I am back with the second post about our recent bike and barge bicycling trip in Europe. You can read about our first week of bicycling along the Moselle River here. The first week’s bike and barge trip ended when we arrived in Cochem, Germany on a Friday afternoon. Then on Saturday morning, Mr. Right and I caught a train to Luxembourg. From there we took a train to Paris, and from there we rode a train to St. Quentin. A taxi had been arranged ahead of time to meet us at the St. Quentin station and transport us to a teeny, tiny village called Honnecourt in the northeast part of France. We did all of that so we could do some bicycling in France and Belgium.
The taxi literally dropped us off by a lock in the middle of the village, and we waited there in the chill for the boat to arrive. We joined up with the people on the Fleur, and they were on the second week of a two week bicycling trip from Paris to Brugges, Belgium. Both Mr. Right and I have done this trip before, but our guide Thomas took us on a different route so it was all new to us. And besides, even if it had been the route we took before, that would have been okay. We just love being on bike and barge trips, and we really don’t care where we start and where we end up. They are that good.
Jordan and I took a trip on the Fleur last year from Montargis to Paris. That trip took place in July, and it was really hot.
The Fleur is able to do trips in France because it is a smaller boat that will fit in the French locks. Those locks were put into play by Napoleon and are old and look it. They work, though, and that’s what counts.
Our week on the Fleur was quite different from our previous week on the Iris. The route in France offered some hills which were a welcome change. Also, the mornings were cooler and had some fog. However, we didn’t have any rain which is always a good thing when bicycling.
The Fleur had this guy, but he spent most of his time in the wheel house. He was a cutie, though.
We visited museums……
….. World War II cemeteries…..
……And memorials. The area where we were cycling was full of action during the war, and the people there are really appreciative of America and what our soldiers (including my dad) did for them.
We spent one night in Oudenaarde, Belgium, and this is a photo of their beautiful city hall. The city of Oudenaarde was a major player in the tapestry industry back in the day, and the city hall has a wonderful museum that showcases some of the very old and elaborate tapestries. I didn’t get any photos because the lighting was not good, but a very kind lady gave us a wonderful tour.
The city hall also has exquisite silver and very old Chinese porcelain in its museum. This vase is older than our country! There is also a bicycling museum in the city that is dedicated to Eddie Merckx, who won the Tour de France five times (before doping came into play).
We spent an afternoon and night in Ghent, Belgium. I think Ghent is so overlooked. When we Americans plan a trip to Europe, we often overlook this beautiful and historic city. It has several universities and is loaded with energy. It gets compared to Venice a lot, but Ghent is not tourist driven like Venice and seems more real and is much calmer.
It is very bicycle friendly, has wonderful museums, cathedrals, and shopping. You can see major works of art in this city, and I highly encourage you to spend some time there. I have been to Ghent five times and am ready to go there again.
Our bicycling ended in Brugges, Belgium. This beautiful city was not bombed during the war, and it is loaded with historic buildings, a wonderful cathedral that houses a Michaelangelo sculpture, and loads of charm. I have visited Brugges five times also and always find something new to see and do. I spent our time in Brugges with my Dutch sister, Francien, and we had a wonderful visit, as always.
So, that does it for our latest European excursion. We are already planning our next getaway, and I will be sure to share that one with you, too.