As it happened it was a great decision to have a rest day in Ghent as it has poured down for the whole day. Not cycling weather. Probably not even walking weather.
We mooched around Ghent, found a Primark (hurrah!) and did our washing which, believe me was critical. We got so wet on the walk back to the hostel, we decided to relax there and have a couple of beers.
We were really keen to visit the brewery and have lunch, but it was a bit of a walk and it was rodding down. We scrubbed this thought and tried to find somewhere closer.
We found a bar/ restaurant which looked quite small on the outside but was like the tardis when we entered. We we warmly welcomed into the elaborate dining area even though it was 1:45pm; what a contrast from France with it’s strict lunch timetable and often sniffy staff.
We tried the house beer (light and dark) and tried some unpronounceable dishes which were really very nice. I also tried to do an impression of one of the many stuffed moose heads along the wall.
All the time we were having lunch it was literally hammering down, with thunder and lightning thrown in. It was raining so hard when we left, we were soaked through when we got back to the hostel. More clothes needing drying.
In some ways the poor weather has stopped us exploring Ghent in the way we had wished, however it is better than being on the bike, believe me.
Back at the hostel the inevitable longish naps were taken.
I have actually liked staying in this hostel, though I think Louise is less enamoured. The breakfast was good and the communal areas are really nice and let you relax and meet others. Also the bar is cheap 😝. Of course, the place is full of young people as you would expect, but we have been surprised at how many people our age and older are staying here. There is hope for us yet. Sure, the showers, though clean, are utilitarian and climbing to the top bunk is harder than it would have been when I was 19, but all in all, an experience I would repeat. As Louise has pointed out, it is a good job too, as we have booked hostels both in Amsterdam and Arnhem!
As I (finally) managed to pick up a couple of maps of Belgium and Holland, we really needed to do a planning session as we have still not worked out how we are getting to Amsterdam. We have about 6 days and on current form we know we will require some further train journeys. We would also like to drop in on the Tandem Club’s international rally near Breda if at all possible.
Having spent some time discussing the options in the context of the weather, we settle on getting a train to Antwerp and then trying to press on to Breda. At 52k (according to google maps) this might be a bit challenging, particularly as our new rule is to add 20% to these distances. There are a few towns on the way, however.
There is the chance that the trains won’t run tomorrow due to an ongoing rail strike and, as I found out this evening, a general strike in Belgium planned for tomorrow. If this occurs, we will just take it in our stride and set out for Antwerp on the bike and get a train later on.
‘Cos two weeks in, this is how we roll!