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Published: April 14th 2018
Lueven City Hall
Nice backdrop for the race start
A good race day on Wednesday - lots of excitement at the end. Everyone is glad that Quick Step Floors did not win - it was Tim Wellens from Lotto Soudal today. The start town of Leuven was really pretty - especially the townhall, and there were lots of spectators to watch. Many tributes before and after the race to Michael Goolaerts (the rider who passed away Sunday) and lots of emotion in the peloton. The race went through the countryside outside of Brussels, and it was gorgeous when the sun was out. We cannot report on the finishing town though - it was a small town, with about 4 ways into the town. We tried each approach and they were all blocked. One time we did manage to get on the actual race road which might have gotten us downtown, but we misjudged our exit from a round about and got off track. After trying to get there for over an hour, we decided to monitor the finish via Twitter and drive down to our overnight spot. It was actually pretty entertaining on Twitter - the most amazing thing was the race was a top three trending topic on Twitter
in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Our overnight was at a farm near Bastogne; we had a Battle of the Bulge tour Thursday and did not want a two-three hour drive down in the morning. The farm was a mix of the KOA and therapy farm concept. It had 7 cottages positioned on the grounds of the farm by the animals. So there were cottages by the goats, sheep, llamas; chickens, and horses. All of the animals are part of the emotional therapy program so they are friendly and used to people .. even the rabbits in the field are used to having people around. We enjoyed walking around looking at all of the animals and the kids that were there taking care of them. My sister Connie would have never left this place if she were here. We had a rooster competition in the morning, so we were up plenty early for the short drive to Bastogne.
Our tour guide specialized in the 101st Air Assault/ 3d Army area of the battle. Dave's Uncle Johnny was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge, and we found out just prior to the tour that he
Gourmet Hotdogs and a beer
had been in the 106 Infantry Division. This area was not in our tour guide's expertise, but we did meet a fellow guide on the road who was guiding another family with a 106 Infantry Division family member - so we got his information and talked with that family ... from LaCrosse, WI. It was a super enjoyable day, looking at the battle woods, the towns, roads and memorials, and hearing the stories about the battle. Our guide, Roby Clam, is well known in the area and is consulted frequently about the battle.
Yesterday we took a bike tour of Brussels off the beaten path. We were joined by 5 young men from the UK that were probably just a little younger than Andy. So it was great fun teasing them at the refreshment stop. The tour started with a steep climb up a cobbled road for about 500 meters, and I was thinking that it was going to be a long tour - but thankfully that was the last hard climb. Probably the most remarkable thing about the tour was that we all survived - as we cycled through heavy traffic, road construction, over cobbled roads
Friendly Llamas at the farm
The cottage is behind them.
and down narrow alleys - and through somewhat tough areas. I think our guide summed it up best when he said, Brussels is not a pretty city - but it is an interesting one.
Today we plan to cycle through the countryside by Namur and visit St Vith. Race day tomorrow (Amstel Gold if you are keeping track) and then off to The Hague for a couple of days.
Tot: 3.226s; Tpl: 0.079s; cc: 9; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0423s; 3; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.4mb