April 20, 2011

A chance to be a tourist...

As a competitive cyclist, you get to do a lot of traveling around the world. The thing is that you don’t always experience countries the way that most tourists might. Most site seeing takes place from the seat of your bike (some of it goes by quite quickly when you’re racing by at 40km/h..). It’s actually a very unique way to experience a country. A bike can bring you off the beaten path. It can carry you away from the hoards of tourists and into the quiet countryside. Or if you’re in a city, a bike can take you places a car can’t go, and you can cover more ground in a day compared to walking. There are tons of advantages of traveling by bike! We may not get to visit all the famous places a country has to offer, but we do still get to experience a countries culture by riding it’s roads, trying local cuisine and meeting new people.
However we do still get the rare opportunity to check out some cool places when time permits! Yesterday was one of those days, with our next race not until this weekend we decided it would be an excellent day to check out the city of Brugge in Belgium. Wikipedia tells me that Brugge is known as “The Venice of the North” because of all the canals running around the city. Wikipedia also tells me the historic city centre has been a UNESCO world Heritage site since 2000. Pretty cool!
The city managed to survive both world wars without being destroyed, so the city centre features preserved medieval architecture. It felt a bit like we had stepped back in time navigating the narrow alleys, as horse drawn carriages trotted down the cobbled streets. The hundreds of chocolate shops along with tourist and clothing shops boldly pointed out reality. 
We had a very relaxed Belgium day in Brugge… walked over the lake of love, observed the tall standing churches and other brick architecture, drank cappuccino’s out in the sun, sampled some hand made chocolate, and finished the evening off with some delicious Italian cuisine (yes wrong culture, but still made in Belgium so it counts). 
I would definitely like to go back and learn more about the history of the area. Maybe have a boat tour around the canals. It will have to wait for another day, for now it’s training until the next races. The weather in Belgium has been gorgeous lately, the sun is out, the sky is blue, the orchards are in full blossom! Who says Belgium has bad weather? 



  1. So much fun to be a tourist for a little while, like all the pics of beautiful Belgium, so much like Germany. Enjoy every moment. Oma & Opa

  2. Hi Leah, nice pictures and great blogging. I know how tough a competitor you are and its hard to imagine there are stronger women you're racing against. Your time is coming!! Tim T.