Once I had escaped the grips of the forest I headed into Brussels town, my aim was to get to see the atomium. I popped into a bus shelter to look at the map and figure the route out, it turns out I was very close and after a short incline it was down hill most of the way. I found myself a sign with Brussels on it, so did a bit of filming and as the sky had gone a horrible shade of grey I knew I needed to find shelter and quickly. I passed another bus shelter but this one was full of people all looking up at the sky, no room for a fully laden bike and it’s rider, I pushed on and found a shop with a canopy, the shop was called Finitro, I stayed there until the worst of the downpour had finished. I then move to a nearby bus shelter, it was still raining, both the bike and I was covered in mud and filthy. I took the tent off the bike and sat on it for the next 2 hours in a bus shelter in Oude Afspanning, Brussels. I charged my GoPro and Tablet from the Power Monkey battery pack.
Once the rain had stopped and the sun was out I followed a tramway to the Atomium, I’d never thought I would be stood here next to this monument, there were tourists everywhere and a queue at a waffles van, so I propped the bike on the back of the van and joined the queue. The sign on the van said warm waffles which I thought was excellent as no one could accuse the waffle seller of breaking the trades description act. “My waffles not hot”. ” read the sign and move on” perfect. The seller was called Richard and when I went for my second waffle we had a bit of banter, that I had cycled from London to buy one, well two of his waffles, Richard would also like to move to London, so next time your there keep an eye open for Richard and his warm waffle van.
There was a tight rope across two of the highest atoms of the structure. (I won’t say balls) and a tight rope walker sat on the rope at one end, I watched for 20 or so minutes but all he did was stand up and sit back down again. Either too windy or some extreme way to train new staff. Later as I was further away heading to the Brussels expo centre there were people absailing down from the top ball to the middle ball. I would hate to have to clean the windows on that thing.
Close to the expo centre was the Alliance hotel, I was filthy and knackered so thought I’d check the rate, which didn’t matter as it was full, Fatima Hidea the duty manager was very good and allowed me to use the facilities to have an all over wash, clean my teeth and shave. I left the Alliance hotel feeling very refreshed.
As I write this it’s pouring down with rain but I’m in my tent. I tightened my panniers and headed towards a campsite, saw the sign for the Dowe Egbert coffee factory and passed a bike shop. The site was close to a sports complex and was quite small but it had everything I needed and was cheap. I slept from 17:00 until 21:20 then went to the site office to pay my bill, I hadn’t eaten so bought 2 bags of crisps, I slept again from 22:30 until 06:00 then rolled over and slept until 08:00.
I woke up achy and hungry so had a wander around then made porridge and coffee. The sun was out so I put the solar panel up, met a family from Bath who had been touring Europe camping. Later mum and the kids were walking close by and the young girl about 5 ish knew plants by name and saw a dragon.
I decided to stay another night and rest, had noodles for lunch then spent an hour or so sorting the tent out. I changed the shock cord as a few of the originals had broken or come undone. I lay in the tent all afternoon either sorting video clips out or snoozing. The wind had picked up and it had showered on and off, so not a day to be outside. I discovered a power socket in the shower block and charged the battery pack but it was incredibly slow. So when the sun finally came out I cleaned the bike, bent the front cog back into place, cleaned the chain and indexed the gears.