Early start- on the road after breakfast at 9am.
It turns out that I covered quite a lot of track yesterday, leaving me a nice leisurely cycle to Oostende today. I have somewhere to stay through www.warmshowers.net .It’s a fabulous site just for touring cyclists, similar to www.couchsurfing.net where hosts welcome you into their home for a night (or more). I had been in contact with Henk, who lives with his girlfriend Katrin. They said i was welcome for the night. More about them later…
According to the sat nav, Oostende was only 2.5 hours away. With headwind that felt like I was cycling backwards this wasn’t the case at all!
I had time to kill, so headed to Bruges to do some sightseeing and grab some chocolate for my sister.
Having visited Bruges twice before there wasn’t anything in particular I wanted to see/do, but it’s such a beautiful city i wanted to visit again. It’s such a quaint little city, with canals almost hidden around every corner, the most amazing chocolatier shop windows that make your mouth water and some pretty cool buildings to peruse. After getting my chocolate fix I headed straight for Oostende, arriving at Henk & Katrin’s around 3pm. Straight away Henk made me feel at home and trusted me in his home as if I was an old friend. The same can be said for their little Jack Russell, Spudnick, who wouldn’t stop humping my leg!!
A lot of people are very negative about ‘staying with strangers’. I can totally understand where they’re coming from, not everybody has good intentions, but it just seems such a shame to not take opportunities and suspect everybody.
Henk & Katrin’s house is the kind I hope to have once I’m ‘settled’. It’s a true traveller’s home with nick nacks from places they’ve been too, world maps (and many other maps), photos, guide books & a real worldly feel to it. We sat and talked about cycling, families and of course various travel tales.
When Katrin got home from work she made a lovely dinner and we sat and talked some more. Their English is amazing, luckily, as my Flemish is non-existent! They’ve been all over on their bikes, including a fairly recent trip to Tanzania. They’ve even got their own blog: such a shame it’s not in English.
Extremely early night for me, as I’m up at 5am to make it for the ferry tomorrow.