Friday, August 21, 2009

Where to Start?

The biggest problem so far here in Belgium has been a serious and troubling lack of internet access. I was under the mistaken delusion that there would be some unrestricted wifi I could steal at my aunt's house. Who was I kidding? Ironically Belgium had the fastest 3G network I've every seen - fuck Verizon.

Today was the first real day out on the bike. Only a day in the jet lag is a real factor so I was ready to roll at 3:00 AM. That not being a practical time to go for a 50 Mile ride in an unfamiliar place I sensibly manged to sleep until 5:00 AM. I was on the road by 7:00 and was headed east for Brugge. Thankfully my iPhone was was rocking the Belgian 3G infrastructure so was able to share the previous posts and pics.

It's difficult to compile the feelings I have being here. While my Flemish is basically nonexistent - it was my first language. Forgotten after I left This country for America when I was 5, it still lives in a back corner of my brain. It's like a forgotten dream suddenly recalled by a smell or a sound. It's so familiar yet utterly unintelligible. As I headed east this morning on the bike paths toward Brugge - through little villages and past farm houses, dogs and houses, cows and sheep - the dream of my early childhood sprung into a reality. My earliest images of what the world is were in front of me again, floating on the damp, pungent, animal infused air. The low houses with the red roofs and neatly arranged narrow streets were juxtaposed by green expanse, endless canals and sleeping cattle.

As I pulled into Brugge I passed a caravan of horses pulling carriages into the city center for thier day with the tourists. A cold morning shower had just passed through and the road was cold and wet. I punctured, and had to change a tube. Usually an arduous job, today's pause by the side of the road allowed the horse drawn buggies to catch up with me again - letting me pause and enjoy where I was a second time. One in the city center I paused for a long time. The sun hadn't compeltely risen - and the four sides of the city's center square all had a different light.

I had a long way yet to go, so hopped back on the bike to circumnavigate the mid evil city before heading North to Zeebrugge where I made a wrong turn. Suddenly I found myself halfway back to Brugge and the damp, still morning air was giving way to a constant N
South Westerly wind off the English Channel. My morning ride into imaginary childhood nostalgia suddenly made a turn for the reality of the present day. I was hammering into a 30k headwind for the long and painful 26 kilometer ride back to Oostend.


  1. Great to see you finally found a way to get online :) See you tomorrow ;)

  2. It occurs to me that perhaps in a strange way you have channeled my former life . Look for me in the morning mist that rises on the fields and canals.In another life I too was there.My flemmish is still existant, though rusty.Boompa, is watching you!

  3. wow... amazed that you can repair a flat so easily. i bet that headwind was fun. yikes!!