The Kingdom of Belgium, the land of sweet chocolate, is located in central Europe as the heart of the continent. The capital Brussels overwhelms tourists with its magnificent Gothic architecture, romantic Brugge known as “the Northern Venise”, the wonderful pedestrian streets of Ghent. It is the peaceful nature and hospitable people that make Belgian tourism attractive.
There are many different ways to explore this beautiful country, but have you ever considered a small bicycle adventure? Meet Conrad Richardson, an urbanist and world traveler, who just completed his bicycle journey across Belgium. This is a video recording a part of Conrad’s journey on his own youtube channel:
“In July, after 4-months of sitting idle in lock-down, I found myself in need of a little adventure… so I set out to Cycle & Camp across Belgium… from the French border, across Belgium and over into the country of Luxembourg” Conrad shared with us.
Here is the detail of this exciting bicycle journey
The first 225KM
“The adventure began on the flat planes of Flanders (the Flemish-speaking part)… this was a very smooth countryside ride along Belgium’s incredible network of regional cycle paths which link to an extensive network of canals that cut through Belgium” – Conrad said
“These cycle paths and canals lead to the beautiful and well preserved Medieval towns of Mons and Namur,, but also through derelict ‘Mordor-esque’ post-industrial landscapes… in particular when passing through Charleroi… once the industrial heart of Wallonia (the French-speaking part)”. He added
Mons town: the most prominent landmark in this town is the old town with many cultural heritages recognized by UNESCO such as the town’s bell tower or the Church of Sainte-Waudru. Not only that, visitors to Mons are also entertained by many other historic structures such as the central square, including St. George’s Chapel built in 1604.
Namur is home to many beautiful castles. Veves is an ancient castle built in 1410, overlooking the village of Celles. Annevoie Castle is an elegant castle designed in the second half of the 18th century, featuring stately gardens, stunning fountains and waterfalls. Lavaux-Ste-Anne Castle features unique domes, including three separate museums and a collection of stuffed animals. Freÿr Castle, near Dinant, is named after the Scandinavian beauty goddess.
Kilometers 225 to 375KM
According to Conrad: “The flat plains of Flanders turned into the hills of Wallonia, which themselves turned into the Ardennes mountains. If you didn’t know Belgium had mountains… well neither did I. I planned my trip on a 2D map and thought it would be a smooth ride all the way to Luxembourg…. nope!”
He also added some tips for us: “It’s not quite like cycling over the Alps… but the Ardennes will still test your mental and physical strength. On the ascend my average speed dropped to 6km/h making the distances I had hoped to cover on the map start to feel very long… the unanticipated freezing temperatures at night didn’t help.”
The Ardennes Plateau is a vibrant green hilly region, the old red-brown-roofed villages nestled on the green hills, the fields of colorful wildflowers fascinate anyone.
Ardennes cuisine is very unique and unique. In addition to fresh salmon and raw shrimp, which are the main specialties, there are countless other dishes such as sausage wrapped with dough, omelette, creamed eel and simmered pork. Or a little more picky, take some time to visit the Jambon Montenau workshop to sample the authentic Ardennes in the traditional way: it takes 5 months to prepare the freshly soaked pork thighs, dried becomes a famous piece of ham, sniffing a slice of salty meat mixed with the scent of pepper is a sweet way to awaken your taste buds.
375KM to 428KM
“I crossed the border into the country of Luxembourg and the Ardennes mountains turned to green grassy hills… resembling the famous Microsoft desktop background. From here I continued on to Luxembourg city where I completed my adventure” – said Conrad
The reasons why Conrad cycling across Belgium
“My rationale for this seemingly irrational trip was threefold…
1. Belgium is ‘Home’. Although I’ve been away working and traveling the world… Belgium has been my home for the last 10-years. My parents live here and I have my bedroom here. On-and-off, I’ve spent more than 1-year living in Belgium… so I thought why not get to know my backyard… and so I borrowed my Dad’s bike and hit the Belgian cycle paths.
2. I love cycling. and I enjoy the freedom that comes with camping… so I thought why not merge both interests and go on a slow, sustainable, and socially distanced adventure. Cycling across a country has been on my Bucket List for quite some time… moreover I wanted to prove to myself that I do not need to travel to a distant country and culture to have a rich experience.
3. The onset of COVID brought many things in my little world to a halt. I found myself out of work and locked-out of the UAE (where I had been living)… I felt some cycling and solitude away from all negative news could do me no harm”
“I document people and places on our little oasis. Through my content, I hope to inspire you to explore new countries and cultures”. He added. If you love Conrad’s journey, subscribe his youtube channel Conrad Richardson. You can also follow him on Instagram for more interested posts https://www.instagram.com/conrad.richardson/
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