- ODO 357km
- Weather 14-28 Sunny all day with storm building over Ghent
- Location Ghent, Belgium
- Feelings Tired and blocked up. Calm.
Yesterday after getting off the ferry I was in heaven. Riding down the steep metal ramp and out into silent French back streets. Forgetting briefly which side of the road I should now be riding on before being reminded by a stream of lorry bound right for me. It was late afternoon by the time I arrive and I covered a good 35km with a smile on my face. The fact that the French/Dutch coast line is completely flat also helped somewhat.
I tested out my thunderous petrol stove for the very first time, making some pasta with a little sauce I’d brought from my flat at home and rolled out my bivy. My house for the next month. It has a nice little porch and I was a good temperature throughout the night. I even worked out I can curl sideways for comfort just as I like. The pulsing lights of Dunkirk as my night light, I slept restlessly. Nightmares of being found wild camping in the night, or run over by a combine harvester, not spotting my wheat green tent in the long stems all kept me awake.
I’ve noticed that while I’m on the bike and moving I feel positive. I’m making progress and I enter a really calm place. When I stop I think more about the reality of what I’m doing and that’s where I become more sad, anxious or lonely.
In the flat wheat field where I sleep has hare, as big as my mums spaniel, jumping and frolicking for spring. And in the night my tent got covered by small white snails. There’s so many I can understand why there is a need to eat them. Every blade of wheat has them. I discover dear prints by the secret path to my campsite but later realised that it was my cycle shoes that created a dear like pattern.
After a full on day cycling alongside canals and through small towns I was on a mission to make it to see my friend Eline in Gents. After being delayed by the closure if a riverside path for new flats construction I was tired and pushing a hard 22km per hour to reach the coffee shop where we would be meeting. So focussed that I didn’t hear the bell of Mit. A short figure with short hair woman and a short cargo bike. She chased me up a bridge ringing her bell and when I and invited me back to hers. I agreed but said I had to take see Eline first. She gave me directions to hers and I carried into town.
Later as the I followed the directions the road became a private track which became a path through long grass. Mit had put a sign out with my name pointing the way. What was I getting myself in for. I admit I was apprehensive. But when I got to the end of the track I reached the most amazing hand built cabin in the woods. Mit was there smiling and waving me in and we spent the evening drinking wine from the best Belgian wine maker in France, eating a vegetable tagine sourced from the organic farm, on which Mit’s house sat, and chatting to the farmer David about fledgling birds waiting to take flight the next morning. We could hear the flapping. Once the sun had set we returned to the hut to plan the route to see her brother the next day.