Calais to Bruges

We are team writing today.

Today’s ride from Calais to Bruges felt a lot longer than 77 miles. We are physically and mentally tired, so it is great that tomorrow is a rest day.

We made up with GPS navigation lady. She likes us and we like her. We mostly stayed on course, only straying when tempted by beaches. We had a few route segments we had to work around when the bike wouldn’t fit through bike gates or similar. We are getting better at dealing with such issues with minimal hassle.

Today was mostly flat roads through smaller towns. Dunkerque had a beautiful beach, although we also rode through some grungy areas. It had all of the characteristics of a large port city.

As we crossed into Belgium there was a distinct change in cycleways (better maintained and more of them). We saw many more cyclists and the drivers were more attentive.

The weather was pretty good, even though it rained off and on. Every time it would start raining we’d stop and put on our rain gear, which would make the rain stop. And we just keep thinking how much better it was than the cold constant heavy rain we had on our ride into Paris. The hardest rain of today is falling now, as we sit under a canopy at a restaurant getting dinner.

We are staying in a 200 year old home in Bruges, Belgium.  Bruges is amazing. Venice-like. Architecture is charming. It is old but clean. The rain stopped after dinner and we enjoyed strolling around. I (Natalie) am so happy to be back here again! (I visited here with my friend Greta during my internship.) It is a delightful little city. We are looking forward to a day to explore it tomorrow.

A pretty place we liked in Dunkirk
Bike looking out at the beach at Dunkerque, wishing it could swim….
Border between France and Belgium

3 Replies to “Calais to Bruges”

  1. You’ve made the transition from French fries to Belgian fries (albeit McDonald’s made) and from French drivers to Belgian drivers. I would think the French were a little more right-brained and the Belgians a little more left-brained. The French are out there for the scenery. The Belgians are preoccupied with staying on course and getting to their destination. Natalie and Pete, can you relate to that? The French may get lost, but have more fun. The Belgians with arrive at their BNB as near the appointed hour as possible and then scout the area nearby for a nevertheless atmospheric restaurant. It’s fun to tease about our national stereotypes. And what do these cool Europeans think of the American couple on their elongated orange machine with two narrow-backed lounge chairs and headrests ingeniously devised from golf club covers?

    1. National stereotypes are definitely interesting! I think the Belgians are more used to cyclists, and then the Dutch even more so. And overall we and our weird orange bike have been very warmly received with thumbs-up, friendly waves, occasional cheers, smiles, laughter, and sometimes fun little conversations. ?

  2. Bruges looks wonderful! Congratulate them on keeping such a charming city, with its lovely waterways, so alive and well. I think you’re in for many “waterways” treats in the Dutch countryside and seaside to come.

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