Yesterday went like a whirl. Any apprehension I felt about this Tour was replaced by excitement the moment I reached France. The journey from Calais to Kortrijk went well and I crossed the border into Belgium (at L’Abeele) more smoothly than Napoleon Bonaparte did in 1815 – there was no border presence at all and if it weren’t for the road signs changing from French to Flemish I wouldn’t have known I had entered Belgium.
Kortrijk appeared almost empty as I arrived early on the Sunday afternoon and I was able to park the Van in the centre of the town (N50,83120 E3,26818) without any difficulty and enjoy a quick stroll before dinner. There’s a significant amount of regeneration going on in the centre (especially by the River Lys – that’s the River Leie in Flemish) but the balance between old and new appears to be working.
The town became even quieter as it got dark but the next morning was totally different. I was up early, looking for an early start towards Ypres but a local market was being set up in Kortrijk’s two major squares and I sat for a full hour with hot coffee and croissants watching while the locals noisily set out their stalls with local produce. Freshly baked bread, cheese, cold meats & fresh fish seemed the order of the day. I sampled a few cheeses before driving back down the road I came in on towards Ypres.