Flamingo Route, Germany

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In late September we took a long ride across the border to Germany (the Frenchman’s first time in Deutschland!), heading southwest and meandering around the countryside until we hit the Flamingo Route, a 450 km route that leads from the Zwillbrocker Venn in western Germany where many flamingos come to mate each spring throughout western Germany and the Netherlands. This area was once mainly bogs and has now become large parcels of farmland, such as Amtsveen-Hunfelder Moor near Enschede where peat bogs exist alongside large, industrial-sized farmlands.

The Flamingo Route is mainly a path for bird watchers who come to not look just for flamingos but many types of birds from watch towers along the route, which has signs (sadly only in Dutch) about the many areas through which the route travels. Along the nearly 50km that we biked, we saw many birds, though as we are not bird watchers ourselves we cannot say their types, as well as sheep, cows, goats, horses, and chickens. Our favorite site was a cow whose pasture was filled with birds of all kinds wit more flying in by the minute to join the melee.

Before heading home to Enschede we stopped in the largest border city on the German side, Gronau, for a beer and a walk around the downtown. The Frenchman noticed that the beer all of a sudden tasted remarkably better than that available in the Netherlands, or perhaps it was simply our fatigue. On or way home, we took the much more direct route, the 10.5 km Enschede/Gronau Street that connects the two cities via a main street that is full of businesses and residential complexes, making it impossible to tell where Germany ends and the Netherlands begins.

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