George and Jean's Tandem Tour 2007: Belgium and Southern Holland day 6

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Monday 17 September: Maastricht - Venlo

We joined the long-distance cycle route LF3 (or Maas Route) at the St Servaas bridge two streets away from the B & B. It runs from from Maastricht to Nijmegen. It uses a wide variety of roads and paths, on the riverside, paths passing farms and apple orchards and some on small roads. The Netherlands LF routes are all almost perfectly signed with separate panels showing LF3b for our northbound route and LF3a for the reverse direction.

Soon after Grevenbicht the Maas spreads out into big lakes and we made several crossings of the channels joining them. We had a picnic lunch by a hydro-electric plant with a cycle bridge attached to the side of the dam. We rode on the east bank until it was time to go back over the river to Roermond which we had to traverse amidst quite a lot of traffic. We passed through more countryside and stopped for a coffee at Asselt as rain began to fall. A coffee was enough time for the rain to stop and we went on to Reuver where we were puzzled to see an LF sign directing us into the river! We were saved from a watery fate by the ferry that arrived from the other bank and took us over to Kessel where the route continued through country lanes to Venlo; we crossed the river and entered the town on a cycle bridge suspended from the side of a railway bridge. It was 5 pm and the cycle traffic was so heavy that we almost felt unable to turn safely. The rain started again and we began to worry about our accommodation which wasn't booked in advance. When we arrived at the tourist office it was already closed. We took shelter form the rain and started phoning the B & B's whose numbers we had with us. After a couple of 'fully booked' we struck it lucky at Inn d'n Acht, an attractive house recently converted to B & B accommodation by a very pleasant young couple who had spared no effort to produce a very smart guest house. We were their third set of visitors and had the house to ourselves since they had another house nearby.

The drizzling rain persisted but we walked to the centre of Venlo where we were impressed with the many houses in Dutch styles dating from 17th to 19th century. As Venlo isn't a tourist spot there were few restaurants open on this Monday evening. We chose to go to a large Asian restaurant that turned out to be run by a pelasant Indonesian family who served us a typical rice table.

 Today's distance: 103 km, weather: warm, wet in the afternoon, accommodation: Inn d'n Acht B&B, Helbeek 8, Venlo.

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Hydroelectric scheme