Lisbon | Nordkapp >> Cycling in Belgium

ROUTE

  • Lille (F) – Ghent
  • Ghent – Antwerp
  • Antwerp – ´S Hertogenbosch (NL)

Getting to Belgium from Lille was easy like drinking a dark beer in Ghent.
Well, Belgium is a very small country, but hey, they have an unreasonable amount of beer per capita. Especially the dark one. Taste is reasonable though.

It is easy to point Ghent and Antwerp as you just need to follow the river Scheldt where you can see big barges moving slowly in all directions. Like the “freedom”. And freedom was exactly the verdict I earned after too much time spent inside a fake golden prison.

Belgium_freedom

I arrived in Ghent late in the afternoon thanks to very flat cycle paths, as we expect from this Nordic countries. Despite the morning rain, the sun joined me at the end of the day, and when I entered the city center I had to sit in front of a canal for a dark beer.

Belgium_Beer

The ancient streets were crowded of people waiting for the sun to leave the city. Right after the sunset I met Sophie, another great warm shower host living in a beautiful but dangerous house. I say dangerous because the stairs were impossible. I mean it. It is a mystery to me how Belgian people can go to work everyday without breaking their neck bone down the stairs.

We spent the evening together, talking about life and ideas, both trying to change something in our young lives. We were looking for something else, something forgotten. But not like the mushrooms she really forgot in the huge “junk” room she offered me. Huge room, huge and comfy bed in the middle of mushrooms and chaos. Waking up with an home made mushroom´s cultivation not far from your nose is not that common.

Cycling in Belgium along the Scheldt river from Ghent to Antwerp it would have been even more fascinating if it was not for the rain and scary tornado like clouds which reminded me to the “The Wizard of Oz” book.

Belgium_Tornado

Rainy days are always the most lonely as we never stop cycling if not just for eating and taking a break from the weather. That day I had to eat standing under a tiny roof which protected me from the strong rain and wind but did not manage to save my sandwiches. Loosing a sandwich is really bad luck.

Belgium_loneliness

Belgium_Bike

I arrived on the other side of the river, in front of the city of Antwerp without understanding how to get there. There was a lot of water between us.
Well, I figured out they have an underwater tunnel.
Despite the retro charm I did not feel really comfortable down there to be honest.

Belgium_Antwerp

Luckily that night Daniel and Ana, a Portuguese family who moved to Antwerp few years ago, welcomed me in their beautiful family who warmed up my hearth. The lovely apartment, its colors, the food and especially sitting together at the table talking, laughing and eating. Parents, kids and an Italian cyclist with a Portuguese love.
Beautiful Coincidences. So many coincides that never stopped happening.
And they were one of them.

Belgium_Antwerp

The sun showed up the day I left Antwerp and the sky turned blue again at least for few hours before cycling through a town divided by the border. Really, half of the city belong to Belgium and the other half to The Netherlands.
Well this is the proof that borders do not exist. We trace them just because we want to.

I, obviously, kept cycling without borders.

IMG_20160616_160223530-01.jpeg

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