Monday, 7 May 2012

First of all I am fine, and thankfully the rain has stopped. For now. Since leaving Chart Sutton on Monday I have travelled 530 kilometres (you will have to convert to church of England yourselves)although it feels like more. From a very wet camping experience in Dover I crossed the chanel on Tuesday and arrived in Calais just after mid-day. After 20 minutes of sight seeing in circles I decided to check my route with two helpful locals. I found the Calais Canal leading me out of Calais in a south east direction. Stayed in a campsite the first night - telling the owner my destination, he presented me with three slices of very nice apple tart. The French do cycling very well: their wide straight roads easily accomadating a cycle path on either side. Second day in France it rained and rained and rained. Stopping early to camp in a wood listening to the rain on the leaves whilst I read my book. I only noticed I had entered Belgium (via Peruwelz) when suddenly the number plates changed to red on white. Certainly the highlight of the trip so far has been the generosity of Micheal and his family who fed me and provided what felt like the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. Looking for a youth Hostel in Mons I went into a Bicyle shop to ask directions. The owner asked me to direct my questions to his patron - Michael - who probably speaks English better than I does. It turned out Michael and his wife Murielle had been watching a tv game show the night before in which contestants travel across unfamiliar and exotic countries with no money - the winner whoever is first to reach a predetermined destination. Maria had turned to Michael and said "would you help someone out in a situation like that?" "Sure" To my eternal gratitude was his reply. With a map of Belgium provided by my hosts I rode off into the rising sun along the N90 towards Charleoi and what I have come to affectionately call "the industrial heartland of Europe" ending up in Namur, a nice university town where the Meuse and Sambre rivers meet. After a frantic hour of asking where the youth hostel was and getting blank expressions I eventually found it just outside the centre in a nice suburb along the Meuse. Three Belgium beers later I was happily arguing with a french student. From Namur to Liege - a large city I had heard of before but nothing else. I have staid two days to refuel, restock and rest my derrier. Today: Germany, hills and Aachen. Thinking off you all bqcck home, hoping you are all well and happy. Wish I knew what was happening in Game of Thrones


  1. Wow, Richard, doing well mate! How interesting that the French have a game show which centres around having no money. I can't see it catching on here, but it's clearly the way to go. Forwarding your blog to Patrick who was asking. May the road be smooth and the dogs few and rabies free (I'll look up the danger zone for you) Eugenia xx

  2. Glad its going well (apart from a few spelling mistakes :D)
    Take care of yourself, enjoy and look forward to the regular updates!

    From Cindy & Martin

  3. It's great to see that you enjoyed your stay here. Actually, I'm not the "Patron" of the bike shop you enterred in to ask your way. I'm just a client sharing a complete passion for biking. This is surely this passion of biking that pushed me to propose you to come home (in addition with the tv show, which have convinced Murielle). Trust me it was better for you to here my English than Garbiel's one (The owner of cycle Gabriel). Speaking about Charleroi, you'll not be surpise to hear that the city has been proposed to be used as a scene for the last "Largo Winch", to be representative of a "Romanian old communist industrial city". The production proposed to blow up an old metal factory live! The project was rejected by Charleroi! Don't ask me why. I'm sure most of the population would have been happy to get rid of this ugly infrastructures.

    How is it going with the front fork pointing the good direction? Take care, Michel, Murielle, Esteban Rafael!