Well … it’s been a while since the last blog post. A lot to update since Zonhoven. We haven’t had solid WiFi for long enough to write and post in the last week so this will be a long one.
We started today with a cold morning that quickly turned into rain. The goal for the day was to bike to the outskirts of Brussels and then ride into the city in the evening and explore. About half way through the day though, a girl named Alix messaged us on the Instagram page asking if we needed a place to stay, I told her we were headed to the Brussels area that night and she offered for us to stay with her brother who lived in the city center. So new plan -Brussels-.
We stopped for lunch at ALDI and rerouted our maps for Brussels after Alix’s brother Cedric sent us his address. We had about 40 miles left until we were there and it was 2pm-ish so we decided to go a bit faster to take down some miles and get to the city sooner. The ride to Brussels was the hilliest day we had to date, of course now we’ve dealt with more hills so we look back at ourselves on that day and just think we’re whiners. But because we hadn’t done hills yet, and we had gone 40 miles with almost no stops we were beat coming into Brussels, we stopped at a café and had some coffee before we decided we wanted to go and stay with Cedric and his roommates. Originally we were planning on leaving after the coffee shop but we were still feeling pretty beat and didn’t wanna show up to their place tired so we looked up some things for people to do in Brussels and one of the only ones that was open was this bar that had 2004 beers in the establishment so we had the beer that they brew there and then we went to Cedric‘s apartment.
When we showed up to the apartment it was a little place with a small elevator and we had to go one at a time with our bikes propped up in the elevator to the fourth floor where their place was. When we came into the apartment, it was Cedric, his girlfriend, his two roommates and a plate of spaghetti waiting for us.
We ate food with the group and talked about our trip and then Cedric went off to his boxing classes and the rest of us went out to a restaurant.
We stayed at the restaurant and talked until 11PM and Cedric came around 10 to join us.
The next morning Henry and I woke up on the apartment couches and there is an embarrassing story about Henry that he did in the morning, but I don’t think he’d want me writing about it online, so if you want to know you can ask me personally.
We left Brussels and Cedric and Wim and Greg and Sarah in the morning and set our course to Oudenaarde where we were told we’d have a place to stay.
It wasn’t a super eventful day. Another rain day with lots of farm between our start and end.
We arrived to Oudanaarde at 5PM. We had a pretty good time, we were told that we would have a place to stay in our Oudenaarde, but that ended up not working out so we looked for camping and there was none and then we looked for WarmShowers stays and there were none, so instead we hung out at a park and for about three hours just talking and waiting for WarmShowers people to respond. Once it started getting dark so we decided we should probably leave the city and go find an actual campsite so we biked about 15 km more to a campsite outside of the city just down the river on a trail and we stayed there that night.
It was a weird campsite, it was in a different town waaaaay at the top of this hill and it was called Panorama. The layout of the camp was funky because they had to re-landscape for the camp pads since it was on a hill, so to make it flat they made it look like a staircase for a Giant and we slept on his bottom step.
We actually had another guy today named Jasper who asked us on Instagram if we needed a place to stay and he said that he lived in Wervik, Belgium which is just on the border of France and he had a guest house so we decided we would bike over there and stay with him and his family. They’re all big bicyclists too, and we stayed in their guest house and his family made us dinner and we swam in their pool and they lived out on the countryside and it was a very beautiful place and his father is the CEO of a cheese company and so we got to eat all our cheeses and one of their cheeses was the best Gouda in the world in 2016. Lots of facts to keep up with.
The family was so nice, they let us wash our clothes and they left us breakfast in the morning. We’re tempted to go back through Belgium just to go to Brussels and Wervick again.
It was a short day for biking, but for lunch Henry ate an entire baguette (again).
Today we had no clue where we wanted to go, but we had to be in Paris in 4 days and it was 200 Miles away so we knew we had to crank it today. We decided instead after 15 miles, because Henry’s bike broke down we had to fix it at a church, that we weren’t gonna make it in Paris in time for our Airbnb so we were going to camp in Lille, France for two nights I’m not to take the train into Paris.
We ended up doing the same thing we did in Oudenaarde. Where we just sat in the town for about four hours looking for camping and WarmShowers until it got dark and we decided we needed to actually go somewhere for camping.
We ended up going to a farm campsite about 8 miles out of the town and camped there for the night. So overall another 25-ish mile day but no worries.
I woke up this morning and said “Henry, do you want to go to Paris today?” He said sure and we got up, packed up and biked to Lille to the train station. Lille was an amazing city. We got there a few hours early to explore. Definitely worth it.
We had to pack our bikes into bags in order to be let on the train, so we got tickets 2 hrs in advance and took our bikes apart for the train. The train was only €30 too. We even got first class. We’re just two fancy dudes traveling through the French countryside I guess.
We got to Paris at 7pm, put our bikes together at the platform and got to our hostel at 8PM. We had to stay at a hostel before the Airbnb because we got there early.
Peace and Love Hostel August 20-22
We arrived at the Hostel after already having booked online and paid €80 for two people and two beds for two nights which is a cheap price for a good reason. We ended up having to share a bed the first night because somehow they booked the hostel wrong, I was able to get a refund in the end but I had to wait three days for the person I was supposed to ask a for refund to finally arrive at hostel, and Henry‘s phone got stolen off of the bed he was sleeping on.
Even with all the crazy stuff that happened, it was still fun. We were in a 12 person dorm with 7homeless middle eastern guys and 3 kids.
Very sketchy to say the least, but we did enjoy our stay at Peace and Love Hostel. So if you’re looking for a good time, don’t go there. If you’re looking for a good story, you know where to go.
We finally were able to go to our Airbnb. I have explored all the ‘must see’ sights in Paris to start off our time in Paris. Now my goal is to find the secret spots where I can get super good food for non tourist prices.
I’m not sure if it’s achievable but we are here until the 31st so I’ve got time. We found on spot by the Pantheon with a lot cheap stores with good stuff. Still touristy but I’m getting there.
The time in Paris where we aren’t dealing with crazy stuff happening we’ve just been exploring and getting to know our favorite spots. Im an expert at the subway here now.
I’ll write all about my favorite spots later, but it’s too soon to say so far.
Apologies for any typos I may have missed, I used voice dictation this time.