We said goodbye to Esther this morning, after just over 1000 km and 14 days of riding together.
Today was an easy 52 km ride from Namur to Charleroi. We left the Meuse river at Namur and followed the Sambre canal. The bike path was flat and signposted the whole way – so no navigation was needed. The signs inform us that we are now on Eurovelo 3. In contrast to yesterday, the route was not very scenic. In fact, much of the canal was quite industrial, with heaps of sand and gravel, barges, refineries, scrap metal recyclers. There were only a few pleasure boats, just passing through.
We stopped for a coffee at one of the small towns along the way. We found a lovely friendly local pub. I love the way you always get a little wrapped biscuit with your coffee in Belgium. Here is a picture of how simply but beautifully it is presented in the most unpretentious of surroundings.
When we got to Charleroi (our destination), we spent some time looking around the town, as we had to wait until 3 pm to check into the youth hostel. There was not much to see in the old town (which is up a hill), in fact the modern areas were much nicer with lots of outdoor cafes and a couple of big spacious squares. We had a beer at one of the cafes.
The youth hostel was great – brand new and we had a huge room to ourselves that could sleep about six people. It also had great bike storage on the ground floor, inside the hostel and accessible with the hostel access card.