After eleven days of cycling, we have stopped in the Ardennes for our first ‘rest’ day. Although we have been resting from cycling, we have been working all day cleaning and repairing kit – diving into the tent whilst some heavy showers pass us. Autumn seems to be chasing us south and we are fortunate not to have been caught by any serious rain whilst cycling, so far…

Since the last post, we followed the south coast of England from Brighton to Dover and made the ferry that we’d booked. Northern France then greeted us with flat roads, warm sunshine and gentle breezes (baguettes and good cheese). Our route then took us along the Belgian border – crossing between France and Belgium – and into some hillier terrain towards the Ardennes. The last 20km yesterday was along a cycle path alongside the Meuse, which was paved all the way and made for very pleasant cycling. We ended the day with a treat by going out for dinner and raised a (well earned!) glass of Chimay to the Belgian brewing town we’d ridden through earlier in the day.

The main challenges have been keeping all our kit as dry as possible, in particular the tent, and the time it takes each day to do all the things other than cycling – washing, buying food etc. Also, we can’t find any gas canisters to fit our stove, so we’re going to have to test out the multi-fuel bottle system and burn some petrol or meths, which should at least get us used to it before Africa.

Over the next few days we’ll head through Strasbourg and south to Switzerland. Our next rest day is scheduled for half way through Switzerland, so we’ll try to blog again then.

We’ve posted a few photos from the last few days, including some pictures from a lap of a cycle park which we accidentally strayed into…!

PS Since writing this blog entry, but before posting it, we have cycled another couple of days to Thionville, on the west bank of the Moselle river. The weather has become very cold and damp, so we are keen to get further south as soon as we can – just the small matter of the Alps to deal with…