Sunday 28th April 2019 – WRWR Day 61, My Day 4
Am up early again to get myself over to Bollendorf and meet the group riding today to Bruxelles, via Luxembourg.
We are meeting at a petrol station just over the border in Luxembourg. Bollendorf is on the river that constitutes the border so I only have to cross over a bridge and am immediately in Luxembourg and at the petrol station. I think I’d better top the tank off while I am here, don’t want another scare like yesterday.
While I am filling up a voice shouts.. “Dykes on Bikes” and I look up to see a woman who I have not yet met, but have corresponded with online.. Trui Hussein Hanoulle who then rushes over to greet me and proceeds to take lots of photos. It is fabulous to meet her in the flesh and I am looking forward to talking with her as she is indeed a fascinating woman, but more about that later. I also see Els from Belgium and Taloch from the Harley Davidson Club Des Frontieres who I rode with in France. Mar and Colette are there of course, Colette has started calling us her international visitors, while Mar has dubbed Colette ‘The Celebrrrrrity’ as she is becoming so famous and is now making a live video diary each day. We have really gelled as a group and I enjoy their company enormously.
I don’t see Dori yet, she is riding home today, but said she would come and say farewell this morning. There are loads of bikes and I am given to understand that there will be over 100 women bikers today.. wow, what a spectacle. For safety reasons we are being split up into groups of about 20, I am riding with Colette and Mar and it seems Trui will be joining us too and we are the lead off group.
It is soon time to go and I am a bit sad that I don’t get a chance to say goodbye to Dori, but she did say she might get over to the UK this summer so I will see her then.
The weather is very wet, but the roads and countryside are fantastic. Before long we all pull into the centre of a town and park up. Apparently we are stopping for breakfast and what a breakfast it is. We are in a bar called Alter Schwede in Remich and there is so much food.. all free.. wow, what a fantastic welcome from the Luxembourgians.. there is ham and cheese and bread and scrambled eggs and cake and fruit and, and, and oh yes coffee of course… all absolutely delicious.
We have another photo op with all the bikes lined up.. I thought I had a photo but it seems not.. damn!
Back on the road and it’s a little bit greasy with the rain, as we turn onto the main road my back tyre skids a little bit, oh didn’t like that and then again when we turn the next corner… not nice. We are soon rolling along and we enter a roundabout, as we leave the rear of the bike starts to snake and my heart is in my mouth.. I’m sure I am going to crash.. I manage to save the bike, but my heart is pounding so hard that I have to pull over. Colette, Mar, Trui and the sweeper all pull up with me. I jump off the bike and have a look at the rear end, I feel sure I have a flat tyre, but no all is fine.. so what is going on??? Colette says she thought I was a goner… me too. We all think it was probably a combination of the wet road and the bike being new so the tyres haven’t been scrubbed in fully. I get back on the bike, but have to admit my confidence has taken quite a blow and am now a little anxious when cornering.
My heart takes some time to settle down, but am still very wary. Anyway, I have ridden through Luxembourg quite a few times and for some reason haven’t really paid much attention. It is quite mountainous and there seems to be a castle around every bend.. speaking of which..
We pull into a car park next to this stunning castle.. there is a photographer waiting and we all troop up to the castle for a photo shoot, but also take the opportunity to take our own photos.
Pretty impressive.. this is Bourschied Castle in North Eastern Luxembourg, well worth a visit.
The riding has been pretty slow, and we soon stop again, this time for lunch. We make our way into a restaurant that has been reserved for us. I don’t remember doing so, but it seems I have ordered lunch, which is indeed very good. After lunch there is cake, but not just any cake.. two huge cakes have been specially made, one of which has the face of Hayley Bell, the originator of the whole WRWR phenomenon, I have to say it’s a little bit spooky, but one cannot fault the Luxembourgians for their hospitality.. a tiny country with an enormous heart. I really want to come back here and spend more time, hopefully in better weather.
Once more onto the road again and we enjoy slightly better weather, the sun seems to be trying to peak through.
All at once we arrive in Martelange, the meeting and baton handover point in Belgium. We pull into a rather small, scruffy car park where loads of women are waiting for us. There are a few film crews too, so The Celebrrrrity is hauled off to do some interviews. The baton is then officially handed over and we are back on our way to Brussels.
It is now approaching 4pm and we still have another 120 miles to go… and it has already been very slow…
Eventually we arrive in Brussels at the famous Atomium, and what a magnificent structure it is.
It’s starting to get dark and we are all cold and tired. I have been offered a bed at someones home, a woman called Hilde, but I haven’t met her yet. It seems the international crowd are all staying with her, that’s me, Colette, Mar and Trui, but who is Hilde?? Mar and I start joking about ‘where is Hilde?’, ‘who’s hiding Hilde?’ Who is HILDE?’ Trui comes to our rescue and introduces us. She hasn’t ridden with us today, but will be riding tomorrow. A last minute change of plan, Mar and Colette will stay in a hotel, it has already been arranged by the Belgian Ambassadors.
We all get back on our bikes and follow Hilde to her home. Mar and Hilde’s partner Johnny have stayed behind waiting to greet two women from England who are due to arrive at the Atomium this evening and will stay at Hilde’s too.. she must have a castle methinks.
They do indeed have a beautiful home and I have a room to myself, which I always like. I take my things upstairs and when I come down, the two girls from England have arrived, Sara and Thirza, and somehow also a stack of pizzas like magic.. yummy.
What a blooming’ looooong day… I really need some sleep!
But… lastly… isn’t this the most fantastic helmet you every saw??