Cycling around Zülpich

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Back at home, we bought a book with a lot of walking, cycling and even some canoeing routes in the Eifel. This book promoted Zülpich, in the North, as ideal for cycling: almost as flat as the Netherlands. It also listed a number of places in the Eifel where you could rent a bike. As you might have guessed, Zülpich wasn't among these places. Too bad !

We decided to give it a try anyway. Maybe there would be a nice bicycle shop that, if asked politely, will let us rent a couple of bikes. So, as soon as we arrived in Zülpich, we started looking for such a shop. Luckily enough, we found one. The bikes needed some fixing, but they would be ready for us the next day.

Bam & Jam with bicycles

Zülpich is a lot less touristy than some other places in the Eifel. There is only one hotel, and two guesthouses. The waitress in the restaurant was very amazed: "You're having your holidays here ??? In Zülpich ???". We could have told her Zülpich has four city wall towers, very beautiful Roman thermal baths and ... should be ideal for cycling. 

The Swan Lake

We had our first stop at this little lake, an ideal place to make a picture. Preferably with the inevitable two swans somewhere in the distance, of course. 

Right ! As soon as we stopped to make a picture, the bloody animals came closer like a bunch of speedboats. Nobody would call this 'in the distance'. These swans must be very, very hungry. We needed our cookies ourselves, so when we left, they were still hungry.

The next day we picked up our bikes. As soon as we left the city, we noticed our bikes were far from ideal. Only two (out of five) of the gears are working fine. Our wheels weren't straight: on perfectly flat asphalt it felt just the same as on the cobbled stones of Zülpich. And the first time we went downhill we noticed our breaks didn't work that well. But who cares !!

Not as flat as the Netherlands

At least in the beginning of the route, the landscape was as the book promised, almost as flat as the Netherlands. Almost, but not quite.
This is what they call a farm. It looks more like a castle to me.

Every 2 or 3 kilometre we pass through another village. This way, it's very easy to find your directions. Just head for the nearest church tower. And where there's a church, there might also be a bar. However: no coffee break for us; in most of those villages the bar was closed.

Finally, we came through a village with a Konditorei. So, let's call it lunch: coffee and cakes.

After lunch, the slightly more accented part of the route started. Slightly more accented, my arse. On those wretched German rental bikes those little hills felt like climbing Alpe d'Huez*. So here's a little word of advice: if you plan to go bicycling here, bring your own bikes.

*Alpe d'Huez: a mountain which is usually part of the tour the France and that most Dutch cyclists see as a challenge they can't resist. 

Knights and stuff

In Satzvey we stopped to visit Burg Satzvey, a neat looking castle. Once a week, they have 'real' knights here, fighting in a tournament. In the courtyard there are lots of shops, selling medieval things. On a Thursday in September there is no tournament and even the shops are closed. And we hoped to buy a jigsaw puzzle here of the castle with two swans on the lake!

Burg Satvey
The last part of the route was more or less flat again. The road straight to Zülpich appears to be the N265, and is crowded with cars. We chose a more quiet road; it was a bit longer, but offered a greater chance to make it to Zülpich with all your limbs still attached to your body.

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