Thursday, 8 May 2014

Flemish NRttKust 2014

The first May Bank Holiday is one of my favourite weekends of the year.  It involves going over to Belgium to see my family and celebrate my mum's birthday.

Happy Birthday meim!
After only the second year running, the weekend will now always be associated with the Flemish Night Ride to the Kust also.    

Brussels to Ostend via Ghent and Bruges
The 140km route from Brussels to Ostend via Ghent and Bruges was a dream to cycle.  Only a few cobbles and a stretch of unsurfaced towpath interrupted the smooth sailing tarmac route through quiet villages and medieval capitals.  

The 'rough' section
Seven of us, lead out by BalkanExpress, formed a companionable group where each looked out for each other, helped out with navigation, pointed out kangaroos, spoke French, Flemish and a little English.

We were blown away by the hospitality of our hosts at the middle of the night stop.  Lost for words we were, a thank you doesn't seem to do the trick.

Hard to leave ....
My sister surprised us again, with a seemingly effortless ride on her hybrid bike.

She was invaluable in pointing out local traffic signal quirks, including that we were standing in the middle of the road rather than on the square in Bruges.

Middle of the road
Once in Ostend, we were spoilt for choice again at patisserie CarusO (just noticed that the O is in upper case).  mmmmartin lead the way saying that the 'petit dejeuner copieux' is the only way to go: orange juice, yoghurt, white roll, brown roll, ham, cheese, coffee/tea/milk chocolate, all sorts of spreads and scrambled egg to boot.   I hope we do this trip again, then I'll try their speciality called 'Misérables'.  I hadn't heard of this before despite the claim it's a Belgian classic.

Patisserie CarusO
It was time to part our ways, and my sister and I went over to the beach where we found it very quiet and inviting despite the number of people around.  It would have been nice to sit and soak up the atmosphere for a while.  Instead we cycled over to the station, bought our tickets and boarded our train.  

A big thank you to all involved, especially our wonderful hosts for getting up in the middle of the night to feed us.  There was no mistaking we had reached the correct house as the candles and string lights were drawing us in.  The door opened to a table laid out with an abundance of soup, croissants, cake, biscuits, bread, tea, coffee, juices ....  just wonderful.

This was a amazing, 'treasurable', night carried out in Fridays' spirits of the highest order.

Karl Marx was here 1847