Day 14 – 15 Luxembourg & Belgium
This is probably the least adventurous part of the trip, the last 2 days from Germany back to the final destination Ghent, in Belgium, but for the sake of being complete I’m adding it as well.
The last day in Germany we were confronted a few times with what is probably the best example of what sort of rule-obsessed nanny state Germany can be. I could barely believe that they actually have signs up banning motorcycles (and motorcycles only) from certain roads during weekends and holidays (basically any time you’d want to go for a ride).
These roads are not some tiny cyclist trail, but fun, curvy roads in the Eifel mountains that you’d want to drive on. We were there on Saturday and just chose to ignore it; we weren’t the only ones to do so as we ran into dozens of other motorcyclists!
Eventually we stopped for lunch at a fancy castle restaurant. We’ve definitely moved to more touristy developed areas and establishments this last week, as the restaurant was loaded with elderly citizens on a daytrip.
The area was nice, but the weather just stayed gray with a few raindrops now and then, the temperature wasn’t great either.
We crossed into Luxembourg in the late afternoon. Luxembourg drivers immediately seemed more aggressive than Germans, with a tailgater having to brake aggressively for me when I stopped for this picture, and much more cars overtaking us when doing the speed limits.
We wanted to save some money and had decided to camp, but had sort of accepted we’d go for a camping. Luxembourg was completely packed with campings, often there was one every 2 km. Strangely, or perhaps not, most campings had Dutch language signs and even Dutch staff. It’s not the official language (they have a very strange and funny sounding mixture language, where for example their word for ‘street’ sounds akin to ‘stroot’ to us).
We ended up on a huge camping, that to be honest seemed like the polar opposite of my idea of ‘fun’ on a vacation with people packed together in expensive rental cabins or towed caravans. It had to do for one night; our only other option was a nudist camping across the road that cost 2 euro less per night. Didn’t seem like a good idea with the predicted 5 degree Celsius temperatures.
It rained that night, so we packed the tent up wet. The rest of Luxembourg was decent, it really is a nice country despite being so small; it’s all very well maintained, and there seem to even be some trails here and there, though we skipped those to make progress.
It rained a bit more in Belgium, so Bruno put on his penguin-flipper gloves to stay dry and we just took highways (for probably the first time in the whole trip) to make quicker progress.
When we eventually ended up in Flanders, the region where my home town lies, the contrast with what I’d seen the past weeks couldn’t have been bigger. I knew riding in Belgium, or at least Flanders, isn’t great compared to Sweden or any of the countries we passed through, but I thought I might have been remembering things worse than they are, since it had been so long.
Trying to avoid the highways we were however treated to endless roads with houses, ugly villages with lots of cars on a Sunday afternoon and terrible Belgian ‘stone road’-main roads that connect these villages. In any country I’d been before this would let up and get better after a while but here it’s just like that everywhere.
At 5.15 we rolled onto my parents driveway and I felt mixed about it. On one hand it was nice to reach the destination, not having to pack everything up the next day and getting proper time for it all, even being able to thoroughly wash the bike.
On the other hand, it became clear again why I enjoy experiencing other countries than Belgium, which has to be one of the very worst and ugliest places in the world to ride a motorcycle. I really don’t mean offense to my friends or countrymen, but I just can’t shake that feeling after riding abroad for more than 4 years.
When the next day, I wanted to test my suspension on what used to be one of the only legal unpaved trails around, I realized they had already started to redo it as a paved bicycle-only path. Sigh…
I totally understand how you feel. I get that everytime when I come back from a trip to Canada.