Turns out, booking my cycling vacation to Belgium through Trek Travel was the easy part. As stated previously, their trip consultants have taken care of everything linked to the five-day adventure: bicycles and the needed accessories, hotel stay, meals, guides, museum and event arrangements, etc.
The component triggering the most angst for me was the "before" and "after" logistics. Items like plane and train scheduling, currency exchange, and getting lodgings because of my early arrival in Ghent. I managed to accomplish this sort of stuff on my first journey to Europe, back in 1982, but I felt a little uneasiness this time around. Yes, I'm older, but maybe not wiser.
I decided to lessen any worries by obtaining some help. So, I reached out to an expert on these matters — my daughter, Sophie. Our phone conversation went something like this:
"Sophie, I'm taking a trip and I need your assistance setting things up."
"Where are you going, Dad?"
"I'm going to Belgium for a cycling excursion."
"Wow! When is this happening and how long will you be gone?"
"It's this spring, and I'll probably be there a week."
"How about I come with you?"
Believe me, I didn't expect that response. But boy, I was delighted. Any anxiety I had completely disappeared; my own personal chaperone to make sure I don't get lost or foul up any details. However, more than that major hurdle out of the way, the best bit is having the opportunity to share this amazing experience with my daughter.
At least part of the time, anyway. Unbeknownst to me, Sophie and one of her girlfriends had been thinking about taking a trip together. So, you guessed it — she is joining us. While I'm doing my thing pedaling throughout the Flanders countryside, they'll be exploring other features of Belgium and, I'm quite certain, having a ton of fun doing their thing.
GETTING THE MILES IN ...
I surely don't want to arrive in Belgium and struggle on the bicycle. Surprisingly, the roads have remained relatively clear this month, so I have been able to pile up the miles. Nearly 400 already in January. A couple of days did test my resolve, with a temperature of 19 degrees and a "feels like" reading of seven. Those were the kind of rides when I utilized my fat bike; no chance of too much speed to drive up the windchill factor.
Anyway, I will be prepared for the trip. I can't let the side down when I meet those cyclists from different parts of the world. Stay safe!