Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Bobbing in for a cheeky German pint

As the weather was so perfect, heading out for a day on the bicycles seemed like a great shout. Armed with packed lunch and typical Dutch brakes in the wrong place (you have to pedal backwards to stop) we set off along the dike running parallel to the Rhine with the intention of cycling into Germany for a cheeky pint before coming home.

Luckily Tim lives right by the border so taking the scenie route is only about 20km, which we covered in reasonable time while moving at a leisurely pace. Obligatory stops for photos and food breaks and the occasional rest at one of the many signs in the Dutch countryside specifically designed for cyclists. There are so many cycle routes here with so many signs it must be impossible to get lost.

Housing along the dike

One of many roads catered for small vehicles and bikes
Local windmill

Approaching the border, and with the brilliant blue skies, we decided to stop off and get an ice cream. The housing had become decidedly less Dutch and the road became less cycle friendly until the very moment you cross the border. At this instant, the cycle lanes disappear and you know you're in Germany.

The nearest town, Elten, was just round the corner. A quaint little village really with a small square with a few cafes surrounding it on one end and a couple pubs on the other. Made a beeline for the pubs but to our dismay and surprise they were all shut. Feeling we weren't going to get our pint we headed into the local bakery for some German cheesecake, wow. So creamy, nothing like the usual stuff I've had before.

We were about to head to our bikes and set off but we were drawn to the pubs again, the doors were open now on all of them and as we looked at our watches we realised that the pubs must open at 4pm. Testing out this theory we went to the closest one and walked into be greeted by a stout looking fellow. Thankfully Tim speaks German too so within minutes we were outside with our big 500ml glasses enjoying the glorious sunshine.

Crossing the border

Yes, cake
More German refreshments

Once satiated, we headed back in a different direction and enjoyed another couple beers at a local restaurant in Zevenaar, a popular town for students. During the daytime, the square acts as host to all those after coffee, but as the evening draws on, the chairs and tables are put away and people just drink and dance outside. Might have to come back this way again I think.

With the sun gone and the darkness setting in, more beers would have been a disaster, especially as I was still not quite used to my enormous bike. Everyone here has such long legs. Another detour brought us home a different way, with the smell of homemade food to welcome us as we walked in the house. What a treat.

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