Saturday, August 3, 2013

Naar Zussen en terug

zussen

Zussen is sort of a non-entity: it doesn’t appear in Wikipedia and is only a green smudge of buildings against surrounding fields in satellite photos.  ‘Located just over the Belgian border in Limburg, it is best known for it’s high-quality limestone quarries and hospitable zussen 2climate for growing mushrooms.

The brick pavement along Kesselskade was shining red from overnight rain as I turned my bike south along the Maas.  Sleep wasn’t coming easily, again, and a morning ride might clear my head and boost my spirits.  The only traffic was the early barges thrumming along the river; the only people were workmen laying a new highway above the expansion of the shipping locks.  I turned west, pedaling hard past the joggers along the Albert Canal.
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Normally I head right at the bridge back towards Maastricht; today I turned left across the border into Belgium, along cycle path 80 up through the Tiendeberg preserve.  The stiff climb leveled out into spectacular rolling fields of golden wheat and green corn.  A church spire and brick houses marked Zussen, glowing in fresh-washed morning light, nestled in a hollow.

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I did, of course, manage to get confused among the tractor trails and farm roads, taking pictures and circling a bit out of my way before finding the main roads and the river again. But the rolling landscape, reminiscent of the Palouse hills, was really lovely, serene and still at 8 am.

By any reckoning, a good start to the weekend.

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