On this page a story of my trip to the Ardennes. Click the pictures...

Ardennes 10.-11.5.2003, Belgium - France - Luxemburg

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1. day
Kuvia Ardenneilta...

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2. day

GTR Club Europe, in other words GCE arranged second time in the history Tour de Twist -event where I had decided to participate. So I drove at  8.-9. May from Finland to Belgium (separate story from the journey on another page).

Previous days long driving from Stockholm to Brussels was after well slept night acknowledged. Morning awakening in Aarschot didn't felt heavy in any way, I eagerly waited for new driving day and its new experiences. The air was bright, little cool, but weather report promised however sunny weather for whole weekend. Hopefully it would come also a little bit warmer.

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Breakfast with Berten...

After tasty breakfast my host Berten offered,  I packed my equipment and took direction towards adapted meeting place in Huy. I started in good time before eight a clock. Adapted meeting time was just at 9.30, but I wanted to reserve enough time to the peaceful driving through Belgium countryside. The journey would be less than 70 kilometers, but because the route was odd, there was a reason to reserve a little time for possible astray...


Meeting place in Huy

When I left, I got good driving instructions from Berten and that´s why I could enjoy completely from the landscape because I find the route easily. Belgium's were just awakening to jobs of the weekends first morning, when I was driving through the small villages. My route took quite directly to the centre of Huy and to the adapted meeting place - after the bridge to the right, river ashore. I was at the destination at 9.15 and was first man at the place - at this time, would someone say ;-))

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On the meeting place...

About 9.30 arrived another GTR, which indicated to be driven by Mark Cipriano and only couple of minute later the married couple of Minkhorst. Soon in the parking place was over ten GTRs and people said hello and became acquainted with each other. It was nice to meet pals which drive with the same bike. Apparent was, that we all valued really similar matters in our electing vehicle. The conversation was born except from motorbiking also just from GTR and from its properties. 

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...we all acquainted. Hello!

For the departure time had planned at 10 a clock and quite well it kept, when we left as a group moving towards at the first tanking up place on the fringe of the town.


Winding roads

The activity men of the trip - Daan Zeydner and Mark Harling - had made a good work planning and testing the route. The boys had made detailed driving instruction which was copied to all... A little bit however, we remain to need a map, so that the interpretation would be easier. Well, maybe next time... After small initial groping Mark arrived to collect the rear-guard and guided us to the tanking up place.

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A group ready on the road...

After tanking up the group was shared in two. For them, who want to drive faster and for them who also want to enjoy the landscape at the same time. I connected to this latter group. We organized yet to the edge of the road and when all were certainly at the place we left riding. All right. Towards Modave and new adventures...

Roads were, as you can guess, small and winding. It was nice to drive in the verdant terrain and enjoy from the properties of your bike. Bend after another came against us when we curve gradually to the south towards mountains of Ardennes. Our route went across the fields and villages. In between by the side of the road was a twisted small river in the middle the deciduous woodland. Landscape were really most magnificent. Could motorcyclist hope more? No he could not... in this was everything... just for this are journey motorbikes made.


Lunch and companionship

After the unread bends and small villages we stopped to the lunch a little after the half day. The air had warmed nicely and now we were, in Finnish point of view, already in the summer temperature, clearly over 20 degrees. The lunch offered also a good possibility become acquainted with the new driving pals while eating the meal. Thoughts were changed and each one ate his own choice for the lunch. I my self was satisfied to the local pizza - quite ok must say... Finally, before to the driving departure, was spent a moment on the court-yard for tobacco men...

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At the lunch place...


More nice bends

After the lunch break our journey continued again towards south. Our route twisted still across the small villages and most beautiful countryside landscape. In between we drew through greenery bubbling forest and started little by little to approach Ardennes. Few time we stopped on the journey to stroll and to check our route from the map. Mark, who was our group leader felt however to the be really certain where we were ;-)). Afternoon progressed quickly driving in the sunny weather and about at 18 a clock we came at the destination to our lodgings in Rocroi. During the day the kilometers gathered 223 km.

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Verdant, twisty roads...


At the destination in Rocroi

Faster  driven further group had of course managed already to lodge when we, the admirers of the landscape, just came to the destination. When all had got their room and get their gear up, we size up in front of the hotel and decided to go yet, at the same time, tanking bikes ready for tomorrow. On the fringe of the town was a small tanking up place where we navigated.

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History of the fortification...

When all was prepare, part from our group stayed to become acquainted with local, fresh drink in front of the hotel on the terrace and the other part went to look at local sights, in the other words famous old Rocroi fortification. The fortification located quite near our lodgings and offered fine views over whole town. Also for them who was interested from the history was information offered. On the highest place was a stone panel, where was described all visible landscape in front of and short historical story about the view... Fine, seeing value place!

On the end of the day we size up to the restaurant of the hotel for supper, in which was nice to continue the conversation after the days common driving experiences. Local food offered us also a fine taste experience and also drinks tasted. During the evening was told a story and another and happy motorcyclist group enjoyed completely about the experience.

Finally, one after another, each one receded to the perch to collect power for the next driving day...

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Happy motorcyclists...


Driving in the verdant landscape

Sunday morning downed sunny. We enjoyed the palatable breakfast in Ardennes style - plenty of good coffee, freshest rolls and tasty jam... After the breakfast we strolled a little on the wakening market place. After that we pack up our gears and our bikes ready to leave. Short after a short map reading moment our group started to move again towards new bends and landscapes.

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A map reading moment...
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Looking at the scenery...
Our journey directed towards marked landscape route, which offered quite unbelievable experiences in the fresh morning air. Greenery, glittering mountain bites and of course great bends. Also landscape on this route were quite breathtaking. In between it was quite necessary to stop over to admire nature offered most magnificent views.
Our driving continued through small villages and towns. Roads offered challenges to the group which wanted really enjoy from driving and the another group got most certainly enjoy from the fine landscape. At noon our group stopped to the pause in Bouillon, in town centre. A moment we strolled and enjoyed from the summer day by the river shore and we followed the bustle of the town. The feeling was nice when the music was playing in the adjacent terrace restaurant... P1010096.JPG (88847 tavu(a))
A brake in Bouillon...


Lunch in Luxemburg

From Bouillon our journey continued still to east. The sun of the afternoon offered its warm our driving towards Neufchateau and adapted lunch break. Arriving to our destination we revealed, that in small town hadn't been so many alternatives on Sunday, but we found however a nice place from the arm of the street. On the menu was suitably light lunch alternatives and while eating our group was yet discussing about our joint experiences on our short, but memorable trip... 

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Our small lunch place...
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Last joint kilometers...
After to the lunch our group broke up. One part navigated to the close freeway as direction to north and homesteads. A small group wanted absolutely go shopping in Luxemburg before home departure. We who left remaining - five bikes - continued towards our trips final objective - Ettelbruck. Our small group drove peacefully along small roads enjoying from the trip's last joint kilometers.


End of the trip

Finally we came in Ettelbruck and search yet for place, in which we could drink final coffee. Such kind of place was found from the centre of the town and we sat yet a moment to chat. Kilometers of this another day were 226 km. On whole trip all to gather 449 km.

It was the time of the separation. Together we revealed, that this was fine trip. During the two driving days we had all being lived as in the dream of the motorcyclist. Fine road conditions, great roads, most magnificent landscape and what the best - excellent people... ;-))

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Final coffee stop... and goodbye!
Mika Pitkänen
GCE #194

GTR Club Europe...