Leaving Brussels I had a little foto-shoot:
That day I made it to Binche in Wallonia and that meant more hills, and for reasons I cannot begin to comprehend, there seemed to be more uphill than downhill in Wallonia. Another tangible difference between Flanders and Wallonia is the total neglect of cycling infrastructure in the latter. The state of cycling paths, if they exist, is more often than not, ruinous.
At some point I stumbled upon a Ravel route which improved matters greatly, although even here I still kept losing my way. After asking the way several times I found my French wanting but eventually made it to Binche, put up my tent and bought some groceries. Sadly I couldn’t find any maps. Seems everyone else knows his way around here, except me.
The next day I left at about 10 in the morning and at about noon I crossed the border into France. Much to my relief I happened on the Veloroute 3, another long-distance cycling path. Late afternoon I found a small campsite but it was completely abandoned. A small note at the reception asked visitors to call at an address in the village down the very steep hill I just came up. I dismissed the idea and just set up my tent, cooked some macaroni and drank some water. After dark the area got an eerie feeling and at some point I was certain somebody with an axe was walking around my tent.
Early next morning I broke camp and after coffee I got on my bicycle again. In the afternoon it got cloudy and about an hour or so before Guise it started to rain. That was a good opportunity to test my raingear and I am glad to say it worked
The campsite in Guise was great value as they let me use all the gear in the kitchen (I was told I could even sleep there if the rain got worse), warm showers and wifi, all for under 10 euros a night. Just when I was pitching my tent it started raining again, so I did it really fast this time.
I bought a Michelin map of France so I could see my progress. So far, I’ve only made a tiny incursion into this huge country…