Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To Antwerp

Sunday, 7th of August. I decided to cycle the Albertkanaal, and as my little Google maps cantle, where on the backside I had written down all the names of the towns I had to pass by using an ink pen, was so much afflicted with yesterday's rain I needed some help from a local. He sent me to Beringen where the canal passes. There I lost my new sunglasses.

Right now I have lost (respectively forgotten):
  • the good one of my 1 litre aluminium drinking bottles by leaving it after fixing the chain (I bought a new one in Bedburg, only 750 ml, but also with a drinking straw)
  • one cotton bag with fruits during cycling and one cotton bag I used for collecting my laundry, which I left at Franzi's home, were I was able to use a washing machine (Octavian gave me two new one he didn't need)
  • my water proofed windbreaker – but fortunately some car drivers adverted to that by honking the horn, so it's actually almost lost
  • a nut slice which felt off the bag while I cycled downhill, holding the bag between my left hand and the handelbar
  • my bicycle gloves, which I left at the toilette of a café, but realized it then I went on my bike
Things I forget to pack at home:
  • a hairbrush (I bought one in Sittard)
  • the camera cable to be able to use the photos on a computer (up to now I was often fortunate that my hosts had a card reader)

The bicycler's rules do no longer work: I had constantly wind from the west, that means adverse winds! – regardless how large the forthcoming cyclist's group was. This canal has a different character as my local Main–Danube Canal, bigger, much industry beneath and many people do water skying.
After 30 kilometres on the canal path I decided to try another route. So I reached Geel, where lots of young people broke up from a raggae festival. Much of funny cars (painted and/or old), also interesting smelling smoke. Bart, my today's host in Antwerp, told me later that this was the festival he had visited, while he wasn't able to host me the day before.

Because it was still windy while using the street I turned back to the canal.
Once a forthcoming racing cyclist made the thumbs up sign (regarding the wind plus my package, I think). This was one of the few communicative situations in Belgium. Greeting isn't common there – normally you don't get a reaction when you are greeting. Greeting forthcoming people (especially bicyclists) is one of my hobbies: In Germany they normally answer the greeting and you often get a smile, in the Netherlands they smile at you a priori and you have to be fast to be the first one to greet someone. But in Belgium there's just nothing – not even some irritation, what also would be nice. I really like the people from the Netherlands, other than the Belgium people (nevertheless they are cooperative and friendly when you're searching for the road and so on).

After 105 kilometres I reached Antwerp. First impression was disappointing. Big streets, much traffic, allover industry. But than I met a racing cyclist which stopped while I was asking a woman how to cross a bridge which wasn't allowed for bicycle. He offered to lead my to my host's home, and not only that, it was great to chat. He had seen me on the canal when cycling the other direction, and he was so kind, he choose a route through the historic part of Antwerp and made a small tourist guiding. Thank you so much, Wim, I would love to here from you again!


  1. Hi Sanne!

    I finally created an account so I can answer to your blog. It's nice to read your travel experiences, to be honest I'm a fan of your blog in meanwhile and that's no joke.
    The pleasure was all mine to join you for a few k's upto your couch host. As said, it was real nice to see your courage, sence for adventure, positiveness and passion for cycling. Lovely steel trekking bike, but I told you that :o)

    It all is very inspiring! Wish you much good luck and most of all joy.

    All the best & if you ever reach antwerp again, just let me know.

  2. Hi Wim,

    I have changed the settings right now, I wasn't aware that you needed an account to make a commentary. So thanks for letting me know.

    Many thanks for the pleasant work. Makes me much more motivated to go on writing; :-)

    Same to you, come to Bamberg, you are more than welcome!

    All the best,