Belgium for such a small country has a lot to offer and with over 1200 km of cycle track, it would be rude to not explore further!
So for our second cycle trip adventure we decided to go to Mechelen, a medieval village turned city. Again this trip was about 50km but this time we luckily didn’t go on a wee detour as Ellen works there so she more aware of the area. Our cycle to Mechelen took us along a fietsostrade which is essentially a cycle motorway which links the different towns throughout Belgium. On this, we again passed through beautiful small towns and flemish countryside. I can understand how Antwerpians say that Antwerp is Belgium and the rest of the country is its parking, as Antwerp does have everything. However, I would have to disagree and say that each part of the country has its own unique character that deserves to be appreciated.
Once we arrived in Mechelen we parked the bikes and had a walk around the centre. It’s true what they say about Mechelen it’s very relaxed, so we decided to do as the locals and sit down and have a leisurely lunch. Whilst having our lunch we listened to the church bells being rung but that brought up the question is someone in the tower actually playing the bells? or is it now done mechanically?
After lunch we grabbed an ice cream and wandered along the canal for a bit. It was really lovely way to see the buildings and a pretty good way to people watch too!
From there we went back to our bikes and travelled on to the zero waste shop. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a shop where you bring your own containers and fill them up. So yes Ellen had cycled the 25km there with a bag full of glass jars which we filled up with lots of goodies! and then yes that same bag only slightly heavier was cycled back to Antwerp. Having never been to a zero waste shop before I thought it was a pretty cool concept that makes sense, especially for things like rice and flour which I usually put into its own container once home anyway. It’s this kind of small change I would like to do so that I can reduce the amount of waste I produce. So I better get searching for a similar shop in Edinburgh once home huh?
After stocking up we started the cycle back and well Misty had a slight malfunction. I had forgotten that riding over cobblestones loosened her front brake quite a bit to the point where it’s about to fall off. In true Lucy style, I had also forgotten to pack my repair kit. So had to do my best at tightening up by hand whenever I heard it rattling a bit too much. But we made it home in one rattly piece, it will just remind me not to forget it next time.
Once home at chateau Ellen et Pieter we tucked into a great Belgian delicacy, frites and mayo possibly once of my favourite combinations in the world.
So the lessons learnt on this adventure? Don’t forget your repair kit and Ellen is a pretty good navigator when she knows where she is going.