Express trains are also referred to as fast trains, though this is a relative term, fast meaning faster than some other trains on the line since they make only a small number of stops instead of stopping at every single station.
We took the train to Amsterdam and pedalled back to Munich. Were we fast, were we slow? That’s a relative term. Actually, it’s the blog that’s going to be an express here. I wanted to cover our four-week bicycle trip with a post that doesn’t stop at every station. So here goes.
We hadn’t worked out our tour in detail but we had pinpointed a few stops on the map of our route: visit friends in Den Haag, and while we were still in the Netherlands stop by the Kröller-Müller Museum near Arnhem. Continuing west into Germany we also wanted to see the Documenta, the world’s largest modern art exhibition which takes place every five years in Kassel, and visit friends who live there. After that the trip was open end.
As everyone knows, The Netherlands is a bicyclist’s paradise. Everyone rides a bicycle and there are signposted bicycle paths leading to almost any point in the country. Another boon for the cyclist is that Holland is flat. The only snag is that it can be very windy and a hefty headwind is worse than any mountain – almost.
We were blessed with tailwinds the whole time we were there. From Amsterdam we rode to Haarlem and Leiden, both beautiful cities with intact historic centers. We took a harbor tour of Rotterdam and got a look at its innovative modern architecture. A couple days more of cycling took us to the Veluwe National Park which houses an amazing museum of modern art, the Kröller-Müller Museum, and Sculpture Garden.
On to Germany and the hilly part of the ride began. Hills are work on a bike but they are also a treat for the eyes, breaking the monotony of a straight horizon. The hills of Westfalia and Hesse aren’t high, but still we had some substantial climbs and beautiful views before we reached Kassel.
This year’s Documenta, dOCUMENTA 13, was spread out over the whole city, many museums and parks were venues for showing the works of modern and some not so new artists, all interesting and thought-provoking. It wouldn’t have been hard to spend at least a week there, or all summer, discovering different aspects of the Documenta.
After Kassel, we weren’t sure which direction our trip should take. To the east? Or home? We decided to head south for Munich, another nine days by bike. It had been a fabulous trip so far and I was beginning to feel that I couldn’t absorb a whole lot more new impressions. After covering 1,200 kilometers we were back in Munich.
Putting our month of cycling in a few paragraphs is more like a TGV, the French high-speed rail, than an Express, just a blur as everything whizzes by.
Here are some pictures. To view the gallery, just click on an image and view as a slideshow. If you want the milk train, you can read my journal, a day-by-day account of the trip with lots more pictures.