It was anticipated that our ride today would be about 35-40 kms and get us into Ghent about 1pm. Well it ended up being 56km in total for the day and about 2.30 by the time we made the city centre.
Wiko, our guide was not as familiar with this area so a few alternate tracks were taken. He is always very conscious of making the riding conditions comfortable for the group, so his route selection involves taking quieter tracks if possible. With such a network of bike tracks, there are many ways to get from A to B. Often, he has been "surprised" by where we have ended up.
This morning, we had great difficulty finding somewhere to stop for a morning break. Very few places open before 11.30, and we are well and truly ready for a stop. One common problem is the lack of public toilets. They are very rare in the regional areas of the Netherlands and Belguim. Therefore, our stops need to be in an establishments that have toilets. A venue was eventually found, a pub which served coffee/hot chocolates (no food), there was one toilet, which was pretty busy! This pub became our lunch stop too.
Most of the pathways were lined with wild flowers and I managed to photograph a few. Very pretty.
Also, a photo of some of the local cows in this area. They have very large rumps. Russell reckons they would be very good for slow cooked beef "cheeks".
Yesterday I forgot to include the photo of the fishing hole with all the huts around it. Apparently they are fishing for European carp!
Finally got to Ghent. We rode into the city centre, a tad hairy dealing with bikes, cars, trucks, trams and tracks. buses, the wrong side of the road and cobble stones! We we finally got off the bikes, we were amazed at the centre of town. Everywhere you looked was a church, each one trying to out do the other mob. Even a fortified castle. An incredibly pretty town with a river up the middle of it.
Had a pretty good afternoon tea here beside the river.
Whilst we are already a bit over churches,(every town has an impressive one, one here that we went into (St Michael's) was just amazing. Huge, started building in the 1400's, but never completed the tower. Inside, amazing.