Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day 10 Rest day in Ieper

Full day of 1st world war battlefield tour. Our tour guide Karl was very knowledgeable and entertaining. I am by no means a 1st world war buff but this tour was very informative even though very few U.S. troops were involved. Much of the tour centered around British, Irish, New Zealand, Australian, French and Belgium soldiers. Many of the buildings and churches we visited on our own before our guided tour were actually totally destroyed in battles dating to the 1914 and 1918 conflict. All has been rebuilt over the years to there original design.
 view outside our front hotel door
 completely rebuilt church

 British tea room
 Rediscovered  German bunkers
Tour guide Karl  (blue shirt)

Day 9 Ronse Belgium to Ieper Belgium 68 kilometers

This town is pronounced (EE-per). It is the site of 3 very fierce battles between the Germans and the Allied troops during the 1st world war but more about that in tomorrows blog. We will be spending another off day here to take in the sites. The day began as the last couple of days have with gray and threatening skies along with a heavy and constant head wind. The rain held up but the winds continued almost the entire day. Luckily though the hills flattened out around mid day. The hills and wind made the ride much longer than anticipated.
 church outside of our hotel room
 Ronse city sign
 Belgium breakfast
 countryside views
 sign for southern belgium ( wallonia )

 Are we still in Belgium?
 No motorbikes allowed
more canal crossings

Monday, August 24, 2015

Day 8 Sint-Pieter Leeuw to Ronse 85 Kilometers

The forecast for this day was rain, rain, rain. So when we awoke to a somewhat sunny but cloudy day i was very happy. The happiness did not last too long though. At around noon it started to come down. We were able to take some shelter in non other than a roadside chapel of all places. The rain did slow down as we set off to our destination, only to get soaked again as we were only about 10 minutes from our hotel. We were warmly welcomed by the hotel owner even though we arrived soaked

 Garden gnomes

Day 7 Leuven to Sint-Pieters Leeuw thru Brussel 69 kilometers

Another sunny day greeted us as we headed out of leuven for a short tour of Brussels. As the head of the European Union this trip lead us to the Grand Place and the little boy peeing. The Grand Place was filled with many tourist taking pictures eating and people watching. One could easily have spent at least a full day and then some to do a complete tour but with our limited time frame we were forced to move on.

Rest Day in Leuven Belgium 0 miles /kilometers

Rest day in Leuven. Beautiful sunny skies and warm temps led Mark and i on self guided walking tour of this city. Many others had the same idea. Beer, churches, and historical sights.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

day 5 Sint-Truidin to Leuven 78 kilometers

Day 5 of our around Flanders cycling adventure, a modest and warmer day of riding finishing at the busy and beautiful college town of Leuven. The days ride very much mimics the previous days ride. It goes something like this; village, corn field, village, apple orchard, village, pear orchard, and so on. Belgium is the 2nd most populated country in the European Union so one does not need to ride that far to come upon a village. We stopped at the Stella brewing company to arrange for a brewery tour only to find out that all the tours were sold out. Rest day in Leuven tomorrow, plenty to see and do.
 apple orchards galore
 new plantings
 what is Herbie doing in Belgium ?
 Other touring cyclists
 Stella and a local beer
Mark!  only pick the good ones.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

day 4 Maastritch Netherlands to Sint -Truidun 65 kilometers

A beautiful sunny day greeted Mark and I as we lazily made our way out of the college town of Maastritch.  We entered into our 3rd of 4 routes which make up the Route of Flanders. This route travels from east to west along the southern most portion of Flanders. The highlights of this route are the hills, not big hills, not the Rocky mountains, but enough to make us work a little bit. If the weather stays like this  for the rest of the trip there will be no complaints from this end. This is a rainy country. Our luck will run out soon.
 college town
 wide open bike path
 strawberry dispensing machine
 fresh berries
 85% catholic population
 pear trees next to road
 sir markolot

made it