101 k mostly on bike paths today.
I would have liked to stay longer in Bruges, the town is a World Heritage Site and I have only seen a very small section of it. When we left Bruges there was a lot of work happening setting up the town square for the crowds who would be watching today’s World Cup football match between Belgium and Panama.
There is hint of possible rain as we set off, but it is not at all cold. Getting out of
Bruges it is very busy with lots of cyclists going fast, and darting in and out of the bike lanes. I am not used to the concept that cars give way to bikes at intersections frequently but not always, I am still working out the rules with this.
We were riding with a number of other riders including Tony and Michele, and Gordon and Karen from Canada. Gordon is a Ed Doc and Karen is a Doctor as well but currently working as a hospital administrator. This is Gordon and Karen’s first TDA trip. I was pushing myself really hard to keep up. Luckily it was pretty flat.
We biked for about 8 km along a canal then rode into Ghent, which is a beautiful old town with some amazing beautiful old buildings.
Just before lunch we stopped and looked at some amazing animals made out of driftwood – there were horses, Sheep, goats, deer and foxes. They were amazing but not cheap – €1407 for one of the horses.
After lunch we had a few small towns to go through but mostly quiet through the country side on bike paths.
The last 7 km coming into Brussels was not too pleasant. Lots of traffic, and lots of trams and tram tracks to look out for. People walking across the road even when bikes had the right of way. Having to cross busy streets getting across the traffic was a bit daunting.
There are lots of refugees, and we rode through one area where there was a large shopping area with lots of people wearing Burqa, Niqab and Khimar. In 2016 Belgium took about 12,000 refugees which is double the number of the preceding years. The numbers are not big compared to a number of other countries, but most of them live in Brussels.
The Hotel is situated 200 metres from what’s is known as Brussels Grand Place (which is the town square). This area started in 15th century as market halls, guild houses and a town hall. Almost completely destroyed after being bombarded for 3 days in 1695 by the French Amy. A hotch potch of 4 different styles – Gothic, opulent Baroque, Neoclassical and Neo Gothic.
The hotel room has a nice big bath perfect, for a long soak followed by a nana nap*. The room also has a couch plus a separate toilet and a jug to make tea yay. On the downside the view is not so great – we have a view of the hotel heating vents.
We had arranged to meet Tony and Michele at 6pm in the hotel foyer and we went into the city to find the Delirium Cafe – Claim to fame it has the most different beer in the world available in its bar. 2004 Guinness Book of records listed 2,004 different types!
While walking there we went past a pub and Belgium had just scored the second goal against Panama – the crowds erupted! We got to the Delirium Cafe with 72 min on the clock and had time to get a Trappist beer (brewed by Monks) and watch the remaining minutes. Belgium score a third goal final score 3:1.
We ended up eating at a place called Le Savarin it was pretty average. Food and drink is really expensive in Belgium and you have to buy bottled water to drink. We started off with Mussels, which again were really small but tasty, followed by steak which had no flavour accompanied of course by frites (chips) and salad.
We then walked back to the hotel, even though it was nearly 10pm the shops are still open and there are crowds of people.
* Editor’s note: Is it still called a “Nana nap” if you are legit a Nana? Isn’t it then just a nap??