July 3, 2016:
I’m sorry for the long radio silence. Each blog entry takes several hours of work to prepare, plus a really strong internet connection to post.
Bicycle touring is such an all-consuming endeavor that I struggle to find the mental or physical energy to devote to the blog. Add to that ongoing internet/wifi challenges, and it’s been nearly impossible to post anything new for a while.
So, here is a quick, down and dirty, update:
After leaving the Picardy region of France we continued north along the coast towards Belgium. We got word that Mark’s interview and medical exam with the French immigration services (for his visa) was scheduled in Strasbourg much earlier than we anticipated. So, just as we were about to enter Belgium, we had to put the brakes on our trip and catch a train to Strasbourg, on the French/German border (the opposite side of France from where we were).
We spent a wonderful week with friends in the beautiful city of Strasbourg and Mark was officially issued his visa. He is now a legal, long-term visitor to the EU!
After Strasbourg, we rode west a bit to Nancy, France, where we picked up the Moselle River. We rode up the Moselle into the country of Luxembourg, and then peeled west, off the Moselle to continue into Luxembourg City – a surprisingly picturesque city.
After spending a day visiting Luxembourg City, we continued northwest into Belgium. We are currently sitting in the Ardennes (hills!) about 100 miles southeast of Brussels.
My butt has finally healed, giving me only twinges now and again. We are averaging 50 km per day, including animal miles, so we’re still not moving very fast as the crow flies, but we’re getting to see and experience a lot, which is what matters.
Next, we will be cycling to Brussels, where we will stay with a friend of a friend (thanks Hans!) and try to sort out some gear and equipment issues. Then, we will head to Utrecht, Netherlands, where Mark will have a follow-up scan of his thyroid.
After that, we’re not quite sure what we’ll do. We may continue to Denmark, or we may start heading south. It’s hard to believe it’s July here. It’s a rare golden day when temperatures hit the 70s. While the rains aren’t nearly as bad as they were when we first arrived in France, showers and cool weather continue to follow us everywhere we go. (Do we have our own personal little storm cloud?)
Holland and Denmark are renowned for their spectacular cycling, but will it be good enough to entice us to stay north or will promises of sea and sun lure us south? Stay tuned.
In the meantime, I’ll do what I can to go back and fill in the gaps in the blog whenever I have a chance.
In case I don’t get anything else out before tomorrow, Happy Independence Day to all the Americans out there!