Nico the Bus Driver
I cycled for about an hour and a half before arriving at Kerk in Spiere just after the Belgium border, not that you notice borders in Europe, apparently they have an arrangement. I stopped in a parade close to a wonderful old church, the sun was out and I needed to dry my gear. I stripped the bike, lay my tarp out to dry and adjusted the handle bars, seat and rear wheel, then had to adjust the gears again. I was in a good mood and wasn’t in any rush. A bus pulled into the parade and the driver came over, in fact everyone who passed me stopped for a chat but the bus driver, whose name was Nico was especially chatty and helpful. He stops here for 7 mins then drives for 50 mins waits 15 mins at the other end then comes back, he does this from 08:00 until 15:00 having lunch at the 15 min end of his run. He told me that Kerk was normally quite but as it was the school holidays it was even quieter, he had only 12 or so people on his bus that morning.
After Nico had set off I made porridge, coffee, washed up the pots and pans, washed and shaved and got changed. I was there that long that Nico returned for another chat, he’s married with 2 children and we swapped email addresses to keep in touch. When I did set off following the main road I rested in a bus stop after about an hour, at Toekomstratt and Nico drove past in his bus No:85, beeping his horn and waving, such a nice guy.
I rode for far too long as I was exhausted, I came across a lovely town called Oudenaarde, I cycled through the square and filmed the fantastic architecture.
Belgium seems to be taking forever, perhaps it’s the saddle sore. I continued to Asst to look for somewhere to sleep, a motel would be good. I followed a canal thinking there would be somewhere along the bank I could sleep. I tried a spot in the wood but it was next to a motorway and had tall weeds and thorn bushes so I moved on, my arse is really sore and I’m getting grumpy as I can’t find anywhere quiet or dry. I cycled to a lock and an industrial estate but there were lots of guard dogs, so I rearranged my panniers so I could setup camp quickly when I did find somewhere. I had to backtrack along the canal for about 30 mins until I was at a sports complex, I was tempted to pitch camp on the football field but it started to rain, so I waited under a tree until it eased and pushed on.
I could hear thunder and see lightning in the distance it was about 11 pm when I got caught in another storm and had to make a quick decision.