We had a rude awakening this morning, our fellow guests obviously all on a bus tour had an early start so from 7am there was constant knocking on all the doors as they woke each other up…..way to early for us.
We eventually got up, wandered down to the local supermarket for some fresh bread for breakfast and packed the Princess for her trip to Ghent.
Our first stop was the Oudenbosch Basilica or Basilica H.H. Agatha and Barbara in the Dutch village of Oudenbosch. The basilica was the life work of father Willem Hellemons, the parish priest between 1842 and 1884. His bust stands proudly by the entry door welcoming visitors to his creation.
Oudenbosch Basilica is based on two buildings St. Peter’s Basilica and St. John Lateran Basilica, both of which are in Rome. The facade, a copy of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, is built in neoclassical style featuring long columns, roman arches and rooftop statues.
The interior of the basilica is a copy of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome,and it is just unbelievable with all its coloured marble, marble statues and altarpiece. The Basilica is dedicated to St Agatha and St Barbara and statues of the two saints and a number of other female saints adorn the interior of the basilica. Disciples, apostles, saints, angels and religious frescoes adorn the walls and ceiling of the dome. It is just phenomenal to have such an awe inspiring basilica in such a little town.
Leaving Oudenbosch we headed south passing lots of farming country with fields of grasslands, corn, barley, sugar beet and lots of fat cattle happily grazing.
We passed from the Nederlands into Belgium without any border checks, just a pair of signs indicating where the Nederlands stopped and where Belgium started. It’s quite fascinating for us to pass from one country to another without border controls.
With a long ride from Oudenbosch towards Ghent, it was time for a break. Eventually I took a detour at Evergem on the outskirts of Ghent, a quaint little farming community where we stopped off for lunch. The local hotel was the only place open in town so we ordered a simple lunch of Croque monsieur accompanied by Belgium’s national dish, Belgian Fries. Although the French claim them as their own French Fries originated in Belgium. It was also interesting having a language change with locals speaking French and Flemish (Dutch).
They also had a fascinating pool table with bollards in the centre, we have no idea what game they playe don it but it looked interesting.
The last run to the apartment was quite short and we were greeted with great enthusiasm by our host. Soon we had shed all our bike gear and were relaxing with our feet up. Tomorrow we head into Ghent to check out the city.