Lille and the Roundabout
By 10:00 this morning it was 23 degrees and sunny, I arrived in Lille town square at 19:18 with no clouds in the sky and the sun was setting, although a little breezy it was pleasant. I wandered the square looking for a place to put my bike and get a coffee, I found one outside Mister Coffee overlooking Lille square. I purchased a latte and a muffin although I paid an extortionate €7 I really enjoyed it. Whilst in the square I was asked twice what I was up to and after filming outside the opera house Fabian came over for a chat. I think all the gear on the bike and the fact I was talking to a GoPro camera attracted some attention.
I sat on the opera house steps and updated my journal, the sun had nearly gone by the time I set off to find somewhere to sleep. As I headed out of Lille several cyclists pulled alongside me for a chat. One in particular was a character, his name was Andre and he looked like a professor you’d see in cartoons, he had bright orange goggles on and messy Grey hair riding a knackered bike, however he turned out to be a star, “oh you have your bed on the back of your bike” was his opening sentence, “where are you heading” I told him my plans and that I was heading to Belgium but was looking for somewhere to sleep, he said he lives in Roubiax which is on the way and to follow him, so follow him I did.
Along the way he pointed out hundreds of places to wild camp and even a budget hotel for €20 a night (tempted). He was one to break a rule or two as we cycle the wrong way up one way streets and even against traffic on the wrong side of the road, through subways over paved areas, we cycle for nearly an hour before saying goodbye. He pointed out the way or said I could go back a little and sleep in the cemetery as the residents are very quite. What a guy.
I continued on the main road, mainly because it was down hill and I had little peddling to do, I eventually came to an industrial estate, Andre had said they were quite place at night and I shouldn’t get disturbed. I cycle around the estate and liked the look of a spot near the Peugeot dealerships fence, until 2 extremely noise Alsatians came running towards me luckily they were on the right side of the fence but I wouldn’t be sleeping there. It was about 11pm and I was getting tired but I had come to the other end of the industrial park, there was a Roundabout in front of me and I remember reading about someone who had slept on a Roundabout before, so I pushed my bike across the road and into the middle of the Roundabout. It was perfect, large round thing in the middle of the road but was surrounded by a large hedge and had trees on, two were spaced far enough apart to set the hammock up. I had a great night sleep undisturbed. A few notes to self, use netting as lots of midges, have hammock a little higher so dandelions don’t tickle you at night.
I woke at 04:20 but reset my alarm until 06:00 it rained from 04:30 – 06:00 but I was warm and very comfy. I balanced all my gear on the bike and went across the road to re-pack, luckily I noticed that I had dropped my sleeping bag on the Roundabout so managed to retrieve it.