Cycling in the Maas valley
Last year I got a "Vlaanderen vakantiecheque" for my birthday: a cheque to spend in a Flemish hotel or B&B for a brief vacation in our own country. I must honestly admit that Belgium is so small that I never really take vacations in my own country into consideration. But those cheques are a really neat system and we were enthousiastically searching in the brochures. A lot of regions got scratched out quickly as some of my relatives or friends live nearby. Don't get me wrong: I don't mind being near them, but it feels so useless being on vacation in their backyard. Somehow you feel you either already know the region or that you'll discover it later on with them. So our search was quickly limited to the western coastal French border region or the easter Dutch border region that we didn't know at all.
Hubert and Jan Van Eyck on the market square
historic houses in Maaseik
We had a cycling arrangment in the hotel so the next day we headed out on our bikes with our international bikeroad map and our prepared lunch. In the past we had already experienced that Limburg is a true biking paradise and the wonderful roadsigns along all quiet cycling roads that connect to each other into different loops allowing you to design your trip as you wish. In this region the cycling loops are even internationally developped.
We rode along the river, formerly gravel excavations transformed in recreational lakes , pittoresque little villages, fields, ...
Thorn, the white Dutch formerly convent village
Deserted village square in Stevensweert, NL
Guess in which country we were :p
And guess what we didn't bring on our trip: sunscreen! Against our bravest hopes, the sun was our friend all day...maybe a bit too much for my red-burnt face.