Finally it’s time to take off! We lived towards this day for months. After all preparations, selling our belongings and our house, arranging a lot, and not to be forgotten unforgettable farewell moments, it is departure day!
Yesterday we had the final inspection of our house. Everything was of course neat and tidy and nicely cleaned (crazy that you give your house the best cleaning, if you say goodbye ...). In the evening we treated our neighbors Cees and Jo to the "dinner-of-the-week" at the local brewery. They in return offered us a "Bed and Breakfast" with a few wines on their roof terrace. Between all the fun we received many sweet messages and phone calls from friends and family. Eventually we were late in bed, but nice again in a bed, we had been sleeping on the floor for a week. That does not prevent Harry from getting up at 4 am and quietly sneaking into our house. Much remains to be done. The bikes are almost packed. They look beautiful and are now adorned by a guardian angel, a St. Christopher penny and two lucky dolls and a set of beautiful bags.
Roelie's parents report at 10 o'clock. They have cycled to Oirschot from Bladel (where they are camping) for a last time farewell. They also take some last stuff, including our Garmin navigation which we decided at the last minute not to bring. We will only navigate with our iPhones.
At half past 11 a photographer from the Eindhovens Dagblad comes to take a few photos. We cycle a few times up and down the street. Great enthusiastic Roel and Karien from Brandstore Visit Oirschot come to us. And then we finally go cycling! Harry cycles in all the hectic direction towards Eindhoven, but we had promised Richard (owner of the local bikeshop in Spoordonk, a few miles the other way up) and Joris and Pieter (directors Pilot Cycles) to say goodbye to them and to take a few more photos of the beautiful bikes. We both get a cycling shirt and a bottle of Richard. We will take the bottle at beautiful places far from here, we promise Richard. In Spoordonk we now really say goodbye to Roelies dad and mom. Roelie is now cycling around with her moms bracelet.
On to Eindhoven we start our tracker Spotthat shows our route on the website. In Eindhoven the notary is waiting for us for the transfer of our house. However, we have enough time to eat a sandwich somewhere. The choice quickly falls on the "Velosoof", a trendy cycling café in the middle of Eindhoven. This café is full of classic racing bikes, cycling shirts and photos. We order a sandwich and are surprised to see Roelie's friends of the year club. These ladies from Blixem came from all parts of the country to Eindhoven to say goodbye.We both get a great non-tough windmill, which we had to promise to keep on our handle bar till Belgium.
At the notary the signatures are quickly put and we say goodbye to Ilse, our real estate agent and the buyers of our house, Julie and Him, who in no time have won a warm place in our hearts.
And then it is time for the real take-off, now no more obligations but just cycling. It is already after 3 pm when we head to Belgium. We decide for the shortest route. It is almost 50 km along busy roads and certainly not a nice route, but we are so happy!!! Around 5 pm we reach the Belgian border and we take a picture of us at the border. We both brought a small flag from the province where we were born and raised: Friesland and Limburg. The idea is to make such a photo at every border crossing.
In the city of Bree we stop at a large supermarket and store groceries. We have nothing with us so we come out with full bags. Yet we have just kept our daily budget of € 50 (thanks to breakfast at our neighborhoods and the lunch paid by Blixem). From Bree we cycle another 5 km to Opitter. Near Opitter there is a forest on a style edge. In that forest two places have been designated where you can camp "wild". One spot lies on the edge of the forest and looks out over the meadows. There we have been once before, so we choose the other place, which is located in the middle of the forest.
Once there (what a great location!) we only put up our inner tent and we enjoy asparagus soup, a glass of red wine and baguette and cheeses. It is just after 9 pm when we exhausted, but with a blissful feeling, crawl into our tent and fall asleep like a log. What a special day this was!