Friday, April 27, 2012

Cycletrip Day 5: Romeree - Forges

It was a grey morning. But it was dry. We took our time getting ready, had a little beggar's breakfast in our bedroom of bits and pieces we had with us, then rode towards Mariembourg, as the rain started to lightly fall. The warm lights of a boulangerie drew us across the town square, and as the rain got heavier, so did our bellies, with fat, fresh, filled baguettes and buttery pastries. These we ate sitting outside the bakery. Then we popped around the corner, bought some clementines from the store and sheltered under its awning as it pelted down like buggery. Also held the leash of a lady's dog while she did her shopping. That was nice.

It cleared up a bit, and we continued on our way, across some more shoddy surfaces that we took on foot- we are still a bit like overly-protective parents when it comes to what our darling karretje can handle in his slightly-damaged state. In addition, I could feel Kev starting to struggle a little bit. As everyone who does a bit of fixing on him remarks, he is an old Raleigh (and luckily not too sensitive about comments regarding his age), and suspension ain't his biggest asset. I frequently try to put him at ease by telling him that wear and tear on the joints is a natural part of that ageing process, but it's difficult to have that right in your face as you are forced over gravelly paths and quaint-but-crap cobblestones. So sometimes we just walk.

There were a few problems with directions- I felt a little bit let down by our man Paul Benjaminse (of the 'Cycling to Paris' book fame) with slightly dubious directions where normally he is so right-on in his guidance! It definitely wasn't our fault that we took a wrong turn somewhere after Dailly and ended up having to go on a little detour with a big dip down and up. Anyway we got to Baileux, and that was the main thing. From here it was onwards to Boulers, and we stopped for lunch in the sun, after, what was it, golly, a hard 30kms? It was our shortest day, but only because from our research, Forges had turned up as the last place with accommodation before Laon (another 70kms), so we accepted today would be a light one. It felt like more though, really, because of the uppy-downy-ness of it, and the “huh?” moments in finding our way.

From Boulers we peddled on up the hill to Forges, and found our resting place for the night. It was a really sweet little house, and the section put aside for the chambre d'hote was just beautiful. The whole place was like something out of Country Life or Vogue Living- all blue hues and love hearts and artfully-arranged pieces of wood and glass. Our hosts were Annie and Olivier, a couple who really looked after us, even driving us in the pouring rain to a town a few miles away so we could dine at the cosy little restaurant there. Claire tried the specialite de la maison, a cold fish dish called l'escaveche, Tac had a steak, we had lots of frites, and some vino! Yew! The place was tiny, “like being in someone's lounge room”, said Taco, and there was nothing else around it, but it was bustling, and the waitress looked a bit stressed, but did a stellar job. We flopped into bed, tummies full.

Day's stats
Romeree, Belgium - Forges, Belgium
Left 10.15am, arrived 4pm
Distance travelled: 38km
Conditions: Cloudy; steady, light rain; lots of ups and downs and directional conundrums

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