|76 cyclists so far today|
(Original date of this entry: Aug 23, 2017)
|Outskirts of Antwerp|
"We don't know everything," he said, and helpfully went to look it up on his computer. The Stedenroute—337 km from Amsterdam to Brussels. That's ok, I said, and went to pump up my tires with their compressed-air pump.
|Antwerp to Bergen Op Zoom via LF-2|
It's very warm but here in the Kalmthout forest rather nice under the trees. Clouded over a bit and the breeze is like a caress. The spot, a picnic table not far from the Kalmthout town entrance, is encircled by conifers with pine cones strewn upon a bed of needles. I'm pleased with the drink I just concocted—a bit of Bourdeaux wine with cold Spa Rood that I picked up at the Frituur Heide near the station of the same name—not Kalmthout but 'Heide,' where there's also a tony restaurant whose terrace is crowded with pumped-up racers.
From Kalmthout, the return ride was predictable, as I'd done it once before and I was surprised to find how well I recalled it—down to the marsh-side spot where I'd sat on a bench (today occupied by a silent couple). The tour of the heath, though pleasant to ride through, did not impress me so much this time around—a lot of it is a wasteland, albeit fringed by purple sprays. Then, continuing up the LF-2, a long stretch of flat fields, after which the warmth was pushed aside by cool winds that cleared the leaves off the trees in an autumnal effect. Crossed the border (marked by a bomb-like post), then a roadside trail through the Wouwse Plantage, then a 5km stretch west—which I recalled as a splendiferous interlude but now just appeared as rustic farmsteads and forest—into Bergen op Zoom.Unlike the last time I rode to Bergen op Zoom, in a disoriented frenzy, this time it was pretty straightforward, and the Intercity Direct to Amsterdam arrived about six minutes after I did. I'll be back in my town by 10:30 pm. This worked out well. I've had about enough, yet the fact that I started and ended in Holland gives the trip a certain symmetry. Essentially I cycled an arc: Middelburg-Ghent-Antwerp-Bergen op Zoom. Taken together with the previous ride, Zandvoort → Rockanje (with a frenzied last dash to Schiedam), it adds up to summer '17's grand tour.