Kempen 13 March – a walk, a ride and a sing

What a beautiful morning!

Helped by the fact I had a wonderful night’s sleep. This might be due to one of the features of this Ferienwohnung (holiday accommodation) proudly listed on their website:

bedroom with new 7 zone-cold foam mattresses

Or it might be just that I was incredibly tired!

Anyway, I was woken by Poppy whining a little in her crate (she sleeps in it overnight). I let her out and she stood by the door to the apartment so I decided she needed a loo trip. It was 7:30am so I threw on some clothes and came down the stairs quietly; it turned out that the house owner’s car had gone so they obviously got up before me. Poppy seemed to appreciate the chance for the loo and I definitely appreciated the landscape with its snow and frost and sunshine. It may have been minus 11 degrees celsius but the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.

When we got back in I went back to bed for half an hour and then decided to get up and make the most of the day.

Normally at home I do my cycling in the morning and then use the afternoon for walking the dog and working. As we’re in unfamiliar surroundings I decided it might be better to take her for her walk in the morning and do my cycling in the afternoon (so she’s tired and can just sleep whilst I am away). This also means it would hopefully not be as perishingly cold when I go out riding and my brakes might have a chance to unfreeze.

So after general faffing and getting ready Poppy and I stepped out at 10am for our walk to Sankt Hubert, the nearest village (about a mile away) to buy some fresh rolls for lunch.

Here are some asparagus rows although I’m a couple of months too early to see any veg.

In the distance you can see the church spire for Sankt Hubert church and also a mill on the right hand side.

This is looking back at Escheln, the hamlet where I am staying.20130313-115859.jpg

Here is the church of Sankt Hubert. Sorry the picture isn’t entirely lined up – I had Poppy on the lead and she kept moving my arm as I was trying to take a pic!

There is a free violin and organ concert at this church on Sunday afternoon so I might go along to that.

I liked this painting on the side of a building.

Here it is zoomed in. No wonder the dog is happy that he lives here, he seems to have an entire salami in his mouth!

At a small crossroads in the middle of the village I found two bakeries and a café/konditorei. Not bad at all! I went into the smaller bakery and made my selection for this afternoon. This was some of what I had to choose from!

Outside the bakery was a large fountain statue which had a plaque to explain who Sankt Hubert was.

Poppy and I headed off back to the apartment. She was off the lead as soon as we left the houses of Sankt Hubert.

There were some snowdrifts still that surprised her.

Although cold it was a wonderful day for walking.

It’s less than a mile from Sankt Hubert back to Escheln.

I’m two months early for the asparagus season, as mentioned before, but apparently it’s sold here. Not sure why the cow is painted like a strawberry!20130313-120123.jpg

When we got back Poppy settled down in her favourite chair (good thing I have brought some throw covers with me from the UK)

And soon fell asleep.20130313-120150.jpg

I had some lunch (the Brötchen I had bought today and some cheese and ham – after all, I am in Germany) and then it was time to go out cycling.

As usual I’ve been looking online at various cycling routes around here and I had downloaded three different ones to try out (that I had found on I decided to do one called “Kempen-RundtourNr01-GemütlicheFahradtour.gpx” as it sounded rather nice!

I extracted Alfie from the garage. Here he is in front of Ferienwohnung Bienenstock.

This is the route that I took
13 March Track

We set off anticlockwise, heading first in a north-westerly direction (into wind, but fortunately the wind wasn’t too strong).

The blue sky of this morning had changed into cloud so it felt a bit cooler but it was decent cycling weather and I had my thermals on.

Very soon I arrived at an invisible wall (with a sign to warn me about it).

A common view around here – wind turbines

Here is Alfie being dwarfed by a turbine.

This is a pic for James – yet another German concrete factory!

Soon I arrived in Wachtendonk. I’ve been here before, when I was in Nettetal last August.

Up till now the route had been asphalt all the way, although generally super-quiet routes (I only saw a couple of cars in five miles). But now I was on a track which wasn’t quite as good and still snowy although I made reasonable progress.

There was also a pretty narrow bridge!

I liked this house!

Leaving Wachtendonk there was another of these signs that show all the different cycle routes – they can get rather complicated!20130313-175640.jpg

Another unusual house, this time in Vinkrath. It would have looked better in the middle of nowhere rather than in a small cul-de-sac of brick houses.

Arriving in Grefrath, which someone seems to have subtitled T-Recs.

The centre of Grefrath. Where was everyone?

From Grefrath to Kempen is four and a half miles and it appeared to be mostly on the disused railway line. I used this route from Nettertal from Grefrath a couple of times last August, now I was going on a further section. Lovely smooth asphalt.

More railway route.

I stopped a couple of women out walking to ask if they would photograph me.

I am actually in Kempen here but this fantastic cycle path continues! You can just see the tower of a church to the right of the path.

And here is the church – a very unusual building. My iPhone camera struggled to get the lighting right, and failed!

This sign is presumably left over from the railway.

This fab cycle route curled round Kempen’s very centre to the east side and then led me through an industrial estate (which was quite nice, not like a UK industrial estate!) and then under a main road, heading towards Sankt Hubert. I rather liked this graffiti on the bridge – politer than normal!

I had walked past this steel structure twice today and failed to notice it!

I was in familiar territory now and headed back, detouring slightly to check out the location of the vet with whom I have an appointment on Monday morning. The road to his place was still surprisingly snowy!

Statistics for this ride:
Distance: 24.13 miles
Moving time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Average speed: 9.65mph
Maximum speed: 19.48mph
Average Heart Rate: 122
Maximum Heart Rate: 157
Calories burned: 1024

When I got home I had a cup of tea and ate my wonderful cake – a kind of apple and cinnamon pastry thing.

And the packet tells me that it’s not only tasty (lecker) but also healthy (gesund). I may need to eat some more to further improve my health!

I had a little play of the piano and the landlady, Gudula, heard me. She came up to ask if I liked singing (I said I did) and whether I’d like to come along to their choir practice this evening. Sounded like a plan so off we went to the Ev. Kirchgemeinde Sankt Hubert and did some singing. In my honour (!!!) we sang a couple of songs in English – Danny Boy and All Around My Hat, both of which I knew but not the alto part but I managed. Gudula is a soprano, I joined the altos and they found me all the music I needed and we had a good sing.

Afterwards, rather amazingly, we had wine and nibbles and drinks.



This isn’t every practice, it was because three of the choir members had birthdays this week, but was very cool. We also sang happy birthday to them (in English) except for the “Dear so-and-so” when we sang “Liebe so-and-so). It was a most enjoyable evening and I had a wide-ranging discussion on the UK and Germany in the EU, the financial crisis, the difference between the American mindset and the UK mindset and more.

As we left the church there was fresh snow – here’s hoping it’s cleared by the morning. Still, it’s been an interesting and varied day and it was great to meet some of the choir members and sing with them.


  1. very well done! I think there are a lot of things to discover in the area “Niederrhein” so you can fill your diary day by day…
    If you need any help you know how to find me.
    Greetings from Gudula

  2. Hi Helen, fantastic diary about your trips to Germany, very interesting! It was nice to meet you on Wednesday night at the choir practice. I hope you have a good time with lovely trips on Alfie, and I´d like to see you again next year. By the way: If you are interested in visiting a concert, I recommend you to go to the Thomaskirche on Sunday 5 p.m. The link is
    Best wishes for you, Anja

  3. Just realised that’s a different concert/church than the one I Was thinking about (there is a concert at the Catholic church in St Hubert as well). This one is more my style of music so I shall go along to that!

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