Belgium

Day 67-69 – Maastricht to Gussainville (France)

Day 67 – Maastricht to Hogne

KM – 87.9

Avg – 16

Saddle Time – 5:28

I couldnt find a Belgium Euro sign anywhere on the border DAMN IT…

Well I looked for my campsite last night and had the exact location but I couldn’t find it – gps’d it and all – that’s ok – I looked for a green patch on the map and headed for it – green on gps = hills hehehe so it was dark so all lights on and cycled for another HOUR – eeep. I was looking for a nice green patch to lay down on when i saw a camping sign woohoooo – it was now 10:30ish so I found a spot and pitched the tent.  A couple approached me and started chatting about travelling – we talked for a bit and they invited me into their caravan in the morning to have breakfast….so nice.

After the short convo I fell asleep pretty quickly. 9am came and I stumbled over to their caravan and there was breakky all laid out for me – Helen had to work but Luce was there eager for conversation. He had MANY stories and they were all great. They are actually travelling through Europe on Donkeys – yup that’s right…DONKEYS!!! what the…..they had a caravan there as they found some work for a while but will continue travelling soon. They have travelled and walked through India and Africa and it was so interesting talking to them – thanks for Breakky and the motivating stories guys – so great to hear.

Anyway it was time to choof off so I headed in the right direction (I hope). I was heading away from Maastricht where they signed the agreement for the Euro convention (So I read) and into the direction of Metz. It rained all day and it was terrible – sometimes it was so hard that I couldt even see so I had to stop many times for safety. Actually I have so many reflectors on my panniers that it is safer when it it’s darker BUT the rain was terrible. Navigating was a challenge also because I am getting used to the Belgium/French network which is nowhere near as good as Netherlands – in NL you can just point anywhere and there will be a bicycle path – not from here on in there isn’t – you need to really choose your roads carefully. I got stuck a few times on main highways (not the freeways) but kind of secondary to them where trucks still go on – it was crazy and I got off as soon as I could – I’m learning the roads here….I had a campsite in Mind and located that pretty easily – it was closed as it was late so I just cooked my spaghetti and headed straight to bed. It is getting cold and it was a really hard day – I slept well.

Oh yeah – I’m hearing French, Dutch, English, German – it’s crazy in the corner of all these countries here.

Day 68 – Hogne to Ansart

KM – 86.5

Avg – 16.4

Saddle Time – 5:16

It started raining again in the morning and it was really hard to get out of the tent. I am in a bit of a low point at the moment – still battling through and knowing that sometimes it gets hard and it’s not all fun and games but I know this is all part of it – the hamm,y is holding up but now showing signs of improving. I did manystretches today on breaks including my back and I will keep doing them.

I basically just pedalled and that’s all that could run through my mind really. Basic mental state and not enjoying it much. It ended up me knocking on some farmers door asking if I could pitch my tent there and he didn’t know one word of English – he motioned something like ‘follow me’ and he hopped in his car – and so I did – at 30kmph downhill WOOT WOOT he took me 2km and pointed at a campsite – WHAT A LEGEND……it looked closed but someone was in there – he said the campsite was closed but I could stay there – he let me eat my food inside and have a couple beers – what a legend. It really was a pick me up and made the whole day just disappear. 3 beers and a campsite paid for and I was about $12aud poorer – what a bargain.

Day 69 – Ansart (Belgium) to Gussainville (France)

KM – 72.7

Avg – 17.4

Saddle Time – 4:10

Today really was what I like to call it…the start of a new mentality. The sun shone a little, I spoke to my wife in the morning, My hammy started to feel better (I am putting it down to the fact that I did a lot of flat riding for ages and now the hills are using different muscles) I don’t know what else it could be…..and also my mindset is changing a little and I am feeling more positive and starting to understand which roads to go on and which not to. I stopped for lunch in Virton (what a beautiful little town and I must say the French towns are really really nice). I stopped at a place called Pre’s Verts and had one of the best lunches – it was all fresh vegies with nice flavours and a quiche mmmm (see photo) and the coffee – umm Pre’s Verts I give you 8.5/10 – one of the nicest I’ve had in a while. I was feeling great but then had some bad news that my mate in the UK (AKA Wally) can’t join me due to some problems he’s having with applying for a visa (not a visa to join me – for other related issues) so that’s a shame – I was really looking forward to having a few days together and sharing the experience…I’ll have a beer for you in Metz my friend.

The day was getting on a bit and I really enjoyed the day and the countryside – It was getting dark so I just looked at my map and pedalled to the next town….I knocked on someones door and it turned out to be a bed n breakfast – funny…no signs at all – they weren’t that anymore but they let me pitch my tent out the back and she said she’ll cook me breakky at 9am – what a perfect end to a day – you know – sometimes things just work out don’t they – I said I won’t let her not charge me anything so she came up with $8 eur for breakky and free camping – I can’t argue with that – oh yeah and she gave me a password to her internet – what a perfect ending.

I am thinking of getting to Metz tomorrow and actually getting out of my clothes and having a shower – OMG do I need one – I will do some research there and really see where I want to go and call the rest of the trip I think

PS – After cooking my dinner, patting and feeding their cat for ages – it decides to pee on my tent a few times – dirty little thing – that’s gonna stink when i pack it away – i keep cleaning it off with water but he keeps doin it – no more food for you naughty little boy

Until then my friends – Tomorrow is another day and more suprises – thanks for enjoying the journey with me so far,.

Redman—out.

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Map to come but running out of battery so will do that next time and will add full route also

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