Days Km: 273, Total Km: 1288
With heavy hearts but I’d say rather happy livers we left Amsterdam heading south. Not to be outdone by the UK in its send off the Netherlands decided, after 2 days of stunning sunshine, to see us off with a barrage of constant rain as soon as we mounted the bikes. However as hard as it tried, and it did a pretty good job on the rain front, it didn’t even come close to matching the arctic cold of northern Scotland. And so even though we were slowly being soaked to the bone we left Amsterdam for the hinterland with smiles on our faces and excited for the days ride ahead.
First stop on the ride down; Bas, Timo and the boys at Superyacht Spares, our unofficial shipping agents who will hopefully be able to get us a chain or spare part to Turkmenistan if all goes terribly wrong. Was great fun chatting about the route with them and the coffee was hugely appreciated! A special thanks to Timo for planning our route for us in such an indepth manner, image on the right. Apparently they’ve built a tunnel under the Himalayas we didn’t know about… In all serious though I’ve just realised we haven’t actually put a map up of our planned route so will get on that and have it up soon. Timo’s route gives a somewhat vague idea but I wouldn’t take it too seriously!
From there it was onto the highway and into Belgium. The destination being Bruges or Brugge as the locals call it. A City with a turbulent past, starting out as a sheep shearing village that became one of the powerhouses of western Europe only to fade away again after some unfortunate circumstances. This means the city itself is perfectly preserved and still holds much of its historic charm, with soaring towers and church steeples, and beautiful cobbled streets.
With every intention of leaving in the morning to continue on towards Germany, Bruges drew us back in and after a morning of exploring it was decided that another night was necessary to truly appreciate this ancient town steeped in mystery and full of History. It was also a great opportunity to make the most of a bit of decent internet and hash out a slightly more detailed Europe itinerary and finalise a couple of visas. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed by now but we’re winging a lot of this trip, terribly unorganised but continuously baffled by how helpful and supportive everyone seems to be along the way. Everything truly does seem to be falling into place.
Today we head East towards Luxembourg for a bit of camping in the apparently breathtaking forests in the rolling hills and rugged terrain of the Ardennes. It also seems that overnight a Sunday market has sprung up around our cunningly parked bikes. Leaving should be interesting..