Monday, 6 August - Day 5: Eck en Weil, NL - Dordrecht, NL
Today: 100,32 km (62.3 miles)
Trip to date: 495,17 km (307.7 miles)
In Germany, the Rhein route takes you right along the river’s edge. There are beautiful sections like the first 50-60 km north of Basel, CH where the river
is in a much more natural state and has no commercial shipping traffic. Also, very beautiful is the part between Bingen and Koblenz where the Rhein valley narrows into steep walls at the river's edge, the banks have nostalgic villages every few kilometers,
and the hillsides are dotted with castle ruins. But, the route in Germany also takes you through ugly industrial parts. This isn't the case in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands the route meanders through idyllic wooded areas providing lots of shade
and beautiful scenery. It is sometimes far removed from the river itself.
I would say the EuroVelo 15 route in the Netherlands doesn't really follow the Rhein River. Once over the border, the river is called the Waal. The main channel of the Rhein / Waal flows almost due west from Millingen. The EuroVelo route heads more northwest along the Pannerdensch Canal and the Neder-Rijn (Lower Rhein) towards Arnhem, NL. After Arnhem the bike route heads west through a beautiful, but hilly, national park and comes back to the Waal near Dordrecht, NL where I spent the night on this fifth day.
The weather had certainly been consistent to this point. Hot, hot, hot, and blue skies every day, all day. I find that, rather than taking advantage of the cooler morning temperatures to pile on the miles, I enjoyed this time the most by taking in the sights and stopping often to take photographs. It's only in the afternoons when the heat is getting tough to bear that I seem to focus more on kilometers and reaching my destination.
I found the campground in Dordrecht, NL after another long, hot day in the saddle. It was good I had called ahead to reserve a pitch as there were none available for people showing up without a reservation. Though the campground was in a quiet, scenic park like setting, it was only a short ride to a central shopping area where I found an Albert Heijn supermarket. I bought a small salad and some noodles for dinner. They didn't have cold beer, so it took some asking around to learn that I could get that at Plus which was just around the corner. With food and a cold beer I was set for the night.