Day 20 Ouren to Bastogne (57 km)

24/9/16

We awoke to a bitterly cold morning in the valley. It was hard to get moving and pack, the girls were also feeling the cold and finally we had to strap them into the trailer covered in jackets to keep them warm while we finished packing.

We headed back the way we had arrived. Immediately out of the campground we had some short but very steep sections to negotiate before getting back to the main road. We passed a group of cyclists stopping for a morning coffee and for the second day running had shouts of “allez allez allez” and commentaries regarding Emilie being the one towing. I swear I towed that trailer sometimes.

Back on the Vennbahn it was 20 km to Troisvierges, Luxembourg. From the beginning of the Vennbahn there was excellent signage and road surface, however, as we got closer to the end both deteriorated. Gradients were also much higher than the 2% max promised, up to around 9% in some places.

As we approached Troivierges we had to make our way through several points of extensive roadworks which had been made passable for a person to pick their road bike up and walk through but with the trailer we had to unhitch and really work to wrestle our way across.

Towards the end of the Vennhahn in Luxembourg, we stopped to read some really interesting interpretive signage which related the stories of the people and area in aiding the passage of Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. However, the arrival at the terminus of the Vennbahn in Troivierges was underwhelming…….it just ends …not even a sign to say “hey, you’ve made it!”. It was kind of strange when at times along the route there was a marker for every 1/2 kilometer.

Out of Troisvierges, we took a 10 km ride west across Luxembourg towards Belgium and the L163 Ravel, using quiet back roads. We stopped just the other side of Wincrange for a lunch of bread and tinned mackeral (delicious!).

We connected with the L163, another really nice converted railway line and headed south-west towards Bastogne. Along the way we had to negotiate even more challenging road work obstacles, in the form of bridges under repair.  All the asphalt had been removed and a single lane was available to ride along, just wide enough for a bike with no panniers, it was fenced off with orange warning sign tape. We had to duck under the tape and use boards and old pallets to make ramps both down and up out of the construction.

Just outside of Bastogne the L163 passes Jack’s wood, made famous by the series Band of Brothers. We stopped briefly to take a quick walk in the wood and see the small memorial to the men of Easy Company. From there, the cycle way traverses Bastogne and we made our way to Camping de Renval. It seemed like more of a trailer park than a camp ground, people seemed like they lived there. The facilities were not in good repair and the dog turds all over the grassed area for campers was not to my taste (not that I ate any, my shoes still smelt from stepping in some a few days earlier).

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To see the route, elevation profile, etc., click the link to Ride with GPS below (it should be able to be embedded but WordPress does not allow this).

//rwgps-embeds.com/trips/11217452/embed?privacy_code=3CSnus2vPrNASe4J

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