Our direction: Ghent, about 45 km away. With various detours and wrong turns, we ended up cycling 52. A good chunk of the ride today was along a canal running between the two cities, and it was certainly among the prettier rides we have done. Very buccolic. When we started our trip two weeks ago, the poppies were just starting to bloom. Now, as we ride through Flanders, you can see them everywhere.
The poppies are just one more reminder of the battlefields this area saw 75 years ago. I'm not quite sure why I find it so moving to cycle through this landscape. I think the horrors that these lands have seen must be part of it. But it's not at all macabre and sad. It's just touching. There's so much beauty here. It's quite hard to imagine it being a battlefiled.
We're staying at the Astoria Gent, right beside the train station, which doesn't sound that appealing, but it's actually quite a nice hotel room. We got here about 3, had a little rest then took the tram into town to see what Ghent is all about. It being Saturday afternoon, things were quite lively, as can be expected in a universtiy town. It's not really quite as charming as Bruges, but it is pretty all the same, with its many tall towers crowded downtown.
Tomorrow, we're aiming for a town south of the LF 5 called Buggenhout (home of two breweries, by sheer coincidence, I swear) and then Monday we'll make it back to Mechelen.