Belgium is a small country

…and it did not take many biking days to go through it.
After another good breakfast, I said good bye to Didier and went on my way. I got some bread with me, I really liked their home-made bread!
The weather was really nice, and even though I went pretty slow (about 15 km/h) it was a nice biking day. I did not really hurry and took some breaks here and there.

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It was a bit hilly, but as I took it slow, there were no problems. Also, you always got the downhill after going up!

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As I took long time on me, I used my solar panel to charge my things on the brakes. It really works well in this hard sunny weather, and I think there will be no problem with electricity during trips between more remote locations!

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It did not happen very much during this day, which I did not mind. One strange thing happened though, as the navigator told me to turn left. It seemed like a thing I could not do!

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There were another quiet border pass, and without the GPS, I would not know when I had passed the border. Soon after the border, I arrived at the place where I planned to sleep for tonight, a drop zone (skydiving centre) in France. The people were really friendly (which I was sure they would be) and it was much cheeper than a hostel (2 euro for a night, inclusive internet, shower, bathroom and so on, and it was good standard at everything). Also, I got to live near the sound of skydivers swooping and airplanes taking off and landing, which is a pretty nice sound!

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A really good resting day!

I had a really nice breakfast with my hosts, and also Max and Sophie joined. As I understand it they were both friends of Anne and Didier, and Sophie rented the apartment on the fourth floor while Max was just staying for some days.

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I then went out to visit the flea market, which I had read would be huge, and they were not kidding. It took me some hours to go through it, and I almost felt like I had not gone through it all!
I found some things I liked: Some old post cards, a small mechanical packet watch and also I found a cheap nail clipper (1 euro), probably some sort of imported china stuff, but I forgot mine at home!

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After that I headed to a big street market near the south station. I mostly went around and looked, but also found an old VW T2 that sold waffles. Too bad the chocolate were out, but the waffle still tasted good!

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Then, of course, I went to the Grand Placa for some more sightseeing. It rained, but I got a plenty nice picture, even if the panorama makes the towers look bent:

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I also went to le Bourse as the postcards I found was old pictures of the building. The lady thought the postcards was from around 1920, and with the cars on the picture, it could be true!

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After that, I went home and started with changing room as Max had gone. It was a rather nice room with a self illuminating star sky in the bed section but also a small home theatre.

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I watched a movie, Vanishing point from 1970-something. I also organised my stuff and looked a little bit on tomorrows trip, even though I was not sure where or how far I wanted to go.
During the movie, the two Korean guys who was also going to live here arrived. They were out on a 60-day Europe-trip, and was right now going the opposite direction of me, so they came from Paris.
We ate dinner together in the evening, all of us, before I went out again, and it was a good time for a gathered photo!

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Joi, who I met yesterday, tipped me of a “squat place” I think it is called, where people had started living in an abandoned building and got legally approved to do so. They made food every evening where people could pay whatever they wanted to. Joi wasn’t there but I started talking with some other people, and then followed to girls for a walk, Els and Nathalie if I got their names right. They were studying in Brussels and usually came to this place to eat as the food were really good, they said. Too bad I had already eaten me more than full because it looked delicious!

We went around a bit and they showed me the fountain I had not found earlier, another really touristic must-see place!

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When going home, I saw the independence statue a couple of hundred metres away. I did not know what it was, but asked two ladies on the street. One of them lives in Barcelona and we may meet there for some tea. It is always fun how you can meet people in so many ways!
I think at least I have seen most of the usual Brussels places after this days trips.

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When I came home, Didier and the Korean boys had went out to watch the game. Anne was home so we talked some more and also said good bye as she was going to leave early for the morning.
I then saw another movie, Broken, and ate some goodies. I say it again, I really felt spoiled, Anne and Didier were so kind all the time!

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I then went to sleep in the enormous bed. I can’t remember when I had so much space to sleep at last time!

Brussels!

The day started with another good breakfast, and I went up in somewhat time for the first day in some time. I left at nine o’clock as they were going away. Today, I got some sort of biscuits with me, that I think were a form of Belgium speciality. They were really nice though, and lasted for the 70 kilometres I went today.

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Apart from some small stops, it was the usual biking. The weather has been cloudy all day, with some droplets of rain, but nothing enough making my gear wet. Also is has been headwind, so sometimes it really felt hard to motivate myself to go further, but I knew it would feel good when I would arrive in Brussels.
I met a pair of touring bikers, that had actually gone from M√ľnster, and they were going to be out for two weeks, I think it was. I stopped and talked with them while they were shopping so I could get a small break, and then went further.
Also, today has been my first injury on my gear. I miscalculated and came too close to a concrete block, and got some damage on my right front pannier. Nothing some duct tape won’t fix, though!

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When I arrived at the place, I got greeted by Anne and Didier. They live in an old nice house from 1894, and it is really beautiful! My view from the room I stay in is also pretty nice:

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I have already got treated lunch, and then I showed them how to use the Warmshowers website as they were not really used to it.
After eating some more I went out to look at the night life. On my way there I saw these people playing in front of a church, and stayed and listened for some minutes. They were really good!

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I have never really been a club person and neither this time was it that good. I talked to a few people, but went out from there quite early, at ten. Before going home I saw this synth/emo/rocker-people and went there and talked with them. The rocker guy, Joi, was really nice and we talked for one and a half hour before I got too sleepy and had to bike home. He tipped me about some nice almost “hippie place” that I may visit tomorrow night. It was a nice evening!

Country-change!

I got to stay in the nice couples house so I could sleep for as long as I wanted. I went up by ten o’clock, took a shower and then went down for breakfast (that was already on the table. I do feel spoiled sometimes while traveling like this!).

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Aad came back from Utrecht at 1225, so I met him to pick up my rain clothes and say goodbye. It was a really nice stay, especially during the circumstances (that is, not having anywhere to sleep).
I then started to bike to my next destination: Gierle. I had another Warmshower answer who told me she had actually moved, but her parents could probably host me, so I contacted them and got an OK pretty soon!
With 42 kilometres left I stopped for a brake and ate a sandwich I had gotten with me from the breakfast. I also took the time to take some new profile pictures for Warmshowers and Couchsurfing as I do not longer have my long blue hair!

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I then continued, and after a while it started appearing Belgium flags everywhere. Apparently I had crossed the border without even noticing!
The vending machines seem to be pretty popular here. For snack I bought some waffles and a cola, which was actually good, and cheap according to me!

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I went the last distance, but had problem finding the house. Apparently the road is some sort of three-way, but after finding someone who knew the road, I found the house right away.
This couple, Agnes and Gilbert, was also really nice. They lived in a really nice house on the outskirts of a small village. They did have some trees and plants they got fruit and vegetables from, and also chickens. They had also traveled by bike earlier, for example in Marocko, and had some nice pictures in a calendar from the trip!
Also, the blog view from tonight was really nice!

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