Germany! We crossed the border in the best possible way... on a rail with trail. Actually this is an abandoned railroad now used for recreational purposes as part of Germany's determined race to catch up to all the amazing benefits the Dutch have gained from their cycling infrastructure.... wellness, social, economic - all of these blessings have not escaped the notice of decision makers around Europe as they push to realize the same benefits. It will take time... in addition to the sudden shift in language and architecture, it's hard not to notice that the people are not as trim and athletic looking as the Dutch. The approach is working... the newly laid trail was mobbed with cyclists and roller-bladers and walkers as well as people enjoying the "draisine" handcars.
On the Dutch side, where trails and cycling infrastructure are routine, we met people training for the "Four Day March" set to take place on July 16-19 with over 42,000 people expected to participate! You can cycle to the start and end points of the walk... but seeing the photos we think we'll watch it on TV.
The Four Days Marches have a different route each day; through the landscapes of Dutch provinces of Gelderland, Brabant and Limburg, through the city of Nijmegen and its outskirts. Every walking day revolves around a different town in the vicinity of Nijmegen.
The first Four Days Marches took place in 1909. Participants could start from 15 different places in the Netherlands. They had to walk 140km in four days, 35km per day. The marches were organised by the Nederlandse Bond voor Lichamelijke Opvoeding (NBvLO) [Dutch League for Physical Education].
International Four Days Marches Nijmegen have grown into the largest multi-day walking event in the world. More than 42,000 participants walk for four days in Nijmegen and its surroundings, where they, depending on their age and sex, walk a total of 120, 160 or 200 kilometers.