Ghent, Oudenaarde, Lille

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We started the day at Vrijdagmarkt (Friday Market) in Ghent, held in a spectacular square. If you go there, don’t order coffee at Le Chat Noir as it’s substandard and their kitchen doesn’t open until 8.30am.

It took awhile to escape Ghent and get away from heavy traffic, but we eventually found quiet country roads with cows, barley crops and precisely furrowed fields. For some distance we followed the River Scheldt – actually it looks like a canal with cycle paths along each side, locks and barges travelling up and downstream.

Navigational challenges cropped up regularly and at one point we took a wrong turn on to a motorway from where we hastily retreated.

Our lunch stop was at Oudenaarde, a small regional city with a fantastic town hall and huge church. The extensive connurbation of Roubaix and Lille made the last 20km hard work. Lille, however, has a beautiful centre with huge Grand Place surrounded by impressive buildings. There is a large park near our lodgings in which there were hundreds of people in the early evening sitting on the grass, playing petanque and enjoying the fresh air.

Today’s route (approx)

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