Day 1.388 – Goodbye France, Hello Belgium (w/ photos)
Givet (FR) -> Namur (B)
Distance (km) : 55
Time on bike : 3h 37m
Brutto time: 12.20 – 16.40
Avg : 15.3 km/h
Total (km) : 61.147
Altitude: 80 m
As with all other good things in life, my stay in Givet has come to an end. 14 days with indoor comforts (incl. immense amounts of wifi and time in Camp WT), relaxation, knee exercises, Ibuprofen, chill-out time with new friends in Givet – not to mention the mild frustration about the knee situation.
I leave Givet just after noon and have an easy 55 km ride to Namur in Belgium. The winter’s suddenly back in Givet, and the temperature’s minus 3 degrees Celsius. To spice things up, I’m hit by a brisk headwind all day. Not quite what I was hoping for.
The bike computer says 61.097 when, after 15 minutes, I reach the unpatrolled Belgian border along the Meuse River. WT-country #50 in 45½ months.
Naturally, I’m careful not to push it today. My knee seems to be doing all right (after I put the saddle up some 3 cm the other day – the equivalent to the thickness of the sole of my new, trouble-making (but warm) boots), but still I somehow feel a bit fragile, a bit vulnerable, having realized how thin the line between feeling like Superman and being handicapped can be.
The scenery along the Meuse River is equally great on the Belgian side, with lots of impressive, vertical rock formations right on the edge of the river. Most of the day I’m on a car-free bike path, sometimes cobblestoned (no like), often paved (yes like).
Via Hospitalityclub.org I’ve organized a place to stay in Namur at Nicolas’ and Sophies house in the centre of the city of 110.000 inhabitants. Nicolas (professor of geography) and Sophie (graphic designer) recently moved into their beautiful 3-story apartment with Raja, the 3-months-old Bengal cat – it didn’t take long before I’d completely lost my heart to this little furry nugget.
There’s Belgian beer, French red, Sophie’s delicious lasagne, non-stop conversations and cosy times in the house with my new friends/hosts. The decision to take tomorrow off to do some sightseeing in Namur and to spend a little more time with Nicolas and Sophie (and to rest my knee that started feeling a little sore this evening (despite the beer, wine and Belgian whisky!)) is an easy one…
…plus, Raja needs more cuddles! You see why, right…