And so we depart.
Louise still very sore, but we decide on a train to Rotterdam; not on the original agenda, but only one change in the train and gets us closer to Amsterdam.
Louise gets a taxi to the station and I cycle Claud alone. I don’t feel as stupid as I would in Jersey and no one bats an eye as I cycle through the streets of Ghent with no stoker.
About two days too late, I decide to get off and push the bike through the area in which we crashed. It looked almost the same as it did that morning, strewn with lorries, cyclists, groups of tourists and trams. I take photo of the scene. No idea why.
We get tickets to Rotterdam and have a difficult to understand conversation about the fact that we have paid for the bike only to the Belgian border and we may have to pay more once we cross into Holland. Neither of us have a clue how this might work. It is, however, nice to see that EU border integration continues to work seamlessly.
We manage to wrestle Claud onto the train to Antwerp. The new bungys I bought in Ghent come into their own to make sure the bike is well strapped in. Taking bungys on trains to hold your bike in place was a top tip I got off the internet before we travelled. Definitely an essential item as otherwise we would have had to stand with the bike on all journeys to stop it falling over.
At Antwerp station we have some magic! There is a Claud-sized lift to take us the three floors down to the platform.
The train to Rotterdam is on time and we get our own little room at the back, which the guard has shown us to. Having strapped Claud in, I notice a disconcerting sign which says that all bikes should be folding and put in the luggage racks. Ulp.
We have a bit of a laugh as to how this trip has turned into more like an inter-railing as we try to count the number of trains we have been on. It is pleasing that so far we have had no issues whatsoever getting Claud on a train. In fact quite the opposite, the railway people have been more than helpful.
We aim to stay two nights in Rotterdam before moving to Amsterdam. With Louise in no condition to cycle yet, we will look at a few short rides whilst we are in Amsterdam and pick up the touring after that if all is OK.
Arriving in Rotterdam is rejuvenating. The walk from the station comprises wide open boulevards and modern buildings. We find what looks like an older part of town and order lunch with mixed success; we order some fried ball things, a huge pile of cheese and some cured sausage. Not what we expected, but we ate most of it. Louise looks better already.
We book a hotel on line and quickly find ourselves in our room, with Claud safely parked in a parking area.
After the obligatory nap, we mooch into Rotterdam for some food and a couple of beers. Imagine my surprise when we got back to the hotel to find a couple of enterprising English lads had set up a telly box in the bar with the England game on. Result.
We were beginning to feel a little down about not being able to cycle, but I think moving on this way has helped. We are still on an adventure of sorts and we are somewhere new. Also, we are not at work and we will have plenty of time for cycling when Louise is better.
Onwards and upwards!🚴🏼🚴🏼