June 9, 2018
After a good nights sleep we said our farewells to Sonia and Ward.
Unfortunately Garmin failed us again. Ralf had downloaded the maps of the Europe Cycle Routes but for some inexplicable reason they didn’t end up on his garmin. We tried again last night but this morning they were still not there!!
We headed out with a paper map of the cycling routes and with a rough idea of where we were going to sleep and the address of the campsite in Westerlo.
Raymond Impanis was a world class Tour de France cyclist who came from this area. We only cycled a short distance on his route.
Belgium is infamous for its cobblestones, it you know anything about cycling you will know about the Tour of Flanders – the cobblestones are horrendous. Ward referred to them as Kinder Kopf (children’s head) rather gruesome when you think about it, but very funny. We only had to cross a couple of sections of cobblestones today, it is really tough on your hands
We were given directions to the camping store so that we could buy gas and followed a series of cycling routes to our destination of Westerlo. The camping store was called Zorro!
We passed a giant lawnmower. I didn’t think had a thing about “giant” things like in Australia and Canada, but apparently they have “giant” lawnmowers.
It was a lovely days ride we followed the excellent cycling routes of Belgium north-east. The routes tell you which number to follow along the route by a series of intersections. Which means if you do not know the system you may get very confused and lost. Each “route” tells you the next intersection to look for and that has a number on it. Initially it looks as though you are following route 41 but that is intersection 41 and when you get to that intersection you have to know if you are going to intersection 40 or 39, or switching to another cycle route and following 67! It sounds very complicated but so long as you know what routes you are following it makes it very easy. We saw people with cards on their bikes which only had the numbers on indicating the intersections to follow. Not the town or city they were heading for but the #s of the intersections they were going to follow.
We looked for somewhere to eat as we entered a small town. We actually smelled our lunch before we spotted the Imbiss (fast food truck). Lunch was a bratwurst on a really good bun.
We had a map to follow but eventually fell off the map and headed towards Westerlo, we passed Westerlo and found ourselves in the City of Herental. We spotted a bike shop and Ralf went in to ask about Europe maps for the garmin and where we could buy another map like the one that Sonia had given us. He directed us to a bookshop in the centre of Town and told us where a campsite was and gave us directions on how to get there. He called the campsite to reserve a spot for us.
Our campsite is actually a Boy Scout Camp. As we arrived there were a group of guys drinking beer. This was a promising sign, although we didn’t know if they had bought it with them or if it was available. It isn’t very often you can get beer at a Boy Scout camp.
We were told there would be a spaghetti dinner and breakfast was available from 8:00a.m. While we were waiting for dinner, uploading garmins, planning tomorrows route and writing the blog we saw that there was a small bar that sold beer. The beer is made by the Boy Scouts! You have to love Belgium and Belgium beer! As we sat down for dinner the noise increased from 5 decibels to 1 million decibels, as 100 boys came in for dinner. We later discovered these were boys ranging from 8 to 14 and were in a soccer tournament for the week-end.
Surprisingly our camp-site was very quiet and we were asleep very quickly.
Ralf spotted four windmills and I spotted 1. Four to one not a good start for me and we have not passed through Holland yet.