Day 9: Bouillon, Belgium to Calais, France
Our second last day of the trip, and the end is nearing far too fast.
Our morning view from the hotel room window.
Starting the morning visiting the 10th century castle across the way.
Looking from one end to the other.
The view of Bouillon from the castle.
The start of a nice forest run in Mirwart - heading towards La Roche-en-Ardenne.
Arriving in La Roche-en-Ardenne, we stop at a restaurant for some familiar Belgium beer and lunch.
We walk over to our bike which is now surrounded by 3 beautiful vintage bikes.... the oldest of which is a FN (Fabrique Nationale) from 1910!
Country names are plated on the gas tank.
The saying that it's not about the journey, but the people you meet along the way, has never rang truer than this moment. As I'm admiring this beautiful machine, an older gentleman approaches me, introduces himself as Ron and hands me a torn piece of paper with the handwritten note 'oldblokeonabike.com'. We'd chat for a while as a crowd begins to surround us. He's a 69 year old Aussie that's nearing the end of his journey from Nepal to Belgium on his 103 year old machine! He explains the countries plated on the gas tank were the original countries visited, starting in Belgium where the bike was built. He was doing the same trip, on the same bike, MANY years later… but this time in reverse! I'll never forget his energy for life as we conversed... it was contagious - the stories of his riding adventures over the years were inspirational.
Still in complete awe by this point, we say farewell. Push starting his bike, he runs alongside it throwing his leg over the saddle as the engine fires up with a loud bang.
He passes between his two awaiting 'guardians' who follow suit behind, making an incredibly beautiful and memorable exit that will stick with me for a very long time… Moments like this explain why I love to ride better than any words ever could. Cheers Ron!
Arriving in Namur, the last Belgium town before we hit the highway for a 250km ride to Calais, France for the night.
We'd arrive at our hotel in Calais at 10pm. 450km of riding today, and what an experience it had been. We'd be off the next morning to catch the train to Folkestone, UK.
Day 9 riding video: