|Oostende (B) - De Bilt (NL) and back|
Just returned from my second trip of the year; over the weekend my mother visited us to celebrate Audrone's birthday and about two hours after she left, I got a call, "Did I leave my bag at your place?". She did…
As she and her friend are about to go to Spain for a holiday, and with the bag containing lots of important papers, she suggested mailing them, but I decided to grab this opportunity to get a bit more training for my next trip (Porto-Luxembourg, next month) and to take it myself. It would also offer me a chance to see their new apartment.
So on 2008-05-14 I got up at 5:15, had a quick bite and jumped on my bike to get to the start of the A10 out of Oostende. I got there about 6:20 and at 6:36 I got my first ride. Driver was doing Oostende-Brussels about every day, knew about all speed-traps and just 22 minutes later we got to the Esso station just before Gent. The wait here was minimal, nine minutes, and the next ride with a female who'd never hitched herself, but didn't hesitate a moment when I asked her for a ride took me to the "Hazeldonk-Oost" petrol station just across the Dutch border.
At the station they were still cleaning the fast-food machines, which meant that I couldn't eat my traditional "kroketje", which I always do if I stop here.
So back to the forecourt and asking around. Eventually, after a lifetime of 33 minutes I got a ride with the creative director of a Belgian music publisher. He was on his way to Hilversum and it was no problem for him to leave the A27 at the "Veemarkt/De Bilt" junction (to rejoin it at the slip-road at the other side) to drop me off, at 10:10. I'd done the distance, just over 250 km in a mere 3:34 (2:30 actual driving time), faster than my mother and her friend a few days earlier, driving themselves. (OK, they had a break for coffee…)
The trip back today (2008-05-15) took twice as many rides, six, and a bit longer, 5:07 (actual driving time 2:24), mainly due to a bloody long wait (1:21) at the "Galgewaard" liftplaats in Utrecht - during that time I was offered three rides to Arnhem, one to Den Haag and another to Amsterdam.
However, after this initial long wait it was again pretty much plain sailing and a final ride with a British guy brought me back to Oostende at 11:48 - he was on his way to Calais, but graciously made a 20+ km detour as he had time to spare.
All in all, a pretty good trip.
Last updated on 18 February 2017 (Changed round-robin backward link)