Monday June 1st
Holiday Inn Express Stansted
Up at 3.30, continental breakfast at 4am. Just coffee and toast. Funny watching other guests jostling for maximum breakfast stuff. Shuttle bus at 4.30 for £3 each.
Checked bags in. Security ok then battle to find somewhere to sit as place was rammed. Upstairs in Wetherspoons for coffee and bacon sandwich. Gate 43 for Ryan Air flight, 55 minutes flight time. Maybe 2/3 full.
Very small. Last two bags on carousel were ours. Jo sat outside in tiny seating area while Jon went for walk around old RAF Laarbruch airfield. Saw SHQ, cinema, library, MT yard, COC through the trees. Still looks very RAF like. Then little 12 seater bus for 18 euros each to Nijmegen.
Bus trip through Weeze and around Goch brought back loads of memories. Really not changed much. Alt Weeze, Nierspass, Pfalzdorf, Goch, then Nijmegen.
Toni’s waiting for us. Lovely smiley lady. Stopped at best bakery in Nijmegen. To Groesbeek and the Garden Room. Perfect. Lunch with Tonia in Africa House over the road then unpacking. Walk through Groesbeek and some shopping. Dinner in Africa then early night.
Tuesday 2nd June
Late breakfast in AH. Walk to Canadian War Cemetery. Drink in Old Windmill bar. Dinner in AH.
Wednesday 3rd June
Breakfast in AH. Walk to Museum. 10 euros each. Few hours there, really good. Quick shop on way back then dinner of chicken wraps in AH. Late to sleep after Airbnb session.
Thursday 4th June
Sunshine. Hot. Cycled to Mook through the woods, to Molenhoek and back (via a giant hill!). Sat by the river Maas and paddled. Spoke to Jacques then Ryan and Ella via Skype. All seems to work OK. Lovely to catch up with them all.
Friday 5th June
Met with Enricke (cyclist from Spain now living in Germany) who turned up on Tonia’s doorstep at 11pm. Also two ladies who are staying in the gypsy caravan. They are from the suburbs of Amsterdam. Very hot again but storm forecast for tonight. Andy called at 6 to ask if we wanted to go over so we showered and cycled to Molenhoek. Great to see Andy and Anya after all these years. Lovely house. Few beers and lots of stories. Thunderstorm and stayed the night.
Saturday 6th June
Coffee at Andys. Cycled back to Groesbeek. Bit of shopping. Lazy afternoon reading and planning. Invited to dinner with Andre and Tonia at 6. Great meal finished with desert up on lawn in sun.
Sunday 7th June
Walk into Groesbeek. Saw 5km, 10km races. Cycled to Mook and onto Andys for dinner. Ghostbusters pasta was good and met Anouk who was lovely. Special Japanese whisky before late cycle home.
Monday 8th June
Breakfast with Willie and Els. Cycled into Nijmegen. Beer and bitterbalen by the Gros markt. Cycled back via Africa Museum and Canadian Cemetery (round trip of 25km). Lazy evening.
Tuesday 9th June
Quiet day doing Airbnb and admin. Long walk around Groesbeek. Met couple from Gronigen in evening. Jon cooked Groesbeek Mashup for dinner.
Wednesday 10th June
Cycled to Plasmolen. Beer by the marina. Cycled on to Cuijk via Ferry to wool shop. Cycled to Mook then Molenhoek then back through woods to Groesbeek. 30 kms.
Thursday 11th June
Cycled to De Horst and then onto Kranenburg through the Reichswald. Beer and some cherry cake with cream at the bakery in Kranenburg. 20 kms on a very hot day.
Friday 12th June
Long walk round Groesbeek through the forest via the wool shop. Bumped into Andy on his bike after we’d looked at the burping bullfrogs. Shopping at Lidl then home. Very very hot.
Saturday 13th June
Quiet morning. Heavy rain. Left at 11.15 to go to bank then onto Andy’s for cup of tea, visit to stables in Boxmeer to see Anouk riding. Cycled to Groesbeek to look for new riding boots. Back to Molenhoek for a glass of wine then to Jachtslot De Mookerheide and the Brassiere du Bois for a “surprise menu”. (Salmon, veal/Beef, strawberry puddings, Baileys and coffee.) Cycled home in the dark 11.30pm.
Sunday 14th June
Had a bit of a lie in following our late night. Spoke to Shaun, Katie, Sam and Tabitha on Skype to wish Shaun Happy Birthday. He liked his Moonpig card giving details of the Peter Butterfield diet plan. They had been trampolining and dodge-balling on the Saturday. Popped to Jan Linders for food shopping.
Monday 15th June
Cycled to Wyler, Berg en Dal (saw the Tivoli gardens) then to Beek (for coffee/beer) then back up the hill to Berg en Dal. Cycled back via Afrika Museum picnic tables and horrible beetle flies. Used a new route through forest near Malden.
Tuesday 16th June
Had a lift with Tonia to Wijchen (pronounced Vicaren) where her daughter lives. Visited the Castle and the meer. Walked a lot. The Castle was picturesque but unfortunately not open. Had Hot Chocolate and a coffee in a cafe in the square and then later had a few beers and a toasted sandwich in Cafe Anneke. Tonia collected us at 5.45pm to head back to Groesbeek
Wednesday 17th June
Stayed at Garden Room. Read, research. Walked down to town to get money and shopping. Wraps for dinner. Met Yolande. Spoke to Shaun and Katie on Skype. Rained heavily in the night.
Thursday 18th June
Breakfast with Yolande and Wilm who are doing the Pieter Pad walk. Then cycled to Nijmegen via Malden woods. Checked tickets at station. Over bridge to Lent and back. Couple of Grolsch’s and toasties in Atlanta bar on Grote Markt. Slightly lost cycling home but found way. Total of 45 kms.
Friday 19th June
Breakfast with four Belgian Piterpad walkers (two sisters and a husband and a friend) plus two dutch cyclists (dog called Kiri). Shopping at Jan Linders. Walked to Gypsy caravan to stay the night. Tonia and Andre were off on a training weekend for her big cycle to Rome in July.
Saturday 20th June
Overnight in Gypsy caravan. Walk to Africa house for late breakfast then to Garden Room for shower and relax. Off to Andy and Anyas for dinner. Cycled home for 10pm in the rain. Bailed on the Gypsy and stayed in old faithful
Sunday 21st June
Quiet day. Went shopping. Caught up with emails etc. No guests. Tonia and Andre are back tonight. Heavy rain.
Monday 22nd June
Heavy rain again but walked through the woods to a bar we had seen on one of our cycle rides. It was closed. Walked back and arrived back to the garden room a bit cold and damp. Pasta and frikkedelen for dinner.
Tuesday 23rd June
Heavy rain and lightening forecast so went off for a walk early before it arrived. Went to Groesbeek market. Watched the crane being dismantled in the middle of the town. Walked for an hour or so. Started raining just at the end. Shopping lunch and back to the garden room to plan a cycling jaunt for Wednesday.
Wednesday 24th June
Cycled to Kranenburg. Different route down past Klein America to De Horst. Coffee and warm Apple pie in Derks bakers in Kranenburg. Only soles sitting outside to start with then, as usual, the hoard arrived. Cycled home via Beek and ended up at the old windmill for 2 beers each, bitterballen, frites and chips. Shopped on the way home.
Thursday 25th June
Left at 11am to head towards Grave. Cycle path took us along the north edge of the Maas river. Very warm day. Arrived at around 1pm and had a beer. Grave was a lovely town with lots of nice places to stop for refreshment…. Can home via the south side of the river and Linden. There was an American monument at the church because an American plane had crashed there during the war and the soldiers were buried in the graveyard temporarily before being moved to a military cemetery. Some of the cycle path maps had been defaced so it was a bit longer to get back. Went via Cuijk and the ferry. Ice cream (walnut yum) at the glider airfield before the last push home. Jon has broken the milometer so we are not sure but we are thinking around 45km. Great day out.
Friday 26th June
Breakfast at the Africa House with Meia and Martin from Eindhoven. Nice couple on a 6 day cycle trip. Walked down to Lidl to top up on supplies. Then a long walk through the forest in the afternoon through huge kids adventure area. Invited out to dinner by Tonia and Andre at 6.30 to the El Toro in Kranenburg. Went via Andre’s school in Beek. Main course and drinks. Then walk down to Italian Ice Cream place. Coffees outside back at home.
Saturday 27th June
Quiet day just reading and chilling at the Garden Room. Sorted some finances and online stuff out.
Sunday 28th June
Another quiet day because of the heat. Walked down to the shops to get a gift for Andy, Anya and Anouk. Cycled over to his house at 6pm. Dinner of chorizo, lentils, celery and toms. Another truimph. Cheesecake to follow. Anouk entertained us and refreshed us with the garden hose. Tadpoles have legs!!. Left around 10pm. Sad final evening cycle home. Sad to have final get together – not knowing when we will all be together again.
Monday 29th June
Breakfast with Marius and Heidi. Walking with his Eagle eye stick. Story about it needed to be broken in half for flights. Very friendly couple. He had walked over 1800 km in the last few years. Andy came over for coffee at 10.30 to see our little garden room. Stayed for a couple of hours. Took the bikes for one final cycle to Plasmolen. Sat by the lake opposite the camping site. Cycled along another part of Middlemar back to Mook. Beer and wine in the Cafe Dolphin by the river with a little bit of last minute sewing to leave a gift for Tonia and Andre. Hot ride home, lasagne for dinner.
Tuesday 30th June
Had breakfast with tall Burt, couple from Utrecht and a too jazzy couple from the Gypsy who had brought their bikes on the car. Packed our cases, went for walk up the pietrepad. Very hot 32 degrees. Bought a gift for Andre and Tonia (book on Rome). Met the Brazilian students in the Africa house. Bottle of Rose and a beer by the garden room. Final Africa house mash up. Tonia and Andre brought up beer and wine at 9.15pm. Very warm balmy evening. Chatted till 11.15pm over some beers and wine. The one glass of red had the undesired effect on Jo’s head but we are saying yes to everything!
Wednesday 1st July
Caught the 7.02 bus from Groesbeek to Nijmegen Central Station. 9 Euros. Trains: Nijmegen to Arnhem (double decker), Arnhem to Dusseldorf (ICE), Dusseldorf to Mannheim (Inter City) arrived 20 minutes late and missed connection to Munchen. Waited 30 mins and got the next one. No problem. S Bahn from Munchen Hbf to Zorneding. Signal problems so couldn’t contact Monika but managed in the end. Hot 30 mins walk from station but apartment is great and 2 cold beers waiting for us. Arrived at 7pm. Went out and had a bite to eat at out at Hotel and Gasthopf Neuwirt. More like a beer garden. Currywurst and hamburger. Very hot 33 degress.
Thursday 2nd July
Woke late following journey yesterday. Shopped in Norma. Very hot. Emails, admin, planning adventures in Munich for when it cools down. Met with Monika?