Nettetal is a small town situated at the border of Germany and Netherlands. It has scenic cycle routes that pass through the rivers, farms, and forests. The trails are well marked with signboards and easier to navigate the routes which are a mix of bitumen and gravel. I cycled in Nettetal with my friend Stefan Voormans in June 2023.
I took an intercity express train from Utrecht Central in the Netherlands to Venlo and changed to board a sprinter which is a smaller train and arrived at station Breyell in Germany. Breyell is a small station, and my friend Stefan came to receive me. We walked for 3 kms to his house.
Stefan had already arranged a bike for me. In the evening we went out exploring the neighbourhoods and rode through the farms. The surroundings were lush green with fresh air and the perfect weather one could have asked for. We stopped for photos next to a lake and to relax in the natural environment. We returned home covering 27 kms and celebrated our union with a coffee.
Day two was a busy one. Stefan introduced me to her friend Anita and the three of us biked to a school for a fundraiser meet. Stefan runs an NGO ‘Somedi Nettetal’ which does charity in India. We reached the school in the morning and all the children, and the teachers came to receive us. The school children had raised money through a local sporting event and in a small gathering, the cheque was handed over to Stefan.
Stefan delivered a small thank you speech and the event ended with applause and appreciation for the good work he is doing. This was followed by a visit to the classrooms with an interaction with the kids. Although the communication was in German language, but I could feel the excitement amongst the kids and the happy faces conveyed a lot of emotions. We finished the 20 km ride with a stop at a local Ice Cream shop ‘Konigshof’.
The 2nd ride of the day was scheduled for post lunch with Stefan’s friend Rudolf Reinartz to keep us company. The two of them were on their handcycles while I was on an MTB bike. I had requested Stefan that I wanted to see the Dutch-German border and he obliged. From Nettetal, we rode straight to the border and stopped there for pictures. It’s a seamless passage between the two nations and I saw a lot of cyclists riding cross country. We rode further inside Netherlands up till Venlo and then turned back in the German territory. Stefan showed me a racetrack where all the hand cyclists go for practice, and we did one loop of the track. On our way back we passed through the farms and finished the 32 kms ride with a coffee at Stefans house.
Time was passing fast and before we could rest, we realized there was another ride scheduled in the evening. Stefans friends had invited us for dinner. His friends assembled at Stefans house from where the 3rd ride of the day started. By that time, I already had a saddle sore, but the atmosphere was just amazing, and the large group had plenty of energy which kept me going. We did a circular loop of 20 kms and ended the ride with dinner. I was delighted to meet so many German friends and we had a fun conversation discussing about India, my first solo trip to the Netherlands and what all I did. Most of Stefans friends had already visited India in the past so they too had their memories revived.
This was my first ever visit to Germany and Stefan was a fantastic host and all his friends are wonderful people. This visit has inspired me to plan another trip to Germany and explore its cities. For now, I am awaiting to receive Stefan in India in November 2023 and celebrate his birthday.
You might also like to read: 10 TOURISTY THINGS I DID IN THE NETHERLANDS
Enjoy the photo album:
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai