Monday, April 18, 2011

4-17-03 Journal. The longest day of the trip.

This is a long time ago now. This is from when my girlfriend at the time, now futurewife and I
hopped on a plane and rode our bicycles around Europe for 9 weeks. I knew she was the one for me on this trip. Time flies. Live life. Have fun, etc...

4-17-03 Leaving a campground in Rural Luxembourg just over the border from Belgium
30 degrees C and warm and sunny.

We left our little town and campground (town was about 12 buildings on a giant hill in a provincial park) early. We rode down the valleys that we had seen painted on the over sized park maps at the campground. Finishing yesterday with a long climb meant descending at the start today. We planned on riding 10 miles or so and finding a grocery store to eat. We rode and rode. Luxembourg is beautiful. We dropped into a town, looked around, and climbed back out after seeing no signs of food...

At the top of the climb, we split our last breakfast bar. We flew down a two mile descent into the river valley on brand new fast roads. We rode across a spectacular tdam and desscended some more before coming across old castle ruins. We made hte turns towards a signed for "steep hill." We climbed and climbed. There was an old church halfway up the climb that was empty, it must have been hundreds of years old. According to the maps it was 2 miles at 10%. Amy rode at her own pace, and at the top she looked pretty defeated. I felt helpless seeing her trying so hard. We were starving. We descended into the next town looking for food. Nothing. It was some sort of weird new construction Luxembourgian suburban sprawl. Just a bunch of new houses.

We came into another town, after riding for hours and hours. We found a Lotto store. It sold paper and magazines, but no food. Not even coke. Nothing. We sat outside and scraped peanut butter from the jar. Everything is closed in Luxembourg on a Sunday. Also, when cycling on the road less traveled, there is little help. We asked in the lotto store where to find food, and were told that on a Sunday its 25KM out of the way to another town...

We rode on in the direction we were headed. We came across some tourist place. There were castle ruins and a GIFT SHOP! We bought pastries and chocolate and coffees and cokes...

Leaving town I almost got killed by the crosswinds. Two trucks passed each other and coupled with my panniers and the wind, it almost knocked me off my bike. Amy had the same experience. We stopped at small places for croissants and cokes. It seemed to be all we could find available since no stores were open.

We descended down a long hill into Luxembourg (city). We were supposed to see a campground. Nothing. We rode around aimlessly in rush hour looking for it. Nothing. This was the first big city that we were in since Amsterdam, and rush hour was really crazy and dangerous. We said screw it and decided to go into the city center to find the youth hostel.

It turns out that it was not ordinary traffic, and that the city was shut down for some sort of "demonstration." I think it was a union protest or something. The streets were corralled with barb wire fences,there was tons of glass everywhere, bus stations were all smashed. There was tons of new graffiti everywhere, and every plant holder was somehow in the middle of the street and smashed to pieces. I found a bolt the size of my bicycle helmet that appeared to have been thrown through a bus stop window.

We rode along, looking at the riot police, trying to find our way to the hostel. We found it. Of course it was on top of a hill. Of course we had to carry our panniers and bikes up 3 stories to where we got a room. Of course the person working did not know where to get ANY food.

Then we met another bike touring couple. They were also looking for food. We walked for an hour in search of anything. Amy was crumbling. I was exhausted. The dude from the couple spoke several languages and every person that he asked had a different answer. After over an hour of walking, we came to a gas station. We bought SO MUCH FOOD at the gas station, before walking back, eating and passing out.

We had ridden over 8 hours. Walked over an hour, and didnt have much of anything to eat all day. In rural Luxembourg on a Sunday, plan in advance.

2 comments:

andrew.j.seitz said...

quick question.
did you say future wife because you love the room?

hareram said...

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