Storms and wind persist as I pedal the green fields of southern east Netherlands to Belgium. In the near Belgium boarder I sort campsite in the small town, there were no one to talk with just machine which transfer to the person 2hrs away possibly in front of TV. He agree that I could tent camp but huge place which I had to navigate with map has only cottages with lots of people who consider this as weekend camping. The next day several roads linked together brought me to the city of Antevepen I had warm bed waiting for me in Gent so long day with heard wind final got in Gent.
I met Hennie, Evelyne and Mathias in Oruro, Bolivia more than one year ago, I couch suffer with them and we remain in touch. It was such a pleasure to see the familia faces once again. Through their friend Luise enthusiastic young lady involved in the project called ‘Fietskeuken’ bike kitchen, yes it is bike kitchen with small donation you can fix your bike, eat and drink! All this is to bring cyclist together in the evening gathering. They invite me to share my project and experience. The place is full of ambitious and energetic young people, at the end of talk though there was no of of questions I could see how much inspired they were.
Gent is relatively small city with it historical building and number of tourists wondering around at the end of the day you may think you are living in the museum. I’m fascinated with this medieval arc
hitecture which characterized lots of Western Europe cities and some places every center of town of village. It strongly influenced by christianity, there can be several churches, monastery or other of same relation in the same place just as today in the meddle east of growing islamic countries. It always surprised me to see these massive buildings which I guess they cost fortunes if not lives especial in the medieval time. Is our religions another economic ideal or spiritual path?
I was luck to be invited to the musical festival in Brussels ‘Couler Cafe’, it seem like music festival is good therapy for log depressing weather and social economy of Europe. These events brought people out as weather allow. I learn that artists and bands are likely to come from south with them they bring their social characters, warm energy and sometime preaching positiveness. In the place were I have seen daily life to be individual and systematic I think these events apart of being economic raptors they are also health mental. I love music, apart of knowing good artists it could be impossible to see them since they are expensive they are able to perform live in western rather than in the developing countries.
The interesting thing in Belgium is current progress of economy which bring politics into two distinctive population, small but ethnical strong southern French speaking and big Dutch (Flemish) speaking, Flanders. At some point Belgium was under Holland which connect geographical. Former peasant Dutch speaking with their deltic (flemish) now proudly to be called independent language fall into France ruling. After independent French ruler remain in the territory just as in England with Normans. They remain to be economic power house for a while but today things have changed. Because of this distinction after independence neither side could agree with which side should take chair in the monarch ruling so…let import the King. May they could do this for Burundi and Rwanda! Brussels by as bilingual city though in the Flemish ocean. Though students have to learn two language, flanders seem to master better may be because their has French influence. It is in Brussels were someone will avoiding to offend you will ask which language to proceed with equerry. It fascinating and surprising to see is not only the mother continent straggle with language crises, remember the the law which lead to killings in Quebequi. That was big distinction in Belgium the fun was waiting in England where I’ll find out I’m not the only one straggling with English, also English struggle with English; Once has to be Oons!
Passo de Calais…
I had a day and half in French corner before embark on boat to England. The difference was just language, it was bit relief for me but worst is French will not have alternative of other language. I’ll say ‘hello’ and folks will proudly south ‘Bonjour’. In the France territory is where now random drivers will start honing once again and shout ‘Bravo’ as I cycle by. The normal answer for direction is also back on play ‘Tout Doit’, when people can not explain direct which often they will try their best by asking you if you know certain church or shopping center just to learn again you are total new in the area at last they will say ‘Keep straight’.
One hour and half in the boat laving behind the small sand beaches of Calais, green fields and over hang rocks. I now could hear lots of conversation going on around. Irish and Welsh old man come over to chat about the bike, their were super social the aspect which become are in last few months. In the conversation I have to beg for lots of pardon because I would misunderstand what they mean. This is what welcome to to England, not only grammar or formation of sentence and usage of words but also pronunciations. I’m fascinated because I always love the variation of English tongue, it is like England is most rich than any where else. In some point I hear busy goes ‘buzzy’, sometime on goes like ‘wun’, Once sometime become ‘Oons or Wunce’. I’m looking forward to learn more about this most spoken language in the world.
Half way from France it start to rain and will like that till we arrive at Dover which also pronounced as ‘Daver’, almost though I was in the wrong place as I ask for direction from local try to find house of host friends.
Green hills and valleys, yes that is England. There were less roads from Dover to near London but lots enough to make detour of 30km. Gladly to read the road sigh in the familiar language once again but takes a while to get used with which side of road should I cycle on, I have to excuse myself from time to time as impatient drive honk at me. Exploited by Scandinavian and other countries bicycle priority I find it scaring to cycle with fast cars. Worst was in the middle of the city in the rush hour where I have to battle my way with buses and cars. In may occasion I have to push my bike through tourists infested streets.
It is my hope in this big city will achieve project goals, looking forward to have talk with one of BBC charnel radio on Wednesday of 10th and with ITN TV tomorrow at 5:30pm