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Black Forest - Day 1 : From Valkenswaard to Heerlen

Around 9 in the morning, we left for Leende. It wasn't very warm, but at least it was dry. Immediately after Leende (5 km in), we took our first wrong turn. Therefore, it took longer than expected to reach Maarheeze and Weert.

It was clear that many people were looking at us, especially when waiting for traffic lights. At one light, we met a man who was also on a cycling vacation. He wished us a safe trip and said he was happy to see other people doing it. Later we met another group, and after 40 km, we stopped to eat. The bench we were on was directly beside the road, everyone that came by turned their heads to look at us. This time we still ate normal bread, but that was the last time this vacation. We continued cycling with an average speed of about 20 km/h.

 

After another 30 km, we stopped to eat an apple and again saw cycling-vacation-people. We didn't notice it then, but they all had super-expensive panniers. It was harder to find the right roads in the south of Limburg. In cities, the roads were especially hard to follow for cyclists. We tried to reach Echt, but the bridge was closed. Whenever we got lost, we usually just picked the prettiest road.

Near the end of the day, it started to rain harder and harder to the point that we briefly took shelter. After cycling 102 km, we found a campsite in Heerlen. It was called 'op het hof' and was specially made for motorcyclists. It was still early, around 6, so we made dinner at the campsite. We wanted to make soup, spaghetti, and macaroni. We need to do this quickly as the weather kept getting worse. We forgot first to cook water for the soup and had already added the pasta. In a typical 'cycling vacation manner,' we solved this by using the pasta water to make the soup. It tasted well and saved us some time. Obviously, we also wanted to cook the pasta, but it was too windy to heat it properly. It turned into a sticky gue that fortunately didn't taste too bad. We even showered today and went to bed.

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The route is never entirely correct because we always take some wrong turns.
We don't know exactly how we traveled, but generally, the routes on these maps are pretty accurate. 

Distance cycled: 102 km.

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