Toukley & District Cycle Club
Bike 'n' Barge European Holiday 2019

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Photos by Danny

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In 2019 Pedro organised a wonderful Bike 'n' Barge trip from Paris to Maastricht (Netherlands) for the Toukley Cycle Club members, but due to ill health he was not able to attend himself. However fourteen members did go on the trip, and this is my (Danny's) record of the trip with photos and commentary by me. It is mostly about the photos, so other activities not captured on my smart-phone camera may not be included. As it is, there are nearly 200 images, so I've broken them up into shorter sessions, namely Parts 1 and 2, with Part 3 covering my holiday in Germany, to be found here.
The trip was taken aboard the small barge 'Elodie' on the canals and rivers from Paris, France, to Maastricht, Netherlands, with a crew of three, viz Django the skipper, Martina the chef and bosun, and Nina the ride leader. Django and Nina are Dutch, French-speaking, and Martina is mostly English. All three did a wonderful job for the 17 days of the trip, with the skipper steering the barge through all sorts of tight canals and locks, using only one rudder at the back. Martina is a consummate chef, providing a 3 course meal every night (a different course every day of the trip), a Continental breakfast and lunch makings every morning, so we all loved the food. Nina rode the whole way with us, on her e-bike. She is about 64 years of age. She overcame many dramas and obstacles, like paths closed due to construction, and riders falling into moats (me). More of that later.
After our arrival in Maastricht we spent a day there, then continued on our own adventures separately, some of us going straight home and others heading off to other exciting places in Europe, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, London and Germany. I went to Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf, so that's where our photo journey goes. The total distance ridden by the club members was about 550km, and only about 2 punctures were inflicted on us. Enjoy!

A long-lasting sunset on the A380-800. Plenty of legroom as I paid for seat choice.

Mike and I stayed together at the Ibis hotel in Paris, close to the Gare de l'Est.

We met up with the others, then boarded the Elodie as our base for the next 2 1/2 weeks. The first day we just wandered around Paris, and went to the Eiffel Tower by train, with Mike, Deb, Ray and Dan shown here.

We had a wonderful time at The Eiffel Tower, which has light shows and many girls trying to get selfies.

Cruising down the Seine was a delight. That's Ray in his and my cabin, and Carol in the dining room and lounge.
The scene on deck as we cruised down the river.

All that remains of the magnificent Notre Dame cathedral, after the fire.

Can't remember what this is.

On our bikes now, looking back over Paris.

Estelle at General Pershing's statue.
Below are pictures of the Palace of Versailles and gardens.

This beautiful scene is painted on to the surface of an ordinary building, ie, a fake building!

Kerrie and me at the golden gates.

The beautiful Versailles gardens

Saint Germains...

Auvers sur Oise

Next day we visited Chantilly Castle, but somehow I managed to fall over the wall, 5 metres into the moat, no way out, till I got rescued by the police rescue team with a steel Jacobs ladder, taken by ambulance to a remote hospital, eventually managed to get a taxi back to the barge. Sustained a badly bruised back, but otherwise OK. Had to take off all my wet clothes but they gave me this lovely paper suit to go home in. Nina had to walk 4km to the closest hospital only to find I wasn't there, get the desk to find me, then walk back to the barge, while I got a taxi back to the barge. Nina arranged for the other club members to watch the nearby bridge for two hours till I finally arrived at 10.30pm. Everybody was still up, way past their bedtime, just to make sure I was OK. They saved my dinner and here I am eating it on the boat in my paper suit. Thanks everyone!



Fôret de Compiègne, below, where the Armistice was signed in this carriage on 11/11/1918. A very moving place.

The ultimate humiliation for the vanquished Germans - the black iron eagle dead in a ditch
Noyon, Brie, Nesle

The driver's seat of the mighty Wurlitzer

Below - The beautiful city of Peronne - Market Day

Organ Grinder with four little dogs

Virginia with her red beer. Below, Ruyaulcourt, and the garlic capital, Arleux

Monsieur et Madame Garlic

Click here to go to Part Two of the Bike holiday report.
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