• France, Belgium, Netherlands in one go from the 14th to the 19th of mai 2013 ... and 327 kilometers along the coast

    A WEEK OF TRANSITIONS, OF CROSSINGS AND OF GREY MOOD INTO THE SKY !

    In Calais, the clouds are as heavy as my bike ! It' s raining cats and dogs !

    My bike and I will find a shelter to the Youth Hostel of Calais ! Then, I have sent 4 kilos of uselessl things at my home in France. Do I need everything ? What's the difference between a need and a need ? Great question of the life !

    There are many quotations all over the walls of the youth hostel like that one : (See the picture in french, of course, which says : "The table is the mediator of friendship ")

    Now, I am feeling as light as the clouds and I ride the next day to Dunkerque.

    Lovely road ! I discover the flat countryside and can see lots of birds. I stop in OYE-PLAGE ! (=Goose-strand) There are fresh, french fries ! Fred and Françoise, the owners, spent a long while with me, talking and dreaming, sharing with me their french fries ! Many thanks for your smile !

    Close to St Pol sur Mer, I met a tricycle ! Let's go for a drink and a great talk about bikes and philosophy ! His retirement concentrates him on making tricycles for fun. Henri is very proud of his creation made with recycled iron ! Well done, Henri !

    The Youth Hostel of Dunkerque is nice and friendly ! There is a special room for bikes ! It's close to the Northern See ! Its waves and its wind will join me a long way as a company.

    The ancient belgian doll has been replaced by a chocolate shop Leonidas ! If all the borders could melt like chocolate, it will be perfect ! Here I am in the flemish part of Belgium, The Flanders !

    Rain, rain, rain, again ! Sometimes, there are some drops of rain, sometimes there is rain in one go, sometimes there is a whole delivery of many clouds full of......grains of rain ! I deal with it and I enter the dunes . The names on signs become foreign names with very special pronounciation ! It's in dutch ! Nobody is outside on those enormous dykes ! Just me and my dreams !

    Even with the weather in bad mood, I ride with the tought of Julos Beaucarne, belgian singer : "Go with the discovery of the inner sun,...we live often under the shadow of ourselves; "

    Many cycling roads ands paths welcome the cyclists. Dutch and french languages are often heard. Ostende is my last belgian stop before Netherlands. I had some troubles sometimes for a shelter for my bike at night but my blue horse and I have always found a safe and warm place each evening.

    Look at the sunset ! That's the only one I've seen for so long ! (Look at it as long as you can !)

    In Netherlands, bikes are kings ! I've met lots of students and pupils riding with their whole classroom for class outings.

    Vlissingen....I am really in Netherlands....Bikes, bikes, bikes ......everywhere !

    Cycling roads everywhere ! That's fun and that's safe ! My bike is flying and rolling like the wings of the mills (=molen in dutch) or the wings of the wind farm !

    One cyclist asked me the road for Outdorp ! Of course, I know perfectly that way ! I just crossed Outdorp before we met ! I was proud of my information to a dutch cyclist with very large bikes bags ! Oh, he is bilingual french and dutch ! We have exchange good adresses ! We'll meet again soon in Amsterdam where I'll be for four days.

    Human kindness and generosity are not legends !

    I tried a "mini-camping" in Tinte. It's a tiny campsite of 12 or 15 places. We're not many on that one ! But my neighbours, specially the dutch ladies Ingrrrrrid and Jose came to see me and asked me a few existential questions : Where are you from and where are you going to ? They made me my roadmap for the next day. We celebrated that with a glass ! They asked me questions about my job...What ? Storyteller ? What's the activity of a storyteller ? I wake up a few stories in english and they were very impressed and happy ! That evening was very special ;

    As Paul Eluard (french poet) says : "There is nothing at random, just appointments".

    I left the mini-camping with my precious roadmap. I will meet an other Jose on my way to Delft. She will be my guide for the afternoon ! I can't be lost with those wonderful ladies !

    The days are full of surprises. Many Thanks to Fred, Françoise, Henri, Marnix, Ingrid, Jose, Jose and all the anonymous people who gave me an hand or a smile...on my way !

    Marie Chiff'mine


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