Those expecting a lot of info on Belgium are going to be disappointed. I lived in Belgium for 20-odd years and as such the touristy stuff is not what I am here for. My sister and dad live here, hence I am poking around Belgium for a fair chunk of time to spend time with family and friends before heading out on my trip.


It's mildly interesting to ride around with the bike through familiar terrain. I never had a bike when I was here, so there is some novelty. One of the things I always do when in Belgium is swing by our old house.


The family lived here from 1976 to 1998, at which time it was sold after my mom's death. 



As a surprise to my dad and I, my sister organized her wedding here in 2002. The new owners are very cool and went out of their way to facilitate the surprise. Initially, my sister had said we were having the party at a different location. As we got closer and closer to the old house, I tried to figure out where we were going. Not until the motorcade turned into our old street did I realize what was in store. An extra sense of emotion to an already charged day. Here's a picture of the interior of the house to give you a flavour.



Coming back from Veldhoven (NL) one day, I took the long way and stayed off the highways. At Liege (BE), I cut through the backcountry based on my GPS and came through areas I had never seen before. Some of the farms are just amazing. Interestingly enough, this is only minutes from where my sister lives, but without a GPS, I find I would not take the smaller roads. A GPS seems a lot more useful in Europe versus Canada and the US, given the density and interconnectedness of the roads.



One of the events planned during my month in Belgium was the arrival of a new baby boy for my sister.



The picture above was taken hours before this little guy exited a very warm and cozy spot in record time. All went well.



Although generally happy with his new brother, a creeping realization set in that the competition had arrived.



A long overdue birthday present for my dad was a balloon ride. So off we went. Dad wasn't too sure, but Anna was cool with things right away. I wasn't too sure either about the height, but as we went, this feeling passed.



It did get exciting at one point, when we descended by 15 feet per second for about 150 feet. About 200 feet above terra (very) firma, we levelled out again and regained height. We weren't the only ones up in the air, we left as part of a balloon gathering in Waregem, in West Flanders.



We were stuck in some turbulence for a while as well, which was more excitement then we bargained for, but in the end things went well and we landed very softly. As part of a bizarre "ritual", we had to swear allegiance to some Belgian ballooning god and in return got a few hairs set on fire, which were doused with a drop of champagne. Funny people, those Belgians.



A visit to Antwerp resulted in another odd finding. What the heck does this street sign mean? No small children allowed? No pedophiles? No holding hands? It's anyone's guess.





Border crossing

Visa: No

Carnet: No

Bike insurance: Yes

Intl. drivers license: No

Entry point: Antwerp (E19)

Exit point: Antwerp (E19)