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into winter

winter2009

This has been my most challenging trip ever. Moreover this was a trip in which I felt dearly connected to Mother Nature and the silence of the winter. Unlike my first winter trip in 2005, this time I was mostly camping in the wild, 2 out of 3 nights.

This one I did in 2009 and I followed a mix of routes made by Paul Benjaminse and the Europafietsers.

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    start in Maastricht

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    first night -14 Celsius

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    the Ardennes mountains range, till 800 meters

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    meaning: cold town ☺

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    -12 outside of the wood, -8 inside

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    cold an windy plateau, north of Luxemburg

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    Meeting my family: my parents had their golden wedding anniversary.

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    this funny feeling when waking up...

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    Yep, I am on a winter trip!

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    approaching Tionville

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    wow, canal crossing

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    From now on I was following on of the beautiful cycle route of Paul Benjaminse till the Ardèche.

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    Only on this day I has some rain, and the night after.

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    bye bye rain

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    silence of winter...

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    This is how boring grey days are 😉

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    I stayed in the community of Frère Roger in Taizé for a day.

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    Winter is not just silent.

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    Monastery of Le Corbusier.

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    second day with snow

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    Rhône valley

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    rand new cycle path along the Rhône

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    one of the touchingly beautiful bridges of the Rhône

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    heading into the Ardèche

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    third day with snow

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    Luckily the other side was free of snow. My bike wasn't really equipped for it.

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    camping on a sportsfield

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    booming tourism in summer here

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    the famous arc of the Ardèche

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    A precious moment. At a certain stage I would meet the first flower.

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    In this area some of the first European civilizations were living in caves.

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    Avignon

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    La Camargue looks a bit like Holland 😉

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    But we don't have these...

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    black bulls for the fights

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    first destination

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    There was lots of Mistral wind, shaping beautiful skies.

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    Saintes Maries de la Mère (the Holy Maries of the sea) is where the virgin Mary and Mary of Magdalene arrived after having left the Holy Country by ship.

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    They has a dark servant called Sara. Sara now is the saint of the gipsies, who massively visit this place for a pilgrimage end of May.

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    Arles

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    almond tree

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    mistral clouds

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    I decided to go back to winter, heading north.

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    skipped a bit by train

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    Italy in February

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    only one pass road from the sea

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    I tried the wine and it's good!

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    This sweetheart was restoring old bikes, selling them for very reasonable prices, up and running.

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    Simplon pass road. When I was 19 I also came here on a bike. Back then I took the train through the tunnel...

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    The guys at the border warned me about the northern storm.

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    Even though the pass road itself is not difficult at all, this was the most challenging thing I've ever done.

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    I treated myself for day off in the monastery / hostel at the top. As children we had been here often, but never stayed.

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    I needed all my gear for an early morning descend.

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    afternoon climb to Zermat

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    reached my destination

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    anther -18 night, now on snow (with leaking mattress)

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    the mountain I was in love with as a child

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    Guess what! The Rhône river, in an earlier stage.

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    The only bike traveller I met, cookin at the river bank. Oddly enough he decided to add more rice in his pot, in case someone would show up.

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    going home

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    in the train going through the old lötschbergtunnel.

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    the Swissest girl I ever saw

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