Nettetal – To Kempen and Viersen (Monday 13 August 2012)

The cracking weather in Nettetal continues – forecast for the next seven days is sunshine and warmth (between 25 and 29 degrees each day). So ideal weather for a walking and cycling holiday.

This morning I decided to keep with my schedule of walking the dog in the morning and then going out for a cycle ride on my own this afternoon whilst she sleeps. So after an hour’s work Poppy and I headed off into Lobberich to get some bread rolls for lunch and also to have a bit of a look around the town on foot.

It is about one and a half miles’ walk to the centre of Lobberich and the first mile of that had Poppy off the lead running around and carrying an enormous stick I had thrown for her. Lots of passers-by commented to me about her, asking if she was really young (as she’s so small) and they were generally surprised to discover that she’s over two years old.

She was back on the lead as we walked through Lobberich to the centre (which is fairly obvious as there’s a huge church with a double spire you can see from a long way away). It was Poppy’s first shopping trip and she got rather bored waiting for me as I looked at birthday cards and talked to the Vodafone man in the shop about my phone contract but I suppose it can’t have been that interesting for her! I arrived at a bakery to buy the rolls and couldn’t see anywhere to tie Poppy up to – the woman in the shop told me Pops could come in, so she got to stand in a bakery for the first time in her life. Must have been very exciting for her!

As well as the bread rolls I bought an apple pastry thingie to have when I got back to the apartment

Whilst I was in Lobberich I saw this rather unfortunately-named hair salon:

We walked back the way we came and I noticed this sign just as we were about to get on the cycle/footpath to Sassenfeld

This tells you it’s the meeting point for a cycle ride on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30. I think I had read something about this before and had thought I might go along – I assume it’s some kind of guided ride around the locality, so that might well be my bike trip tomorrow.

After I got home and ate the apple pastry and the rolls for lunch (and did a bit more work) it was time to set off on my afternoon cycle ride.

Once again I had downloaded a GPSies route.

This route went across to Kempen which I haven’t visited before. I set off on familiar roads heading northwards. I realised that I was going to go on that off-road forest track I followed yesterday which I didn’t fancy so worked out my own on-road diversion which was much better. I arrived at Glabbach and then went north east and once again found myself at Mariendonk. All GPSies routes seem to have to go past the Mariendonk church. I had wondered yesterday if it was a monastery as it seemed to have loads of buildings attached; the mystery was solved today – there were about five nuns coming out of a gateway on bicycles about to set off for a ride in their habits. A convent then.

It was a lovely day for cycling, really warm and with blue skies. There were far fewer cyclists on the road now that it’s no longer the weekend but there were still plenty. Most say “hallo” as you pass which is very friendly.

It didn’t seem to take long at all to arrive in Kempen which was a very quaint place. I could see on my Garmin satnav that it had a very interesting road arrangement which you can see below:

I have Wikipediaed it and discovered that it was a very old town that was fortified in 1290. Not only that, it’s the birthplace of Thomas à Kempis. The pedestrianised part was very attractive with loads of cafés and restaurants but I didn’t need to stop.

I headed south out of Kempen following the GPS route which took me along a lot of cycle paths and through quiet cul-de-sacs, eventually spitting me out into the countryside again. There was one unfortunate stretch of path which was very trike-unfriendly but it was only about half a mile and I managed it.

The sun was getting low now as it was 4pm and I found it hard to see my Garmin (I was wearing polarising sunglasses that don’t help) so in fact missed a turning and overshot to Oedt. It was easy enough to plot an intercept route to the correct route which I did.

From Oedt I went to Hagen. Like the whole region it seems to be intensively farmed and there’s always lots going on with tractors and more.

I then went a little further south and arrived in Viersen which is the overarching term for the local area consisting of several smaller towns. Viersen is the local car numberplate sign as well – all the cars round here start with VIE. Anyway, I found myself in the town centre of what I thought was Viersen (and I photographed the church) but which I now think might be Süchteln, looking at the downloaded GPS track.

It was a surprising climb out of Süchteln which was hot work and also involved trying to outrun some mosquitoes. I found myself climbing through some woodland which was a bit cooler, although the track was a bit too bumpy to make the most of the subsequent downhill run.

I then found myself in Dornbusch which had this church

As I was slowly starting off on the trike after stopping for the photographed I was overtaken by a young couple on bikes. I was able to overtake them fairly soon after when I had got up to speed – they were the first people to overtake me so far this holiday!

When I got to Dyck the GPS route seemed to be heading off on a bit of a diversion (there were a few of these, some of which I cut the corner on as I couldn’t see the point). I could see the twin steeples of Lobberich church, plus the cycle path signs, so I decided to leave the route and follow my nose. I was soon in Lobberich where I stopped at Lidl for some food for this evening before heading back along the oft-used cycle path to Sassenfeld.

Another nice day’s ride!

Total distance: 28.91 miles
Moving time: 2 hours 39 minutes
Average speed: 10.9 mph
Average heart rate: 115
Maximum heart rate: 163
Calories burned: 878

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