Belgium Day 2: Thunder, Surprises, & Serenity

Inside & dryI have a rule about vacations. Setbacks don’t matter—loud hotels, messed up reservations, or the weather. When I’m on vacation, I am going to relax and enjoy myself.

I need to pause now and wipe some moisture off my netbook, which is sprinkling through my waterproof tent. The picture here shows how I spent most of the morning.

I found the source of the moisture. It was a vent I left open, on my tent. It was a hot and muggy night last, so I opened a couple of them. I’ve been through some heavy rains in this little tent, but this is one of strongest, a fair amount of thunder outside too. Oh well, if I’m have to be stuck inside due to the rain, it might as well be a proper thunderstorm. They do make for a relaxing background sounds, as I write.

I’m not sure what to do next. Normally, when waking up to rain, I write a little and start packing. After cycle-camping in Britain, I’ve learned that hard rain rarely lasts long, or it calms to a long drizzle. That might be due to Britain being an island. Anyway, that means I can pack my panniers from inside my tent, since the rain usually lightens up soon. When I finish packing, everything is water-proof enough, and the rain has usually faded. Then, I get outside, roll up my wet tent, put the panniers and tent on my bike, and pedal away.

I’m in France now, and this feels like the kind of thunderstorm I used to see in Minnesota, which can last a while. I’ll probably start packing. The battery power on my netbook is low, and I feel like getting some work done.

Later that day . . .

???????????????????????????????The rain ended soon enough, and the clouds slowly passed to sun. I should also clarify something. Earlier in this post, I mentioned I was still in France. It’ll take me day to actually reach Belgium. At first, cycling through small-town France was almost surreal, since I’m often looking for a grocery store to buy some things for supper or a cold drink for the day. At first, I was surprised at how the grocery stores weren’t open, but after seeing that happen for about 25 miles, ???????????????????????????????I started to wonder why the towns exist. I mean, you can’t buy anything in many small French towns, so really, what they are they there for?

After a while, I got used to it, and relaxed into some relaxing cycling in the sun. That’s the ‘serene’ part of the title, of today’s post. The part of France I cycled through is mostly farm-country, wonderfully flat farm country I should add. It’s fun seeing the different crops and feeling the breeze blow by.



And once in a while, the landscape quickly changes, to a little woodland.


Soon after I relax, a town seems to show up that has a grocery store, that’s actually open. My favorite stores are little family-owned shops, but I’ve also become fond of the chain of stores called Spar. I only seem to see them when I cycle.

After getting groceries, I settled into a long day of cycling.

The town of Cassel


By the end of the day, I was beat. It’s been a long time since I pedaled for 45 miles with a loaded bike. I pushed it up the smallest hills when I finally found a campsite, around 8 pm.

3 thoughts on “Belgium Day 2: Thunder, Surprises, & Serenity

  1. Thank you for the wonderful pictures! Wish I was there too, even though I know I couldn’t make 45miles per day 😉

  2. Thanks again for the comments. I’ve been adding more pictures, during this trip. They do tell the story better than I can say with words.

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