Limburg 2012, Day One
First there will be no apostrophes in these reports.
Why, you ask?
This is coming to you via my aging HP Thunderclap. Instead of impressively tapping it on the Bluetooth keyboard and iPad, I am boxing on the broken keys. Actually the letter o and k have no keys. In my sleep transatlantic haze, I left my iPad on the plane.
I discovered this 120 km later in Maastricht. So instead of typing out my blog, I spent the day frantically trying to reach United and/or Brussels Airways, which manages its baggage. No, they did not respond. Gone.
But Holland is fantastic. I arrived under a dull spitting sky to find a lackluster venue next to a construction site. Frankly the Lowlands of Belgium and Holland always present a gray curtain as their stage; you must learn to pull them back to start the show.
I caught up on e-mail and then napped.
When I awoke I had no sense of time. Neither my laptop nor phone were updating the time. But the sun remained up so I figured it to be around 3 p.m. So I did what has become routine in Europe: I rented a hotel bike.
Within 100 meters I rolled under the highway interchange and onto the Fietsnetwork of bike lanes and into the core of the city. Masstricht is a fantastic city tightly woven around the Maas River, downstream from Liege in nearby Belgium. This would be recon ride, getting my bearings: train station, restaurants, bike shops…and then how to get back. The bike costs about 7 euros and I hoped to go back out after I exchanged money and checked on my work schedule. I ended up checking e-mail; when I looked up rain had started slashing on the window. I turned the bike in and returned for more Internet lull.
Later I walked about looking for food before I realized with all the jet lag and latitudinal difference it was like 11:45. The place was evacuating by bike; all sorts of couples lazily tumbled the pedals, side-by-side, brushing each other’s hands, smoking or texting as they rode. It is about 20 percent pedestrians, 40 percent cars, and 40 percent bikes. And they ride without helmets comfortably through a city made for all three to get along. No horns. No anger. No more fanfare than we might find at a coffee shop at 8:30 a.m. Everybody is courteous and quiet.
I found no restaurants opened. After walking an hour I returned to the hotel bar to find my UCI staff. Marching orders for Day 2. Lots more to come.