Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Cycling In Germany

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                                     AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                   
Cycling Germany
These are rides that we did in Germany, includes day rides and some bike-packing too.
Click on the respective photo to go the that particular blog. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cycling Europe 2017 Days 12 & 13: Arnhem To Dusseldorf - Cycling In Dusseldorf

                                     AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                   
Cycling Europe 2017 Days 12 & 13: Arnhem To Dusseldorf - Cycling Dusseldorf 
United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Netherlands & Germany : Days 12 & 13 - Friday & Saturday,  8th-9th September - Arnhem to Dusseldorf
This is part of cycling tour of Western Europe, covering from Arnhem to Düsseldorf.
Cycling Distance - 7.27 km.     Level: Very easy.
Cycling Time : 10:15am to 3:00pm
Time Taken : 4 hrs. 45 mins. (inclusive of visits to churches, museums, riverside promenade; stops for lunch, and many photo opps).

This is page 10 of a 13-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D11 Arnhem         |        Go to Other Days      |      Go to D14-15 Maastricht >

Route Recommendations :
1. Traffic Directions!
        On the Continental Europe, vehicles are left-hand drive, so cycle on the right. And do remember the traffic directions at road crossing. Also note that often cycling lanes run next to pedestrian lanes at town and city areas, at crossings there are separate lanes for pedestrians and bicycles, so stick to the correct lane.

2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
    This is an easy route around Düsseldorf's old town.
    For planning cycling routes in Europe, Cycle Travel which has a very user-friendly cycle travel trip planner, routes using this planner can be saved and also converted to GPX format for use in GPS devices.  

3. Weather
    AArnhem, the day weather was a cold in the early morning at 12°C and drizzling rain with wind speed averaging 17 kph with gusts up to 30 kph. At Dusseldorf the following day; morning temperatures averaged between 15°C to 19°C with winds speed averaging  with intermittent drizzling through out the day. Evening temperature was warmer averaging at 19°C and wind speed averaging 19 kph with gusts up to 30 kph.
    It is always prudent to check the weather for the next day so as to know what to expect and be prepared for it. Useful weather forecast sites are BBC WeatherAccuWeather and Weather Spark.

4. Places of Interest
Düsseldorf's old town at Marktplatz (GPS: 51.22587, 6.77201)
- Old clock tower (GPS: 51.2256, 6.77021) at the Rheinuferpromenade (GPS: 51.22702, 6.77085).
- The Rheinkniebrücke Bridge (GPS: 51.2213, 6.76342)Oberkasslerbrüke Bridge (GPS: 51.23161, 6.76822)Rheinturm (Rhine Tower) (GPS: 51.21794, 6.76168) and Rheinwiesen State Park (GPS: 51.22684, 6.76337) viewed from the Rheinuferpromenade (GPS: 51.22702, 6.77085).
- St. Lambertus Church (GPS: 51.22821, 6.77164).
- The four caryatids statues at Vier Karyatiden (GPS: 51.22749, 6.77549).
- Schifffahrtsmuseum (Maritime Museum) (GPS: 51.22739, 6.77112).

5. Food
8th September -
   - Breakfast: A good and wide-spread continental breakfast inclusive at Arnhem Antonius B&B (GPS: 51.99068, 5.91274) in Arnhem.
   - Lunch: Take-away sandwiches and pastries.
   - Dinner: German pork knuckles at Brauerei Schumacher (GPS: 51.22155, 6.7855) in Düsseldorf.
9th September in Düsseldorf -
   - Breakfast: Take-away sandwiches and pastries.
   - Lunch: German pork knuckles at Schweine Janes (GPS: 51.226, 6.77281).
   - Dinner: Chinese dishes at Tsun-Gai Chinese Restaurant (GPS: 51.21949, 6.78538).

6. Accommodations
    We stayed two nights at the Bellevue Hotel (GPS: 51.21711, 6.78685) which we had pre-booked online a 3-pax room and a 2-pax at €166 and €128 respectively for two nights. 
    Address: Luisenstraße 98-100, 40215 Düsseldorf, Germany.
    Phone : +49-211384140

7. Bringing Bikes Onto Trains
    The European local trains allow any bicycles on board, but there is a fare to be paid for the bicycles. To avoid this, we folded and bagged our bicycles before bringing them into the stations. Details on bringing bikes onto European trains can be obtained from the site. 
     We took the intercity Spurt (Dutch Railways) Train from Arnhem to Düsseldorf. at a fare of €5-60 per pax. Click here to go to their ticket booking site.

8. Communicating with Each Other
    When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost.
    We got pre-paid SIM cards from UK mobile provider Three under the All-in-One #15 deal for only £15/= from one of their outlets in Bristol (GPS: 51.45735, -2.59074). This plan lasts for 30 days and allows for 5GB Data, 3,000 minutes of call time & 3,000 text messages within the system. More importantly it has their "Feel At Home" which allow the phone's data, call and messaging allowance to be used in sixty countires (mostly European and also Singapore) without any extra charges!

9. Communicating with Locals
    In the Netherlands, almost all the locals can speak English.
    When communicating with locals is a problem, this could be partly overcome by using translation apps like Google Translate. Do install this app into your phone and before you leave on your tour do some basic translation as it will be saved onto a list of recent translations.
    Look out for the tourist information booths at airports, railway stations or bus stations, the guides manning the booths speak very good English and do give good tips on where to visit, directions, train and bus schedule.

10. Navigation
    As Bill had pre-planned the route and had loaded the GPX route file onto his Garmin GPS unit. I was the assistant navigator and had loaded the route maps onto my unit too.

11. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads and the relevant tools.


The previous day we had cycled from Amsterdam to Arnhem riding along one of the one of the longest dedicated cycling bridge; and at the tail end rode along some pleasant, shady woods before ending our ride at Antonius B&B, which was the best place that we stayed in during our tour.
This next two days we will cross over to Düsseldorf in Germany and spend two nights there.


 Cycling route: Bellevue Hotel>Marktplatz>Rheinuferpromenade>St. Lambertus Church>Schifffahrtsmuseum>Vier Karyatiden>Bellevue Hotel.
The route goes around Düsseldorf's old town to view the old buildings, churches, museums and artwork.


We woke up to a wonderful surprise at Antonius B&B. Jayson the owner had prepared a lovely breakfast for us, one that easily beats those from many restaurants. It was a good spread of breads & buns, warm soft croissants, tarts and cookies; complemented by a large basket of fruits, chocolates and very good tea & coffee.
Most touching was the "thank you" note that he had left on the table for us. It's this nice little touches that made his place so welcoming.

It was drizzling with a cold wind blowing, so we instead of cycling we decided to take a train to Düsseldorf. We donned our raincoat tops and the black "ah mah" looking Gelert pack-away raincoat pants; with a tinge of sadness we waved goodbye to Jayson and rode into the cold rain.

At Arnhem Centraal Station, we bought our tickets and boarded the 12:44pm Spurt train to head for Düsseldorf. It's a 3-hours ride on this Dutch operated train that took us pass farmlands and small towns; and somewhere after Babberich we smoothly crossed into Germany without us noticing it! That's the good thing about travelling in the European Union; no hassle of alighting for tedious, time-consuming customs and immigration checks.

At mid-afternoon we arrived at the Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof (Dusseldorf Central Station) and rode a short distance to the Bellevue Hotel where we would stay for two nights. We had chosen our hotel well, it's only a short distance from the station and soon we were in warm beds for a good afternoon siesta.
It was still drizzling in the evening when we too a walk out to look for some good food. We ended up at Brauerei Schumacher, a German Restaurant with a long tradition of making good German Alt (ale). I took this photo of a waiter and me. Dang! The Germans are tall, or perhaps I am a shortie; and the waiter was being polite, stooping a bit so that I did not appear so short 😅.

The girls and me shared this mixed platter so that we could savor both a roasted pork knuckes and some German sausages too. The knuckles was very good but we found the sausages just okay only.

Bil and Meng went for their boiled knuckles (it's the first time I am seeing knuckles done this way) which came with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. I had a nip of it and found the meat to be tender and juicy AND the skin really slurpy soft.

Of course while here, we did not miss their Schumacher Alt to go with the good food. With 175 years of beer making it's the oldest ale in Düsseldorf and is brewed according to old family traditional. Their special malt mixture ensures the slightly malty note with a beautiful amber color. With its powerful foam, smooth bitterness and and rounded aroma, this beer tasted great!

A testament to the good food - knuckles gleaned to the bones!

The following day we were eager to stretch our cycling legs again, ready to go explore Düsseldorf's old town center (Altstadt) on our bicycles. Dang! it was still raining. We had thought of waiting for the rain to stop, but Bil with more experience in cycling in Europe, advised that the rain may not stop and it could continue on for the whole day. And it was merely a drizzle (although a cold one) and nothing compared to our torrential tropical thunderstorms. So without wasting anymore time we headed out to see the city.

Our first stop was Marktplatz, the old town square. The drizzle has abated a bit but the skies are still overcast so this photo did not turn out all that well. Never mind, we will come back later.
At the center of the the square is the equestrian statue of Jan Wellem (Johann Wilhelm II) and next to him is the Rathaus, the town hall.

Around this area are some nice artwork. Above is one that shows a court jester stealing a blue anchor while a red lion with two tails comes after him. The blue anchor and red lion are part of Dusseldorf's city flag and coat of arms.
(... see more of Düsseldorf's art)

It was a wet promenade at the Rheinuferpromenade (Rhine Promenade) when we arrived but the place was fairly busy with tourists. There two levels, on is the street level where cycling is allowed on the pavement. The other is the lower level which serves to handle shipping but these days most of the lower levels are occupied by shops and restaurants.
From the photo above on the far left the Rheinturm (Rhine Tower) shoots skywards, in front of it is the Rheinkniebrücke Bridge. To the right is the Oberkasslerbrüke (Oberkasseler Bridge)the oldest of the Düsseldorf Rhine bridges, although not in its present form. Both bridges are of similar design and this makes asymmetrical of the riverside. On the far right the is the round tower of the Schifffahrtsmuseum and behind it is the St. Lambertus Church.

The old Pegeluhr clock tower at the RP. It's not a very tall tower but stands out prominently here because of its unique design. It also shows the current water level of the river.

A close up look of the Rheinturm (Rhine Tower). Completed in 1981 and standing at 174.5 meters high, it is the tallest building in Düsseldorf. It carries aerials for directional radio, FM and TV transmitters and houses a revolving restaurant and an observation deck at a height of 170 meters. 

Across the Rhine, on the other bank is the Rheinwiesen State Park. This here is a section of the large and wide-ranging Rhine meadows between the Rheinkniebrücke Bridge and Oberkasslerbrüke Bridge which is a popular fairground for various events. Every year, the Rheinwiesen become the largest funfair in Düsseldorf as part of the Rheinkirmes. Held in the third week of July, last for ten days and attracts more than four million visitors annually.

The rain had stopped for the time being and we rode round more casually seeing colourful posters such as this one portraying a really foxy hippy couple. Power to the flower people, YEAH!

And saw more artwork:
Statue of Jesus on the cross at Calvary Hill together with the Penitent thief - at abutting external wall of St. Lambertus.

Mother Mary with crucified Jesus - internal shrine St. Lambertus.

Come lunch time it was to Schweine Janes for pork knuckles. Pork knuckles AGAIN? Yes, after all we will be in Germany for two days and this one year is one of the favorites in the city. Here the kitchen is an open one and where the chef can be seen piercing the knuckles onto a large skewer.

We could see rows of knuckles being roasted on fiery burners, sort of like our local barbecued chicken wings but on a larger scale. Need I say how good these knuckles were?
(... read more on Schweine Janes)

Post lunch we rode around some more and went into the Schifffahrtsmuseum for a long visit. This is a maritime museum with exhibits showing the influence of the city on the Rhine river trade since centuries ago. It is housed in a round tower, the only structure left of the Dusseldorf's City Palace.

There were maritime maps, posters showing the chronological growth of the Rhine as a transportation route. But I was most attracted to the dioramas of the ships that plied the river. The above shows a Viking war boat next to a Medieval Man-of-war.

The development of naval vehicles proceeded onwards into the Renaissance period, this on shows a paddle powered river desilting barge made from wood.

And then forward to the paddle steamers of the 19th century.

The rain had stopped and the sun had come out (for a short while) and we were back at  Marktplatz, this time getting a perfect view of Equestrian statue of Jan Wellem (Johann Wilhelm II). This is a bronze statue by Gabriël de Grupello sculpted in 1711.

And a quick stop at Vier Karyatiden to admire the four caryatids, statues that are  the personifications of music, painting, sculpture and architecture. Here we are complementing the artwork in our classic knee-up-the-rack "AhPek Biker" pose.

Our return route was via the beautiful tree-lined Stadtgraben, a short canal that runs through the center of the city. It is part of the former moat on the eastern fortification of the city.

After another siesta (the cool rainy weather does make one sleepy), it was out for dinner. This time it's some Chinese food at Tsun-Gai Restaurant. It was a welcomed change after two rounds of German Pork Knuckles, haha!

But we could not get away from roasted pork and had this Chinese-style one with very crunchy skin.

(Gute Nacht!)

(For more photos of the Day 12, Click Here)
(For more photos of the Day 13, Click Here)
This is page 10 of a 13-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D11 Arnhem        |        Go to Other Days      |      Go to D14-15 Maastricht > 

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Cycling Japan Day 2 - Of Temples & Parks 8th November 2013
Senso-ji Temple, Ueno Park & Yanesan (old Tokyo).

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Europe / Cycling Netherlands-Cycling Germany / Cycling Europe 2017 / Days 12 & 13     |     Go To D1&2/D3/D4/D5/D6/D7/D8/D9&10/D11/D14&15/D16-18/D19-22
If you like this, view my other blogs at Jotaro's Blog
(comments most welcomed below. if you like this pls share via facebook or twitter)