Got to Lille, bought tickets to leave Lille.
But, we started in Calais and woke up after sleeping pretty well. The breakfast at the Ibis was what they call a continental but was far superior to the all-starch version one gets in some places. There were hard boiled eggs, pastries, potato pancakes, little crepes, cheeses, baguettes, yoghurt. I think we both felt that we got enough to eat.
For the time being.
I think we’ve both found that even on rest days it’s hard to get enough to eat. But what is a rest day anyway? Usually a day spent (on this trip so far) trying to figure out how to negotiate different systems and languages and maybe schlepping the bike from one place to another without being able to sit down. Which is tiring in itself.
Today we encountered yet another system for securing bikes on trains, but happily it was one that enabled us to sit for the entire 90-minute journey, though it took both of us to lift my bike onto the hook, and we didn’t bother with Angie’s bike this time.
Once we arrived in Lille, we bought our onward tickets to Brugge, partly just to get it done but also to figure out our schedule for tomorrow. It’s an early train but perhaps we can get to the hostel when it’s open in Brugge and they will have lockers and a secure spot for our bikes. Once again, we were booked at a hostel with limited hours in Lille, so had to keep our bikes and bags with us. We were a bit better prepared this time so we located a place to be able to sit outside and eat some lunch (Place de la République), which was very pretty and had this in it.
After we had eaten, we biked over the the Grand Place to check that out. It was pretty cool and is home to one of the city’s oldest buildings, the old stock exchange. Angie got this cool picture of that, but it seemed to be locked up so we didn’t go in.
Angie says this was the best part of the day so far, and I think she is right. It was lovely to just sit and watch the world go by (and in her case work on a blog post).
After a while it was late enough that we could go and check into the hostel. I have to say it is a bit of a contrast to the Canterbury hostel, which was a Victorian-era house. This one looks like an old college dorm, and when I say old I do not mean it in the same way as the Canterbury hostel. This was probably mid-century awful. Very run down, no lockers, and only one key per room, which means we have to keep the door unlocked for when our roomie gets back from dinner (it’s currently 11:30 here), which is not so appetizing. On the up side, Angie says she’s seen worse showers.
At this point, I’m barely half way through our day, but I think I will save our visit to the Palace des Beaux Arts, and our lovely evening with Yannick Place until tomorrow. The people talking outside who are apparently camped here to await the Braderie or are just vagrants, may want to stay up all night, but I need my sleep.