Day 21 : Final stretch
While packing, we discussed how much farther it would be to get home. Realistically it would be another 170 km. I didn't feel like cycling anymore because I was exhausted after racing after Bart for three weeks.
We bought groceries at the local supermarket, where it was super crowded. All other supermarkets were closed today. We put our stuff on the conveyor at the checkout. The lady took our two apples and dropped one on the floor. She just picked it up and put it in the bag; what a service. Upon leaving someone pressed a pack of milk in our hands, it was free. It seemed like we were the only people accepting it. While we had breakfast, we observed the people handing out the milk. They were three men and a lady, each about 25 years old. They seemed like graduate students or people who had just started their own milk company without ever seeing a cow. They were enthusiastic, but not very smart, standing at the same supermarket with four people. They were also all drinking soda instead of the milk they were trying to advertise. The packages said 'La bande des Fétailt', 'the milk-crazy gang'.
In Belgium, there were dedicated cyclist paths everywhere. This seems better than France, where you must cycle on the road. However, the roads in Belgium are so bad that if you brought a pack of milk, you would end up with whipped cream at the end of the day. For 3 hours, we cycled over roads made of concrete slabs which made us bounce up and down every half a second. One cycling path was so bad that I decided to cycle into the roadside during a descent because I was worried my bike would otherwise shake apart.
[Bart: As a challenge, Bram didn't want to get more money on the last day because he figured we had enough left to survive. He also was too stubborn to bring more than 1.5 liters of water. So in the afternoon, we hardly had any money or water left.] The roads were flat the entire day, and we reached familiar towns by the evening. While eating fries we saw some other cycling-vacation-people passing by, we tried to catch up with them later, but they must have taken a different turn somewhere because we didn't see them again.
There's a Dutch saying that literally translates as 'To stand in front of Paal' and it means 'to be humiliated'.
Bart insisted on cycling the last 30 kilometers as fast as possible. He said this was because he wanted to arrive as tired as possible, but I knew better. I had already been as tired as possible a week ago, but he still wanted to continue. We averaged around 32 km/h. When we finally arrived at Bart's home. His parents were seated outside, for no apparent reason <we smelled>. Shortly after Bart's girlfriend Femke came, only she didn't want to touch him because he smelled so bad. After we told about our adventures Bart's parents left, and Bart and Femke 'subtly' let me know they wanted some alone time. For the past weeks, Bart had been teasing me for being single every time we had passed some pretty girl, so I decided to stay for another half an hour. Eventually, I did cycle home where I talked to my parents before taking a shower and going to sleep. I cycled 170 km today with an average of 25.6 k/h.
Distance cycled : 162 km (Bart)