Sunday, November 10, 2019

Maastricht - Nijmegen - Arnhem (pt 7)

In Maastricht. The day is picture perfect with a taste of autumn. Hanging by the Maas at the Bonnefanten Museum's missile tower, observing the fietsers as they zip by. After marveling at the Maas and basking in the sunshine, I got to work editing a translation (on the recent Mexico quake), first inside and outside the Bonnefanten café, then at the Bibliotheek Ceramique.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

East Vlaanderen to Limburg (pt 6)

Sint-Truiden markt
The street market in Sint-Truiden was a real eye-opener. All the abundance of Europe on display … the supermarket pales in comparison. There was even a tobacco stall! And a giant seafood vendor with beautiful girls in aprons doling out mussels from stacks to wizened women. I got a pickled herring and a chicken cutlet, plus some of the land's famous apples.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

East Vlaanderen - pt 5


Where I am now: at the bottom of a field near Meldert, west of Hoegaarden. From Leen's place near Korbeek-Lo (east of Leuven), I headed south and over the A3/E40 to reach Neervelp, where I picked up the LF-6 east. I could've taken a more direct route to Sint-Truiden via knooppunten  ("LF is passé," said Luc in Boeschout), but I suspect the LF is more scenic and traffic-free. Leen Rosseel didn't know. Though she's lived here 37 years and is an avid cyclist and walker, she never took it. So far the route has gone through dull deserted villages and along roads with trucks, but just outside Meldert a strip of asphalt branches off through a field and now it's a truly rural scene. Signage is good and here again the LF often follows its own route, independent of the knooppunten. I haven't seen a single cyclist; I guess the LF is passé. The day is sunny, rather cool and quite windy though the wind is at my back.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

East Vlaanderen - pt 4

In Leuven. It's a hot day and I have nothing to do. Right now I'm sitting on a sort of grandstand by the Entrepot, an in-town dock where there's an old market or depot turned into a tony café. Ariane, my Vrienden op de Fiets host, says this part of town is being converted into a café zone.

In October, Ariane says, the population of Leuven doubles with the influx of university students. Now it is rather sleepy. My tentative plan is to look around town, then take a ride out to where my next Vrienden op de Fiets hosts are, a place called Korbeek-Dijle, southwest of town. Tomorrow I'll stay in yet another place, east of Leuven. This is fine; on a trip like this, it's good to keep moving.

Ariane's apartment is quite near the center of Leuven, a functional flat with large windows overlooking a playground occupied by swarthy locals. She's lived there for the past three years.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

East Vlaanderen - pt 3

Nete river
Every trip has its ups and downs, and today is a big up … so far. I just had a sandwich of pickled herring w/onions on fresh pumpkin seed bread plus summer cherries--all from the Tuesday market in Duffel--sitting in the extraordinarily pleasant Park 's Heerenbeemden, at around 11 am. The park is by the blauwebrug (blue bridge)--which crosses the Nete on the way south.

East Vlaanderen - part 2

I've been cycling through the section of Vlaanderen that is south and west of Hoogstraten. It is dull and empty. Nothing but cornfields, cows and agro-industry, interrupted only by the highway. The air is permeated by the stink of chemical fertilizer; can't be healthy to keep breathing the stuff in. Finally, at kp 98, somewhere around Malle, I hit a canal with a picnic table. A rarity in this landscape. So I take a break.