Thursday, 9 August - Day 8: Vrouwenpolder, NL - Bruges, BE
Today: 66,00 km (41.0 miles)
Trip to date: 708,93 km (440.5 miles)
Since I arrived at the campground late the day before I didn't get a real early start on this day. I had to go through the registration / payment routine before setting off. The restaurant on site wasn't yet opened, so I took off on the last leg to Bruges and my rendevous with Gudrun.
A few kilometers from the campground I came to a small cafe serving a reasonably priced buffet breakfast. Who could resist that? What I didn't count on was meeting Tobias from Bonn. He's nine years old. I spoke with him after I heard him explaining to his mom the intricacies of the American major league baseball playoffs. He joined me at my table and we spoke (mostly in English) about baseball for about a half an hour. His favourite team is the LA Dodgers. He has an aunt who lives in Los Angeles.
Vlissingen, NL (Martin Gorren's hometown) was only about 20 km from the campsite. With the weather threatening, and Gudrun waiting, I didn't have time to stop and enjoy any sights there. I just blew through to get to the ferry from there to Breskens, NL.
The rain held until I was on the ferry. As I started riding again in Breskens it was steadily coming down as a light shower. It wasn't pouring. Just a steady, soaking rain. It would take days of this kind of rain to help the crops much. The rain continued without pause all the way to the hotel.
As the temperatures were fairly mild I didn't bother putting on any rain gear. The cooling effect of the rain and wind blowing through my soaked shirt was refreshing. When I stopped for a bit later on I started to feel chilled, so I put on the rain jacket to shield from the wind.
About 13 km from Bruges, BE I started following a bike path next to the Damse Vaart-Zuid Canal (see photo). This took me very close to the Bruges city center. I tried to use my iPhone and Google Maps to find the hotel, but it was worthless with a wet screen and me with wet, shriveled up fingers. An older couple helped with good directions, even giving me a tourist map of the city.
The hotel was great!!! Gudrun beat me there by about 40 minutes. We had a nice suite with a good view directly in the city centre. We didn't do much on this first night but get me cleaned up and properly clothed, after which we enjoyed a nice dinner and some good wine. Sightseeing and an even better dinner were on the agenda for the next day.