Sunday May 20. Day 2.
Hook of Holland to Brussels 116miles.
It was around 8.30ish and the ferry was slowly sailing towards the docks in Holland. My cabin had 2 single beds and a shower, not too bad really apart from the engine noise throughout the night. At 9am we had arrived, it was a mad rush under the decks to the basement for everyone to get going (me included).
As soon as I'm on the road out of the ferry I'm thinking now which way do I go ? I have a Garmin800 but don't know how to use it yet, as I only received it a day or two before departure (Its a long story that one!!)
So I'm making do with the map app on my iphone. I know it is going to cost me BIG time by using it, but hey this GPS is bleeping all-sorts of noises and sounds and I've not even touched it yet !! but I do keep having a go with it ;-)
I'm out on the road now out of the port.. well I'm on the cycle paths and what great paths they are - smooth, flat and very wide. The weather is better than the previous day its sunny Yeah! and quite warm in fact its around 70 degrees.
I'm zooming along thinking this is fantastic, I'm going to bang in some serious miles here..until I end up in a housing estate still on the cycle path.. I'm thinking Is this the right way ?? I back track towards the main road where I see over the other side of the road the cycle path I needed to be on....
This was going on all the time, so much so I decided to get on the main roads as those cycle paths kept taking me off course.. the local car drivers were not impressed that I was on the roads - plenty of "Beep Beep" and hand gestures to get back on the cycle paths. They do take a bit of getting used to for sure if you are here for the first time, but I was not here for a leisurely cycle around, I had to catch a flight from Istanbul.
I did pass through a tunnel on route to Brussels (Think it was just past Roosendaal- I remember that name well as some people that I know on twitter were posting what are you doing in Rossendale :-))) once in the tunnel it looked like it was for cars but looking back now I think it was just for cyclists - they do really look after cyclists in Holland, but there are lots of waterways so navigating is hard when trying to cover long distances around the rivers/waterways. Just after midday the temp was rising it was in the 70s for sure and I had a puncture the first of the trip - front wheel, so that would do for me. After that was fixed I was back off again calling in along the way to petrol stations for snacks and water, I was still trying to work out the garmin but as usual it was yelling at me to do a u turn - so i switched it off (Doing my head-in) haha.
As I was approaching Antwerp I took a quick pic little did I realize at the time there was a McDs in the shot. I did not go into it, but just past there the weather started to become grey with bits of drizzle, not nice after glorious sunshine earlier. It was getting heavier the rain as I cycled further towards Brussels, along the way I did call into a McDs for a Big Mac and coffee, and nice it was. At around 7pm I was entering the outskirts of Brussels and thought I need to stop somewhere now, and seen a hotel billboard.. I headed towards the hotel and went past a large monument and took a couple of photos (Still not sure what it was - let me know if you know what it is ? see below..
I cycled to the front entrance where I got off the bike and entered into reception, like a drowned rat ! I don't think the guy on the desk was impressed - I got the feeling he didn't want me staying there that night, luckily enough there was a nice receptionist who was very nice and booked me in for the night I think she said would I like breakfast for an extra 10euros I declined for now. Great, I could now get changed and look forward to something to eat. I got my bike after I'd checked in and started to bring the bike inside the hotel (I was taking it up to my room - as per usual!) but no... the awkward chap appeared again and was mumbling something about not taking my bike to my room, and pointed to a storage type room I open the door to the room and wheeled my bike inside.. there you go I said to the miserable chap.. he yelled No No No !! Silly me I had lent it against a projection screen Ooops!! must be worth a fortune that - it went from the floor to the ceiling! After a reposition of the bike he was happy, or I thought so.
After a quick shower and change, and after plugging all phones etc for charging I returned to reception - Do you have any food/menu ? The guy replied "No Food" oh well, no tea for me then. So I went back up to the room to check out the map app and updated social networks.