Sunday, September 29, 2013

In Search Of Pink Elephants

Day 1: Charleroi – Brussels
Time: 2:46:27
Distance: 53.45 km
Average Speed: 19.2 km/h

After a Dublin bus passed us by we decided to get a taxi to the airport. The driver thought I was the horse trainer Aidan O'Brien for a minute. He asked me to make sure that I wasn't. getting the bikes in and out of the airports was easy and we set out of Charleroi through the countryside. In every village we stopped to ask people the directions to Brussels. Most people burst out laughing at us first and then gave directions in French. Every few kilometres we saw an abandoned spud on the side of the road for some reason. we stopped for food in Genappe where I ordered a kebab but was served an unbelieveable pizza. Leo got the salad. As we entered Waterloo we had our first bike problem when a part of my bike rack decided to fall off. It happened just outside a motorbike shop and they were good enough to give me a nut to fix it. We had our first beer a few kilometres up the road in an old man pub. It was filled with old belgians drinking Chimay and playing cards. It only had a mens bathroom. When a regular entered they would kiss all the men in the pub. Nobody kissed us. From Waterloo Brussels was easy enough to get into. We arrived in the Grote Markt just before 8pm and asked a policeman for directions to our hostel. He looked worried and seemed to think it would be impossible to find. After a long heart to heart with himself he gave us perfect directions and it was only 5 minutes up the road. We had a quick beer in the hostel bar before setting out for a bit of a pub crawl. We got a taxi to Joseph Stevens Straat which we had passed while cycling into the city and drank at the Leffe cafe. After we went to a bar with 45 beers on tap as a warm up to Delerium where they has almost 2500 beers on offer. We met some Belgians as soon as we got in and stuck around with them for most of the night. Before Delerium we had an Absinthe across the road in Floris. The barman gave us his strongest one and lit it on fire before serving with a sugar cube. The menu in Delerium has as many pages as a phonebook and we worked our way through as many as possible. Tomorrow will be rough.

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