Tag Archives: Süchteln

Six Wheels In Germany – Month 7

October 2014

Cycling this month

This month I missed my target of 1000km by less than 1km. This was because I had two days off the bike feeling slightly under the weather and didn’t have a chance to make up the rides as it was at the end of the month because I thought the target gap was too big – but actually I had failed to record a ride earlier in the month (which I realised just now) which was 27.27km… so I was so near but not quite enough!

Anyway, I still managed a good distance and I am really enjoying cycling in the fantastically beautiful autumn scenery around this part of Niederrhein.

Screen shot 2014-11-02 at 17.16.22

Anyway, here are the ride statistics for this month.

Screen shot 2014-11-02 at 17.20.09

People I’ve seen this month

Morten from Hamburg

Long-time readers of this blog will be familiar with Morten, the surprisingly-tall (2.04 metres) recumbent bicyclist who I met on the LEL Audax, visited in Hamburg last December and saw again on the HBK Audax.

Anyway, Morten decided to come and visit me for the bank holiday weekend of Tag der deutschen Einheit which was great news! Especially as there was a Tour des Monats cycle ride planned for the Friday when he would arrive, a nice chance to show him around some of the breweries in Kreis Viersen (apparently).

I collected Morten from the station and we rode back to my house for him to drop his bags off before heading almost straight away to St Tönis for the Tour des Monats, led again this month by cycling chum Hartmut.

There was a good group of cyclists collected in St Tönis. As I was in Penelope the Velomobile it seemed best to ride at the back (this always works better in a group) so I pootled along behind everyone, chatting to Morten and continually being amazed at how he could continue riding a recumbent bicycle at extremely slow speeds. Those things are difficult to balance!

We had another visit to the un-asphalted Bahnradweg from Tönisvorst which is no fun on a three-wheeler and even less fun in a velomobile.

TdM with Morten

As usual for routes planned by Hartmut it was a good mixture of sights and pretty much all on quiet roads or cycle paths. Hartmut gave occasional bits of information relating to the brewery theme but it was really just a chance to cycle to particular places, we didn’t see any beer!

We stopped in Anrath for lunch at which point Morten and I shared a veggie breakfast.

Breakfast in Anrath

I misheard Hartmut’s comment about what time we were leaving so ordered a cup of tea just as people were heading off. As I had the track I said I’d catch them up (I had to pay for this tea so I was going to drink it, although it was too hot initially). Morten waited with me and we set off about five minutes after the rest of them had disappeared.

As we raced to catch them up I felt a bit odd – the tea was swishing around rather unpleasantly in my stomach – and by the time we did catch up with everyone I felt a bit sick. We decided not to ride with them all the way back to St Tönis but instead left the group at Kehn and did the short cut back to St Hubert.

When we got back I put Penelope away, walked into my flat and felt appalling – I went straight to bed. Poor Morten found himself on his own for the rest of the day – he had a bit of a snooze (he’d had a very early train from Hamburg) but ended up having to cook his own dinner as I didn’t feel like food at all and couldn’t stand up for more than a minute or two. It was some mystery lurgy but came at a rather unfortunate time. Morten was a very gracious guest, though, considering his host was so rubbish!

The next morning I felt a bit more human and we decided to take a trip to Kempen. In the car (I didn’t think I could cycle 5km), which meant I had to learn where the car parks are (not something I really know). But we found a space and set off on a very slow walk around the town walls with lots of stops on benches for me to gather my energy again.

Kempen is a beautiful town and the walk around the walls is always worthwhile – and only about 2km.

Kempen tower

We stopped for some cake – Morten chose two different things.

Morten's cake

I had a nut/muesli option.

My cake

In the evening we had the opportunity to meet friend Gabriele and her husband Achim who were riding their velomobiles back from Dronten in the Netherlands to Bonn (a heck of a long way). Gabi rang us to say we could meet in Oedt at 7:15pm so we headed off (again by car) and found them outside a take-away pizzeria (the Italian restaurant we had planned to meet at was now closed).

Quest and Strada

We had an enjoyable meal chatting with them as always and then it was time for them to continue their journey on to Bonn. Good thing they are both very fast cyclists as that’s a long, long way in one day.

Velomobiles in the dark

The next morning I was feeling human enough to get back on a bike – which was a good thing as I had no breakfast food for Morten as I had planned for us to eat breakfast at Hofcafé Alt Bruch (fortunately Lara had delivered some rolls for breakfast for Saturday morning as I was too poorly). Klaus was going to meet us on the way to the Hofcafé and I also asked Lara along. Five minutes before we set off her friend Gereon appeared at the front door so he came along too.

This is the little group of random people heading 20km for breakfast…

Heading for breakfast

We met Klaus at the start of the Bahnradweg in Grefrath where we also stopped to do a small amount of maintenance on Morten’s Alfine-11 hub gear (in his front wheel – he has a front wheel drive recumbent). Once the cable was slightly adjusted (he was suffering from the neutral gears issue you get when the cable length is wrong) we headed off along the fast Bahnradweg to the Hofcafé.

I hadn’t booked a place for us, assuming this was unnecessary, but it turned out that the café was full! There were no spare tables but there was a large table with just two ladies on it so we asked to join them and they said that was fine. They may have regretted it later when the fragrance of cyclist wafted across to them.

These ladies turned out to be British so we had a bit of a chat with them and they took a photo of us halfway through our breakfast.

Breakfast at Hofcafe Alt Bruch

It’s an ‘eat as much as you like’ buffet breakfast and we were there for a couple of hours so managed to eat a fair bit. Klaus and I were asking Morten about longer distance cycling – he is an audaxer after all – and what recommendations he could give for longer rides.

In due course the café started emptying and it was time for us to head back. We waved goodbye to Klaus in Grefrath and continued on back to Kempen.

Here’s Morten underway.

Morten riding

Being chased down by Gereon and Lara.

Gereon Lara Morten

And Lara took this picture of me trying to catch up with everyone after doing my photography.

Helen cycling

When we got back we had the next task – repairing Morten’s bike wiring. He’d had to separate his bike into two pieces on the train which involves disconnecting the electrics. He has the same connectors as Penelope has and had discovered the same problem with them – they aren’t really designed for this kind of thing and the connector had pulled out of the plastic housing slightly. It needed a bit of TLC – he would need his lights when he got back to Hamburg to cycle home.

Frank and Gudula were out which was unfortunate as Frank seems to have all the tools one might need – but I didn’t know where.

First of all Morten had to ease the little metal connectors (that have metal backward-pointing hooks to keep them in place) out of the plastic connector mounting. A selection of screwdrivers and allen keys were offered from my toolkit and he found something suitable.

Morten repair 1

Clearly it needed to be soldered in place – but I didn’t have a soldering iron and didn’t know where Frank kept his. Fortunately Lara came back home at this point and she let us into the treasure trove of Frank’s tool room (which I didn’t know existed!) and we played hunt-the-soldering-iron.

Looking for a soldering iron

We couldn’t find one although I had previously seen Frank with one, plus we found some reels of solder, so one must exist somewhere. But we did find a giant similar version and Morten thought it would probably do.

The world's biggest soldering iron 2

So he set to work and did manage to solder the connector to the wire.

The world's biggest soldering iron

Success!

job done

He tested the lights and they were working – hurrah! I have plans to change these connectors on Penelope as I have also had trouble with them; Morten says he is interested to know what I choose instead as he may also change the connectors on his bike. But it’s probably a winter job.

Morten then tried out Penelope – he really isn’t the right size for a Versatile.

Morten tries out Penelope

Although the lid almost closed (not quite) he was entirely unable to turn the pedals as his knees touched the top.

Morten tries out Penelope 2

And Alfie wasn’t any better.

Morten tries out Alfie

We changed the tyres on Alfie (I thought I might as well make use of having a chap about) and as a reward we had some scones with the last of the clotted cream I had brought back from England.

scones

And then it was another quick ride to Kempen railway station to wave Morten off on his train. Our bikes created quite a stir.

Morten at Kempen station

It was great to have a visit from another cycling chum. A lady I have met here said “You seem to know more people in Germany than I do” and she maybe has a point – I have got to know lots of people all over Germany in the last ten years and it’s great to have these links and to visit the people and have them visit me.

Gabi, Achim and Rolf again

We seem to have got a regular routine of meeting at Rolf’s house for cake – me cycling from Kempen (30km), Gabi and Achim cycling from Bonn (somewhat further). Rolf extended another invitation so again we all met – this time for homemade soup by Rolf (which was wonderful) and this time I came by car as I had another engagement straight afterwards.

Once again it was good to see everyone and to have a chance to chat about all things Velomobile.

Hartmut’s birthday meal

I’ve mentioned Hartmut a few times in this blog – he’s one of the movers and shakers in the local ADFC (German cycling group) and leads a lot of cycle tours, including some very long charity ones. He is also incredibly knowledgeable about a lot of the history of this area and always has great information when you’re out riding with him.

It was his birthday this month and he invited a group of his cycling friends to a Portuguese restaurant in Krefeld – and I was included!

The thing we all have in common (apart from the cycling) is that we all have bikes with Rohloff hubs. So I decided I would ride Penelope to Krefeld although I am usually less keen on riding her there because of the terror of the tram tracks.

Anyway I set off in plenty of time and had a leisurely ride, taking a new route which is longer but much less within the city. It turned out to be a huge improvement – I was on fast Radwege beside Landstraßen right up to three kilometres before my destination (I usually cycle all the way through Hüls which is about 8km of town riding).

I pulled up outside the restaurant and could see through the window Hartmut and the other sitting around the table with several beer bottles in front of them. But I was ten minutes early!

No I wasn’t, I was almost an hour late. I had misread the time, like a numpty, thinking we were meeting at 7pm when actually it was 6pm. Very embarrassing!

Anyway, they were all very polite about it.

Hartmut's Birthday 3

Here am I looking a bit embarrassed after my late arrival!

Hartmut's Birthday 1

Hartmut had ordered a selection of starters which were all very tasty (his wife is Portuguese so he visits there often and is very familiar with all the food). The different main courses that people ordered arrived and were great.

Hartmuts birthday 2

I was extremely impressed at the amount of beer and wine my companions were putting away and remaining apparently sober. We enjoyed some good discussions and it was great to see Hartmut, Jochen, Uli and Herbert again, and to meet for the first time Andreas and Michael.

A group of (I think) Portuguese people came into the restaurant a bit later and they had a birthday cake and sang happy birthday to one of the group. We mentioned that it was Hartmut’s birthday too and they incredibly kindly shared the birthday cake with our group! So friendly.

Hartmut's birthday chocolate cake

It was a great evening and I also discovered that in Germany if someone invites you for a meal like this then they pay, which was incredibly generous.

Michael and the Düsseldorf ADFC

Through the magic of the internet (well, actually Google Plus, it turns out someone DOES use it!) a man named Michael contacted Klaus to say that he had a recumbent trike and was in the Düsseldorf area and perhaps they would bump into each other one day. He then added that the Düsseldorf ADFC were doing a ride on Saturday from Düsseldorf to Kempen and would Klaus like to join as it wasn’t far from where he lived. Klaus had no spare time but he forwarded the message to me and I decided to ride their route backwards (they had supplied a GPS track of the route) and meet them halfwayish, then ride back with them to Kempen (where they were having lunch at Gut Heimendahl).

It was a very windy day although fairly warm so I dithered about which bike to take (Alfie good for heat, Penelope good for wind) and in the end decided on Penelope because it’s after all such a cool-looking machine.

So I set off following the track from Kempen towards Düsseldorf, finding myself on a few roads that were previously unknown to me.

I hadn’t intercepted the group by the time I reached Höxhöfe and was beginning to worry that they might have been following the GPS track the other way round (so I would never intercept them) but then I decided that the strong wind might be slowing them down (even thought it was a tailwind) so I decided to press on.

And then finally I saw a group of cyclists in the distance – including a recumbent trike. So that was probably them – and indeed it was!

ADFC ride from Duesseldorf

We stopped and had a bit of a chat – and Michael had a go in Penelope.

This is his trike, an Azub folding trike which was also reasonably lightweight (once he had removed his bags).

Azub trike

Azub trike and Penelope

It has a veltop fairing which looked interesting (not that I need a trike fairing as I have a velomobile, but I think it can make quite a difference in winter if you suffer from cold feet).

Azub trike with Veltop

There was a group of about 15 of us pootling along the country lanes – very enjoyable!

ADFC ride from Duesseldorf 2

The 20km journey back to Gut Heimendahl passed fairly quickly as I was chatting with Michael and then we arrived at our destination and stopped for lunch (except I had cake). I had a good chat with Michael and it was good to get to know him. Here he is on his trike.

Michael on his trike 1

He asked a passer-by to take a photo of us both.

Helen and Michael at Gut Heimendahl

I left the rest of them at Gut Heimendahl and headed straight home as Poppy the dog had been left for quite a while, but it was great to meet Michael and I am sure we will ride together again soon in the near future.

Babs

Friend Babs has been mentioned on this blog many times as she has been brilliant – giving me helpful advice and friendship! When I was back in England last month I got a few supplies for her and we fixed a convenient time for me to drop them off to her and see her new flat in Krefeld.

The idea was for me to come in Alfie (as we didn’t think Penelope would fit in her apartment lobby) but the weather was definitely velomobile weather so I decided to take Penelope and just park her outside if necessary. So I cycled to Krefeld and when I arrived at Babs’s apartment we thought we’d see if we could get her into the lobby.

The answer was yes – sort-of.

Penelope in Krefeld

We stuck a notice on her nose in case anyone came in and needed to get into the room behind where she was parked (which Babs said was extremely unlikely).

Penelope in Babs's Flat

It was great to see Babs again and to have a good old chinwag. And it’s really handy that she now lives a lot nearer to me – just a 40 minute cycle ride!

Life in Germany

Food again

When I returned from England last month I brought back one of the Tefal Multi-cookers that does excellent rice. This is to go with all the curries I make so I’ve been enjoying them.

One of the things that I had been unable to find in Germany except for in the huge Real supermarket (in a tin) was hummus. The fresh stuff that is ubiquitous in British supermarkets was just not available.

Imagine my surprise this week when I found this in Aldi:

Hummus 1

And then three days later in the REWE in Kempen:

Hummus 2

It’s a miracle! Obviously a winter-only food in Germany.

Real has also extended its range of Wilkins & Sons Jam from Tiptree.

Real jams

The Edeka in St Hubert also had some wag who did an amusing sign for the bananas.

Single bananas

Breakfast with Anja

Anja, with whom I do various musical things, invited me for a light brunch after one of our practices. Which was most kind of her – and another example of the excellent German attitude towards breakfast (you eat a lot and take a long time over it, rather than a quick bowl of cereal).

Breakfast with Anja

I also noticed this rather excellent tin of tea in her kitchen – there are lots of fake British brands in Germany and I think this is another of them!

Sir Winston tea

Seen on cycle rides

You really know you’re in Germany where there is a field with piles of red and white cabbage leaves.

Cabbage Leaves on fields

Poppy the dog

Unfortunately this month Poppy the dog caught kennel cough. This is Zwingerhusten in German and is apparently rife around here – whether or not your dog stays in kennels. Anyway, she duly got it and started coughing so a quick trip to the vets and some antibiotics was called for.

She got over it pretty quickly (about a week) but the visit to the vet showed that she has actually put on weight – from 7.5kg to 8.25kg which is quite an increase! So Poppy now has a bit of a reduced food/increased exercise fitness regime which has included several rides with Frank (he cycles, she runs) and also today’s run to the supermarket with me, a 4km round trip for Poppy.

Poppy running by bike

Other wildlife

I’ve been doing loads of cycling at dusk, going to my various choir practices and the VHS in the evenings. I’ve seen bats and owls and all sorts of running mousy-type things. One morning we woke up and saw that Mr Mole had been very busy around the patio area.

Mr Mole very neat

Cycle rides this month

Because of my remarkably busy schedule, with things on three to four evenings per week, I’ve been doing loads of cycling in the dusk/dark where you can’t see as much. But I’ve also continued riding about once per week with Klaus and we tend to set off a bit earlier so it’s been a chance to make the most of the fantastic scenery here at this time of year.

Here’s a flavour of some of the sights we’ve seen as we trike around Kreis Viersen.

Sunset over Hinsbeck

Autumn Leaves

Hinsbecker Bruch

Gorgeous sunset on bike

I also visited a couple of interesting places with Klaus, one of which is less than 10km from my house here but I had not previously found it (it required a short detour up a grassy track and I tend to avoid these). It is a rather special crossing of the river Niers.

Self-service ferry

As usual for Germany there is a helpful information board about this self-service ferry.

Aiwa info

And of course another information board with the rules for using it!

German rules for ferry

Basically it’s a floating pontoon with a wheel which pulls you along a chain. There’s also a wheel at either riverbank to haul the ferry to you.

Ferry wheel

There was just about room for two trikes and two people.

Self-service ferry with trikes

This was great fun!

And then 200 metres or so further we reached the confluence point of the Niers and the Nette rivers – both pretty small really, but significant enough that they put a special little plaque on the ground.

Nette trifft Niers

And here are the rivers meeting.

Confluence of Niers and Nette

Of the 75,000ish kilometres I’ve ridden over the last six years, probably 85-90% of these have been on my own. Although cycling on your own is still fun, it can be much more enjoyable riding with someone else – and there can also be other benefits. As discovered on a trip Klaus and I did to bag three castles in the Mönchengladbach area.

We were riding along a radweg beside a main road when there was a huge BANG from my tyre and it instantly deflated. It was not exactly a challenge to identify the problem.

Sliced kojak

For the last 75,000km I have carried a tyre boot in my bag of tools (a boot is a cut-off piece of old tyre that you can use to patch large holes like this). So for the first time ever I actually used it!!!

And this is where the cycling companion comes in useful. You can pretend that you are too weak and feeble to pump up a tyre.

Helpful cycling companion

Here’s the repaired Kojak.

Reasonably tyre repair

It managed another 100km before I got round to changing it so the repair was reasonable. But I didn’t want to risk it any further – plus with the seasons changing my usual tyre choice of Marathons is more sensible.

Here’s one of the three castles we visited – which is now a Golf course (Schloss Myllendonk).

Golf castle

And later on we found ourselves heading for an amusingly-named town.

On the way to Damnation

More music

The longer I am in Germany, the more time I seem to spend making music. Which is great – it makes all the money my parents spent on flute lessons for me more worthwhile!!!

Anyway, as mentioned above, Anja and I play together – I play the flute and she accompanies me on the piano or organ. We’ll be playing together in the church service on Totensonntag which is at the end of November, as well as on Christmas Eve at the morning church service and Christmas Day at a social musical evening in Kempen.

I mentioned last month that I had also joined another choir – this one is in Süchteln and it’s a gospel choir. I’m really enjoying singing with this choir and it has the advantage that it’s a 45km round trip as well so a great excuse to cycle! Lara who lives here came with me to one of the practices which was the last before the choir would sing in a church service to welcome the new minister to Süchteln Evangelische Kirche.

So on Sunday 26 October we headed in the car (dressed smartly!) to the Johanniskirche in Süchteln (which is a Catholic church but which the Evangelische Kirche borrow when they need a lot of space as their church is quite small) for the service. The service went well, the singing was good but the acoustics in the choir area were a disaster for me (and I had forgotten to bring my hearing aid) so I couldn’t follow any of the rest of it really.

After the service we were invited back to the Gemeindezentrum (church hall) for cake. Well this seemed like a great plan and my car passengers (Lara and also her parents who had come along) agreed so we followed a friendly lady who knew where there was some parking and then went into the centre (which is where we practice our singing). It looked really different with various partition walls opened and tables groaning with food and cakes. Lots of cakes!

Suechteln Choir Meal

It was interesting being at such an event – there were lots of speeches and some music and we sat with Claudia and Lara (Klaus’s wife and daughter) and enjoyed the cakes and drinks. German people seem very good at generously bringing lots of food for social events and I seem to regularly benefit from this!!

Cakes this month

Here are some of the cakes that I or my companions have enjoyed this month in Germany.

Donauwelle at Gut Heimendahl

Apfelstreusel 2

Gudula's cherry cake

Posh Apfelstrudel

Scones with Morten

Dougnhut

Donauwelle in Wachtendonk

Apfel Streusel in Wachtendonk

Doughnut in Neersen

Gudula's chocolate cake

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Churches in Kreis Viersen: 31-40

This is the fourth batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about. You can read about 1-10, 11-20 and 21-30 as well.

Churches 31-40

Churches visited this time:

Churches in Kreis Viersen 31-40

31. Kapelle in Haus Salus, Mülhausen
32. St Notburga, Viersen-Rahser
33. Anrath Evangelische Kirche
34. Pfarrkirche St Johannes Baptist, Anrath
35. St Clemens, Süchteln
36. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Süchteln
37. St Clemens, Kaldenkirchen
38. Evangelische Kirche, Kaldenkirchen
39. Neuapostoliche Kirche, Lobberich
40. St Maria Helferin, Lüttelbracht-Genholt

31. Kapelle in Haus Salus, Mülhausen

Grasheider Straße 2, 47929 Grefrath-Mülhausen

http://www.snd-deutschland.de/?myELEMENT=220321

Here is the track for the ride to this chapel.

Muelhausen track

I hadn’t originally identified this as a church on my Google Map but I was cycling down Grasheider Strasse and spotted a cross on the roof of an interesting-looking building.

Muelhausen retirement chapelIt appears to be a chapel built into an old people’s home for retired nuns from the Schwestern Unserer Lieben Frau order. The building was constructed in 2003 so is still pretty new – there were people going in and out of the door when I cycled past. Apparently it has a cafeteria for general visitors.

32. St Notburga, Viersen-Rahser

Nelkenweg 3, 41748 Viersen-Rahser

http://www.st-remigius-viersen.de/remigius/gemeindebezirke/stnotburga/index.html

I visited this church when following a track provided to me by trike rider Klaus who regularly cycles past this church. I enjoyed following the route that someone else had prepared and got a chance to visit several new churches too.

Anrath church visit track 2 June 2014

As you approach Viersen-Rahser from Süchteln the square tower of St Notburga is a very obvious landmark on the horizon – and it is also visible from quite a long way to the east after I continued on.

It was a very large church which felt rather heavy and dark when up close.

Notburga Church Viersen-Rahser

This church was built in 1928-1929 with a few later additions. It’s a pretty impressive sight amongst an otherwise fairly quiet village attached to the north of Viersen proper.

Klaus, cycling chum who lives in Rahser, explained:

In the past we have had two churches in Viersen Rahser. One was at the Oberrahserstrasse but this church closed and ended up in an office building. A Kindergarten belongs to that church and you will find the sign in front of the building. The second church is the Notburga Church. It is a big one compared to the size of Viersen-Rahser but it is still in use.

This explained why I couldn’t find a church anywhere near the second waypoint I had in Rahser.

33. Anrath Evangelische Kirche

Jakob-Krebs-Straße 121, 47877 Willich-Anrath
http://www.ev-kirche-anrath-vorst.de/

After visiting St Notburga I felt hungry but couldn’t find a suitable-looking café so decided to ride on and detour into Anrath.

It was easy to see the spire of the Catholic church as I approached across some fields but as I whizzed down one of the main roads into the town I saw this rather lovely little church.

Anrath Evangelische Kirche

I had finally found a protestant church in this part of the Germany that I liked the look of!!

What’s interesting is that in other areas of Germany the churches are the other way round (the protestants have the old churches and the catholics the new), as was confirmed by one of my blog readers Gerhard who sent me photos of the churches in his area. Quite a different generally visual effect than the ones around here – much less use of white concrete!!

This church was built in 1910 but I was unable to find out any other information about it. I would have liked to see inside as it seemed so pretty outside but there was no-one at home!

34. Pfarrkirche St Johannes Baptist, Anrath

Kirchplatz 2, Willich-Anrath
http://gdg-willich.kibac.de/seiten/sankt-johannes-anrath/kirche

Anrath is dominated by the Pfarrkirche St Johannes, around which I regularly cycle on my way to choir practices in Neersen.

Wikimedia Commons image

Here is the photograph that I took.

Anrath Catholic Church

There happens to be a rather good bakery right opposite the church (as well as several others) so I think Anrath will become a regular stopping point.

Anyway, this church was built in 1898 in the popular Gothic Revival style. There had previously been a Romanesque-Gothic church from 1740 on the site but very little was preserved when the new building was started.

In World War 2 the pressure waves from bombs destroyed the historic glazing in the nave of the church and new windows were added in 1956.

This church spire is one of the highest in the surrounding area (79 metres to the weather vane) and its tower offers a wonderful view of the Niederrhein landscape from Düsseldorf to beyond the Süchtelner heights (according to a website – I shall have to go and have a look sometime!)

And, as an aside, ‘Süchteln’ the place name is something I have real trouble saying; it’s an entirely un-English-sounding word. So maybe I will have to ride up the heights (a moraine) sometime to see if that improves my pronunciation!

35. St Clemens, Süchteln

Ostring 22m 41749 Viersen-Süchteln
http://www.st-clemens-suechteln.de/

The day after I visited Viersen-Rahser and Anrath with Alfie I decided to do the same 52km round trip again, this time in Penelope, to compare my speeds. Obviously I didn’t bother visiting the churches in Rahser and Anrath again, instead I detoured to Süchteln to visit a couple there.

Suechteln church visit track 3 June 2014

(for general information, my average speed on Alfie was 18km/h for the 52km and in Penelope was 20.5km/h, so that’s how much faster I am in the velomobile).

Once again the main church of Süchteln (there’s that unpronounceable word again!), St Clemens, is what you see when approaching the village from all angles.

The church was built in 1481 and has a well preserved tower of 73 metres tall. It proved extremely difficult to get a photograph with the whole church in – but you can just see Penelope at the bottom.

St Clemens Suechteln

After taking some photos I stopped for a cake at a rather nice café.

36. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Süchteln

Westring 23, 41749 Viersen-Süchteln
http://www.evkirchesuechteln.de/

This church was on my Garmin as a waypoint called ‘Evangelische Stadtkirche’ so it sounded pretty important. However I couldn’t quite see where it was and cycled around the general area without finding anything. Then I saw a lady who had been eating in the café where I had my cake and seemed to know a lot of passers-by at the time; she was clearly a local. So I asked her where the church was and she said “We only have one church in Süchteln, the Catholic Church.” This seemed odd but no doubt she knew. I set off down the only road in the general area I hadn’t ridden along yet and lo and behold saw a noticeboard for the Evangelische Kirchengemeinde. And there was the church!

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Suechteln 1

It was rather tricky to get the whole church in without the sun making the photo too washed out. I didn’t really succeed but here is Penelope outside the church!

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Suechteln 2

A bit of subsequent Googling suggests this building is called Katharina von Bora-Haus (Katharina was the wife of Martin Luther) and there’s another building that belongs to the Evangelical Church as well. I will have to make another visit!

37. St Clemens, Kaldenkirchen

Kehrstraße 30, 41334 Nettetal-Kaldenkirchen
http://www.stclemens-kaldenkirchen.de/ – a very colourful website!

I visited two churches in Kaldenkirchen and one in Lobberich on a hot afternoon’s ride on Alfie – hoping that the fresh air outside on the bike would be a bit cooler than staying inside the house. It sort-of worked.

This was my route to Kaldenkirchen and then Lobberich, with a scenic detour to avoid Kempen on the way back.

Kaldenkirchen churches track

St Clemens was the church right in the centre, of course, so I headed for that navigating by sight (you could see the spire most of the time). I had been to Kaldenkirchen before and enjoyed a waffle at the Eiscafé beside the church so I did the same (except they had run out of waffle mix so I had to have an ice cream).

Here is the church.

St Clemens Kaldenkirchen 1

It had this useful plaque with historical information.

St Clemens plaque

There have been several churches on this site since around 1450. This one was built in the late 1890s.

Alfie at St Clemens

The website for the church shows that there’s loads going on and it seems a pretty lively and active place.

38. Evangelische Kirche Kaldenkirchen

Kehrstraße 59-61, 41334 Nettetal-Kaldenkirchen
Gemeindebüro Friedrichstraße 46, 41334 Nettetal-Kaldenkirchen
http://evangelische-kirche-kaldenkirchen.de/

I had a waypoint for this church on my Garmin but when I arrived I saw this:

Kaldenkirchen Evangelical Church Hall

This is the Gemeindebüro (the office), not the actual church, as I soon realised. I have given both addresses above. I kinda wanted this to count as two churches in my visiting but it doesn’t really so it’s all just number 38!

The Gemindebüro, this building, was also the young people’s hall and they had lots of stuff going on, including this graffiti placard.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelical Church Hall Graffiti

The games hall for kids.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelical Church Hall Spielecke

Having seen the website for this church, they are also pretty busy with stuff going on. Clearly Kaldenkirchen is less moribund than many towns with regard to churches!

I needed to find the actual church so I looked on my Garmin map’s Points of Interest and it had the church so I followed the Garmin’s route and ended up pretty much round the corner from St Clemens.

Kaldenkirchen vangelische Kirche with St Clemens in background

This church was painted an unusual yellow, but I liked it – it looked very cheerful!

Kaldenkirchen Evangelical Church

The church was first built in 1672 but lots of renovations, cleaning and other improvements have been necessary over its lifetime.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelische Kirche Main Door

It was difficult to see the front façade as there were other buildings far too close – my back is against the wall of a building to take this photo.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelische Kirche front facade

A helpful plaque giving the history of the Evangelical church in Kaldenkirchen – and the info that some people left from here to the colonies in Pennsylvania in 1683.

Kaldenkirchen Evangelische Kirche plaque

39. Neuapostoliche Kirche Lobberich

Schulzenburgweg 1a, 41334 Nettetal-Lobberich
http://nak-krefeld.de/site/startseite/gemeinden/nettetal-lobberich/

As I headed back from Kaldenkirchen I passed through Lobberich and decided to divert to visit the nearest church, which happened to be another NAK (Neuapostoliche Kirche).

 

Lobberich NAK

I have visited the NAK church in Kempen already and written a little bit about it – many say that the NAK are a cult. I don’t know about that, but I was fortunate to bump into a couple of people coming out from the church. The lady had been taking away the old flowers and let me in to have a look at their main sanctuary. She said I could take a photo.

Lobberich NAK Interior

40. St Maria Helferin, Lüttelbracht-Genholt

Genholterstraße, Lüttelbracht-Genholt
http://www.rp-online.de/nrw/staedte/viersen/ein-platz-fuer-200-glaeubige-aid-1.1291921

I visited this church as part of a ride to Brüggen to meet fellow velomobile rider Oliver.

Track to Brueggen

This church was about 100 metres off my planned route so I thought it worth a visit – and it was!

St Maria Helferin Luettelbracht 1

St Maria Helferin Luettelbracht 2

You can see a chap cutting the hedge in the photos – when I arrived a couple were working on the gardens, with the lady mowing the lawn. The whole place was beautifully tended and there were some picnic benches at the corner of the plot. It was clearly lovingly cared for.

I chatted to the lady mowing the lawn and she said the church had celebrated its sixtieth anniversary a few years ago (as described in the newspaper article linked to above). It wasn’t built as a replacement for a church damaged in the war but was newly built in 1951 with space for 200 people, although the lady lamented that not very many people came any longer.

It was a rather lovely building, though, and the lady said she would have loved to show me inside but they didn’t have the keys with them today.

I found this website which has pictures of the stained glass windows inside: http://www.glasmalerei-ev.de/pages/b317/b317.shtml

All churches visited so far

Here’s the map of all 40 churches visited so far.

Churches in Kreis Viersen 1-40

Don’t forget you can also look at the zoomable Google Map here: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zy_0KHlNFh70.k3R_awnvgbPs

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Churches in Kreis Viersen: 21-30

This is the third batch of church visits that I’ve blogged about. You can read about 1-10 and 11-20 as well.

Churches 21-30

Churches visited this time:

Churches 21-30

21. St Vitus, Oedt

22. Versöhnungskirche, Oedt

23. Kreuzkapelle, Kempen

24. St Cornelius, Tönisvorst-St Tönis

25. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Sankt Tönis

26. St Remigius, Viersen

27. St Franziskus, Süchteln

28. St Mariä Himmelfahrt, Bracht

29. Evangelische Kirche, Bracht

30. Evangelisch – Freikirchliche Gemeinde, Bracht

So this is the map of all 30 churches visited so far.

Churches 1-30

 

21. St Vitus, Oedt

Kirchplatz 2, 47929 Grefrath-Oedt

www.grefrather-pfarren.de/index.php?id=184

I visited this church on Tuesday 14 May, also visiting churches in Tönisvorst on my way to Oedt.

Vorst and Oedt TrackSt Vitus was yet another blindingly-obvious church in the centre of the small village of Oedt.

It seemed like an enormous church although was built right beside a fairly busy road which made it rather difficult to park Penelope near it – she ended up at the side, being dwarfed by the building.

Penelope dwarfed by St Vitus OedtThe church itself was built between 1901 and 1903 although the tower wasn’t begun until 1910 due to lack of funds. It was completed in 1912.

St Vitus Oedt 1As I was cycling towards Tönisvorst on the start of this little journey I could see a church spire and a bit chimney close to each other – it turns out this was Oedt. No doubt the chimney is a very useful landmark for the locals – it’s visible in this photo.

Church and ChimneyThe chimney is for the company of Johannes Girmes & Co, founded in 1879.

 

22. Versöhnungskirche, Oedt

Bergweg 2, 47929 Grefrath-Oedt

http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/grefrath-oedt.php

This is the Evangelische church for Oedt and was less than 200 metres from St Vitus.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt 1You can see the Girmes chimney in the background as well.

The church had a plaque on the front that showed it was built in 1957. I think I prefer the red brick look to the white concrete of most of the other Evangelische churches I have visited so far.

I tried the door to the right hand side of the church and, lo and behold, it opened!

There was this painting that I rather liked as you walked in the door.

Versöhnungskirche Painting

There was a lady pottering about in the kitchen to the side and she came out to see me. I explained I was visiting lots of churches and asked if I could have a look inside the main sanctuary. She said of course, took out some keys (it was locked) and unlocked it for me so I could have a peek in.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt 2

I asked about the white ribbons on the chairs – were they for a wedding? She said no, for their confirmation service which was taking place this Sunday.

The church had some very faintly-coloured windows.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt Windows

The lady then decided to show me around the rest of the church – it has several rooms which she said they let out to lots of groups in Oedt.

This was the main hall – it was prepared for the choir practice later that evening.

Versöhnungskirche Oedt Church Hall

I commented that choirs seemed really popular in churches. She thought it odd that most UK churches don’t have one. I guess it depends what you’re used to but I, for one, like the fact there’s plenty of chance to join a singing or other music group in Germany.

She then showed me another room which had a divider from the previous room (but the whole area could be opened out). This was set out for a social tea and cake afternoon that would be happening there shortly. And, yes, there was a black-forest gateau on the table. I left without stealing any!

Versöhnungskirche Oedt Cake EventThe lady told me she was 82 and still very much involved in the church. It gave the impression of a place that was well used which was nice to see.

23. Kreuzkapelle, Kempen

An der Kreuzkapelle, 47906 Kempen
http://www.st-mariae-geburt-kempen.de/unsere-kirchen/kreuzkapelle.html

I visited this very small chapel on the way back from a random cycle ride to Krefeld. The track I’ve included is from the Kreuzkapelle home, rather than the wiggly track of my outward journey as well.

Track to Kreuzkapelle

The Chapel is situated on the edge of what is currently a building site for new homes on the south side of Kempen. I realised I was in the right place, though, because of the name of the road – Alter Prozessionsweg.

Alter Prozessionsweg

The chapel was originally built in 1639 according to an inscription in the main door. The chapel was also mentioned by the Kempen chronicler Johannes Wilmius (1584-1655). It’s currently only open on Good Friday and for other special events – and it was most decidedly closed when I got there. The gate in the fencing around the chapel was locked and it was all quite overgrown so hard to see.

Kempener Kreuzkapelle

Kempener Kreuzkapelle 2

It also serves as the 12th Station of the Cross, apparently – I spotted two others on my ride into Kempen but haven’t been able to find out any more information about them.

Kempener Kreuzstation 1

Kempener Kreuzstation 4

24. St Cornelius, Tönisvorst-St Tönis

Kirchplatz 17, 47918 Tönisvorst-St Tönis

http://www.st-cornelius-st-toenis.de/

I decided to visit the two churches in Sankt Tönis (part of a general area called Tönisvorst) on the 22nd May 2014.

This was my route to these two churches from home.

Track to Sankt Toenis

As you can see, on the way back I diverted through Krefeld-Hüls (to have a slice of cake and to have more of a variety of roads for the journey).

St Cornelius is the church that you can see from a long way away as you approach Tönisvorst on the Landstraßen, although once you actually get into the town you can’t see the whole building.

St Cornelius ToenisvorstHere is the obligatory photo of Penelope outside the church.

Penelope outside St CorneliusThere has been a chapel or church on this site since 1380. Part of the current tower dates from 1483 but it was mostly rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century, with the rest of the neogothic brick basilica built from 1903. There was some damage in the second world war which was repaired fairly quickly.

As usual the church was locked (I guess the problem with the catholic churches is the expensive decoration within that can’t be left for random people to pinch bits!) but I was very impressed by these flying buttresses on the side!

St Cornelius Toenisvorst Flying Buttresses

25. Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Sankt Tönis

Hülser Straße 57, 47918 Tönisvorst

http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/st-toenis.php

This church was just a short distance from St Cornelius (which was slap bang in the centre of Sankt Tönis), along the road that leads out towards Krefeld.

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis

The flag that is flying to the right of the tower says ‘Kirche geöffnet’ – and indeed it was open!

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis Interior 1

I walked up to the balcony to have a bit more of a look.Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis Interior 2

You can see how plain these Evangelische churches are. In some ways I quite like it but it doesn’t always feel that warm.

Outside was the now-familiar bell tower out on its own.

Evangelische Kirchengemeinde St Toenis belltower

26. St Remigius, Viersen

Goetersstraße 8, 41747 Viersen

http://www.st-remigius-viersen.de/remigius/index.php

I wanted to cycle to Viersen to check out the VHS (Volkshochschule, a kind of adult education college) so headed off on the 45km round trip. As I passed right by the main church in the centre of Viersen, St Remigius, I decided to stop and have a quick look. Here’s my track for the day, including an unfortunate diversion when I made the mistake of following official cycle route signs!

Track to Viersen and SuechtelnAnyway, here is St Remigius, a rather attractive light-coloured church but one which it was impossible to get in the frame!

St Remigius Viersen

There was a nice pedestrian square outside the church but it was still impossible to get a view of the whole building!St Remigius Tower

As Penelope wasn’t in the last two shots I decided to get a picture of her whilst eating a cake at a café which faced the church.Penelope and St Remigius ViersenI couldn’t find any historical information about this church on the website or elsewhere, unfortunately. Maybe some locals to Viersen can tell me a bit more about it!

 

27. St Franziskus, Süchteln-Vorst

Franziskusstraße, Süchteln-Vorst

http://www.st-clemens-suechteln.de/

As part of my unexpected diversion I cycled right by this church so stopped to take a photo.

St Franziskus Suechteln There were a few children hanging around outside this church on a Friday afternoon and I see from the website that there’s a kindergarten affiliated to it (although these children were too old for that), so it seems as though they have some events for youth as well.

However, once again I couldn’t find out any information about the history and buildings of this church on their website.

28. St Mariä Himmelfahrt, Bracht

Kirchplatz, 41379 Brüggen-Bracht

http://www.st-mariae-himmelfahrt-bracht.de/

I visited this church, and the two others in Bracht, on the way back from a gathering of recumbent trikes and velomobiles just over the border in the Netherlands. Here’s the route for the ride to Bracht.

Ride to Bracht track

St Mariä Himmelfahrt (which I visited on the day of Christi Himmelfahrt which seemed fitting) was another of the churches that are set in the centre of the town with buildings clustered around it. It was therefore impossible to get a photo of the whole church.

I caught this glimpse of the tower above a beergarden.

St Mariae Himmelfahrt 2

Here is Penelope outside the front door.

St Mariae Himmelfahrt 1

There seemed rather a lack of information about this church on the website – well, there was plenty of info about events taking place there but nothing much about its history!

29. Evangelische Kirche, Bracht

Königstraße/Ecke Marktstraße, 41379 Brüggen

http://www.ekir.de/krefeld/kirchenkreis/bracht-breyell.php

Just along the main street from the Catholic church was the Evangelische Kirche, looking initially just like one of the other buildings and houses along the road except for its spire.

Ev Kirche Bracht

It had this plaque on the wall with a short summary of its history.

Ev Kirche Bracht plaque

30. Evangelisch – Freikirchliche Gemeinde, Bracht

Stifterstraße 18-20, 41379 Brüggen-Bracht

http://www.baptisten-bracht.de/

This church is a baptist church (the first I’ve seen on my travels in Kreis Viersen, which is interesting compared to the UK which has a lot of baptist churches).

Baptist Bracht

The church has been in Bracht for 30 years and, as a free church, is not part of the state system. Their website says “membership of our church is of your own free will”. What this also means is that they don’t get church tax money so rely on the congregation to financially support them. They have a pastor and a couple of other church workers.

On the day that I visited, Christi Himmelfahrt, the whole road had been decorated!

Christi Himmelfahrt Decorations 2

Here is a close-up:

Christi Himmelfahrt Decorations 1

A look through their website gives the impression that this is very similar to a lot of the baptist churches in the UK, of the more conservative angle.

So I have now visited 30 of the 112 churches I have identified (green star means I have visited it, purple diamond means I have attended a service there, red pin means it is yet to be visited by bike)

All Churches Screenshot

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