Saturday, November 21, 2009

Final Statistics, General Observations & Video

I made these general observations through the trip and compiled them on the plane and in the airports on the way home. I thought I would get the video done sooner and the notes posted quicker but life here at home takes over the schedule and all of a sudden 2 months have passed.

Statistics -

Kilometers - I include miles while I am lost also.

Bike - Barron Marlott, 60k
Train - Fountainbleau to Amsterdam, 505k
Bike - Airport & Amsterdam, 39k
Bike - to Tiel, 80k
Bike - to Tilburg, 75k
Bike - to Dilsen, 82k
Bike - to Tilff, 75k
Bike - to Rochefort, 73k
Bike - to Jemelle, 7k
Train - to Neufchateau, 42k
Bike - to Vitton, 60k
Bike - to Longwy, 32k
Bus - to Metz, 63k
Bike - to Nancy, 60k
Train - to Strasbourg, 141k
Bike - to Colmar,98k
Bike - to Freiburg, 50k
Train - to Ulm, 192k
Bike - to Weissenhorn, 27k
Bike - to Turkhiem, 53k
Train - to Munich, 76k
Bike - to Schwabing & Camp, 14k

Bike Total - 885k
Train/Bus Total - 1,019k

After I got my dollars exchanged into Euro's the rate was about $1.50 for every Euro spent.
Also you do not tip and there is no tax to figure in above the price that you see on the tab.

Hefe-Weizen in Weissenhorn - 2.70 Euro
Bus from Longwy to Metz with a Bike - 7.20 Euro
2 Leffe Blonde's and a Steak (Hamburger) la Grille in Nancy, FR - 14.10 Euro
Salamibaguette - 3.90 Euro
Cappuccino in Neufchateau - 2.10 Euro
Cappuccino in Hamoir - 1.90 Euro
Camping in Rochefort with Shower - 14.00 Euro
Camping in Dilsen with Shower - 5.75 Euro
Camping in the Forest no Shower - Free
City Hotel in Freiburg Germany - 98 Euro
Rochefort 10 served in Tilf - 4.20 Euro
Rochefort 8 at a Carrefour in Tilf - 1.20 Euro
Mass Bier (1 Liter) under the Schottnhamel tent - 8.60 Euro



General Observations

Everyone was very helpful throughout the trip and those who were friends were twice as helpful.
I was hoping for the "Classic" rude French attitude during my travels but there was only trace evidence of this.
When in the Netherlands everyone was happy to use their english with me while trying to help. The people who spoke english in Belgium were fewer and still fewer when I was back in France, however when I crossed into Germany the folks who spoke english increased more and more until I reached Munich where it is very common to find people who spoke it.
A big smile goes a long way.
The beers in France are very small, getting bigger in the Netherlands and finally a liter under the tents of Oktoberfest in Munich.
Most of the bakeries during the trip served the same things but the selection of bread increased once I got to Germany.

The Architecture

In France the buildings were not destroyed during WW2 most of what you see has been built after the revolution (1789-1799) although that is not the case while traveling the Rhine River Valley on the North Eastern edge of France where the buildings can predate the event.

Buildings in the Netherlands were very compact maybe only 2 and 3 windows wide as they stood next to each other along the curving streets and canals. Each painted a different color and with its own bit of ornamentation to distinguish it from the next.

Belgium had a lot of row houses and the buildings were made of gray stone with less ornamental features. New houses were being built at the end of each of the small towns that I would pass through but much of the style was the same, kind of depressing.

On the North Eastern side of France there was a clear difference between the Moselle River valley and the Rhine River valley. The first has the cities of Metz and Nancy along its banks, built out of mostly stone and brick but with all the details that one might expect from a place that had been occupied by the Romans at one point. While the Rhine Valley took on a whole different feel with both the city and farm buildings being influenced by the Swiss style homes from the Alps with exposed beams and very colorful stucco. Even with the gray skies I felt a lot happier going through the region. In Freiburg, Germany the building were of the same style that I had seen on the French side of the boarder and if you look at the history of the region you will find that the boarder has changed through time quite a bit.

After the train ride through the Black Forest the villages of Germany were all built with the same aesthetics with white stucco wall and red roof tiles. Most of the building seemed to newer or at least built in the last century. When they decided to rebuild Munich after the war the citizens were given the option to rebuild the city with a more American style format or rebuild as it once was. Thankfully the citizens voted to rebuild the old city using the same layout and the same plans from the original architects. The Catholic Church's of Bavaria, with their onion domes, now stand as the focal point of each of the small towns that dot the rolling countryside.

The Beer

I had quite a few different beers, some you can find in the states and some that were unique to the region.

France - While in the Paris area the selection of beer was pretty good with most of the selection coming in from the Belgium area, lots of wine. While in the North Eastern part of France the selection was not a good as before, I don't recall seeing any Belgium Ales at this point of the journey.

Netherlands - Hieniken, Amstel and Jupiler beers were everywhere with a great selection of local ales to choose from.

Belgium - Same as above with more Belgium Ales added to the selection.

Germany - Great German lagers and pils and Wiesse biers, but you could not find an ale anywhere at this point. The local product fill the taps of Bavarian bier pubs for the rest of the trip.

As many of you know each different beer was served in its own style of glass, Tulips for the Belgium Ales, Steins for the Lagers, Flutes for the Pils, Bell for Wheats

1) Trolle, 2) Bit Burger, 3) Leffe - Blonde, 4) Hoegaarden 5) Affligem 6) Wernesgruner 7) Reflets de France, 8) Limburger White,
9) Grimburgen Blond, 10) Kasteel triple, 11) Wildbrau - Wiesse Bier, 12) Lowenbrau - Wiesse, 13) Spaten Hellis, 14) Pauliner - Marzen, 15) Augustiner - Oktoberfest, 16) Franziskaner - Hefe Wiesse, 17) Franziskaner - Dunkel, 18) 1664 - Pils, 19) La Trappe - Konigshoven, 20) Duvel, 21) Rochefort 8 & 10 - Abbey St. Remy, 22) Orval - Abbey Orval, 23) Roth Haus - Freiburg, 24) Fisher Blonde, 25) Achel - Abbey Achel 26) Chimay - Red Cap and Blue Cap




Travel

I found it odd that the train traveling from Paris to Amsterdam, the bike capitol of Europe, didn't have bike accommodations.

Figuring out how to get a ticket, even when the agent did not speak english, was never a problem. Point to where you want to be on the map and your bike and it will all work out.

The space for storage on the bus was plenty big enough for the bike with the bags still loaded on, sweet.

The trains and the subway in Germany had accommodations for bicycles with some limitations for rush hour, also make sure you buy a ticket for your bike.


Bicycle Travel

Paris - You will be risking your life while on the streets of Paris unless you are part of "The Tour".

Rural France - Great roads with little traffic.

Netherlands - The best bike system I have ever seen, the whole system was fantastic.

East Belgium - Some bike paths were easy to find and other were not so easy and maybe even non-existent.

Germany - Great rural roads with medium traffic. Some towns were connected with paths, others were not. Munich has a very good bike system, not quite as good as Amsterdam - I think.


Click here to go to the slide show on Flickr.

SLIDE SHOW

video

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