We got up around 9 the next day and took our breakfast out on our little patio: bread, salami, cheese, but disappointingly no eggs from the chicken coop. Corrie's boyfriend Toon was puttering around pruning bushes and carting things around with a wheelbarrow.
My plan was to follow a fietstocht that I'd found on route.nl: Ontdek de natuur rond Lommel. Lommel is the next town west from Overpelt. It's a 53 km loop round Lommel but if we got tired we could cut it short.
|Discovering Nature around Lommel|
At point 260 we traversed a narrow steel bridge over the canal and continued south along another more slender canal. At kp 268 we turned back east. We could have continued through this rural landscape but I suggested we ride into central Lommel and Alice liked the idea though after a couple of hours riding in the hot sun, she was tiring. The trail went alongside a busy road with continuous auto traffic. We rode into Lommel, parked the bikes and walked around. Lommel, too, felt more like a French or Spanish town than a Dutch one, partly because so many cars were flowing through the center, though there were plenty of bicycles too and places to park them. Down a side street was a Carrefour supermarket where we got some things for dinner.
Alice was very tired and wanted to go back to our abode. First we had a beer at one of the terrace cafes, an older, well-worn place called the Melchior. Mexico was playing Cameroon on a big-screen TV.
Back at our little cabin Alice showered and lay down while I labored at making a big salad: cukes, radishes, avocados, tomatoes and lots of smoked mackerel. Alice settled back to watch the match, Holland vs Spain. I was glad that Holland was creaming Spain, a bit of righteous revenge for blowing the last cup.
Unlike in Holland, minor roads in Belgium have two auto lanes, each flanked by narrow bike lanes, which are demarcated from the road by broken white lines. The knooppunt markers also look different: the numbers are on a blue background and have three digits instead of two. It also seems there are more of them, sometimes even too many, but always good to know you're on the right track. It seems that when a Belgian knooppunt marker is shown on a Dutch map, they drop the first digit, so 219 becomes 19. Alice said that this part of Belgium is where the knooppunt system began--and remains the only part of Belgium where they're used.