to ride here in sunshine.

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    I'd planned to ride up through Holsteinische Schweiz, a nice area in the northern most part of Germany. But it was raining on and off, and several times I thought of just hitting the autobahn to get home.
    Thankfully the rain stopped at last.

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    Holsteinische Schweiz is a very beautiful area, and being close to the ferry to Denmark an excellent place for shorter trips.

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    Last ziggy stop here,

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    before I boarded the ferry and afterwards blasted up the motorway to Copenhagen.
    It's been a good trip. I really enjoyed riding with team rrr, and as I'm writing we're planning a get-together evening with some good food. One can only hope that planning of future trips will take place :D
    On the other hand I also enjoyed having a week by myself. For the past 2 years I've been riding with Nikolai, my son. He's without comparison my best riding-buddy, but it was nice for once to be on my own, only thinking of my own needs and what I wanted.
    And then I got the chance to ride some brilliant parts of Europe.

    That was all from me guys and girls, I hope you enjoyed.
    #40