Mackin the worlds best mussels with my hosts Freek n Fiona in Brussels
I left off last blog entry as I was heading out on my cycling mission from Utrecht to Maastricht then Brussels. My first Dutch guest rider was Daan den Hollander, which means Dan from Holland—so does not get much more Dutch than that! He was super excited to take a morning off work and we enjoyed a lovely 60km ride together through the back roads provided by one of Holland’s stunning long distance cycling routes. It was a glorious ride by canals, farms, cute neighborhoods, windmills and more. We built a nice friendship and no doubt we will meet up one day in the future.
I continued my journey southeast, found a perfect campsite after about 100km and charged day two in total sunshine to Maastricht passing Shetland ponies, fields of flowers and cool towns. The highlight of the solo ride was when a woman named Ine Steur rode up alongside me and we struck up a conversation. I told her I was heading to eat lunch in her city of Eindhoven and she decided a better plan was to invite me to her house and cook a fat lunch for me! Turns out she was heading to Mali and we shared our passion for that stunning country and some great laughs at her place. Thanks Ine!
Between sleeping in late that morning, getting lost a few times and the lunch with Ine I was a bit behind schedule so decided to hop a train to north a bit. When I was at the station this chap Vincent was a my savior helping me load my gear in the train and turns out he lived in the same city I bought my ticket to called Sittard. We got to chatting on the train and Vincent has done some cycle touring himself, had the rest of the day off and accepted the invitation to ride to Maastricht that evening!
Vincent bought me a meal and beer before we pedaled off into the perfect weather where we had a divine ride along the river, did a great filming session and arrived in Maastricht that evening ready to meet up with Karen and her friend Ingeborg. Karen trained in from Utrecht and the four of us enjoyed a lovely evening chatting away over a few drinks before Vincent headed home. Ingeborg hosted Karen and I for the night and the next was the day Karen and I would ride to Brussels.
We had mysterious loss of my tripod and Magic Arm filming props the next morning that delayed our departure but Karen was ready to hammer out the 120km ride and we were committed to make it before sunset. Our ride to Brussels was bliss with a nice tail wind, bright sunshine and endless conversations. We arrived at sunset and had a heck of a time finding our host Freek’s place in the wild city center, but managed to make it and were greeted by a crowd of friendly friends of Freek who he invited over for a welcome dinner party!
There is no better feeling than arriving in a new city and being welcomed with a party! Freek and his girlfriend Fiona cooked up a massive lasagna dinner and I even got a surprise visit from Therese who I met in Mali as well. Another amazing guest was Sanne who was the woman who donated her studio apartment to me while she worked in Brussels! We all hit the town dancing till the wee hours, laughing, meeting new people and life was good!
The next day Karen had to head back to Holland but we had to suck up the perfect weather so decided to hit the city for the national dish of mussels in white wine sauce (yummy!), divine beers and chocolate, waffles, live music, great sights, endless laughs and chats—Wow, it was a perfect day in the sun! I was sad to say goodbye to my good friend Karen who became like a sister to me but luckily I was still in the hands of some great people so the downer was softened a bit.
Out on our sunny day exploring Brussels w/ Karen, me, Fiona n Freek
And Belgian chocolate is as good as they say
Havin' it all--good friends, good beer, chocolate, waffles--Pinch me!
The warm, sunny, perfect weather has finally left but I’m darn excited for the adventures with Philippe and his lady Katrien. I’ll finally be in the arms of my Mamacita and one week from today in Paris so I’m pumped!
Over n out from Brussels!
Live Big. Give Big. Love Big.