The end is nigh… of the walk, I mean, rather than the world. Although that end might also be nigh if our esteemed leaders don’t get their act together in Copenhagen and set us on the path towards a sustainable future.
But for now let’s focus on the end of the walk – it’s a bit easier on the psyche at this stage of a long day.
Tonight we arrived in Mechelen, Belgium (where we are staying at the Youth Hostel near the train station, UncaDoug) and since we arrived 2.5 hours ago I’ve been sorting out final arrangements for our arrival into Brussels on Friday, and plans for Copenhagen. It’s all shaping up very nicely – with a bit of help from our friends. I have countless reasons to be grateful to the members of the Rozling community. Here are a few examples:
Baldwin Hopmans, without whom I would not be posting this blog. He loaned us a wonderful little gizmo that gives us high speed internet access for the duration of our stay in Belgium. Also thanks to him that we got some local TV coverage and this nice mention in the local press in Bergen Op Zoom. Not to mention the delicious home-cooked dinner! See also photo for a pic of coverage in an Antwerp newspaper today.
Frank Koelewijn, who I haven’t yet met but who has been spreading the word through Brussels about our imminent arrival – to media and others who hopefully might form a welcoming committee to greet our footsore but triumphant crew. He has also arranged a booking for us at a local restaurant for a celebratory dinner.
Yves Mathieu, presenter for The Climate Project, who heard me speak in Nashville in May and has put his Brussels house at our disposal for accommodation – as well as taking delivery of various parcels to await our arrival.
Plus various friends at the United Nations, UK Department of the Environment and Climate Change, Act on Climate Change, the British Council, and many others who are lining up interviews and presentations for Alison and me in Copenhagen. It looks like our long and winding road through Europe is going to be worth the effort – and I am very much looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.
As with my ocean rows, when the going gets tough (and yesterday was!) it makes it so much easier to keep going when you know that in the end it’s all going to be worthwhile.
Thoughts of a more reflective nature coming soon, I hope, but it’s now 10.20pm and my pillow beckons. Tot ziens!
A final note:
Last night’s top tips for places to dine and drink in Antwerp:
Pelgrom: if you love a sense of history, you’d adore this restaurant – vaulted ceilings and candelabra make for a uniquely gothic ambience!
The Eleventh Commandment (Elfde Gebod) – retired here for a nightcap, and spent a happy half hour commenting on the various facial expressions of the religious figurines that adorn every sill, shelf and beam. Endless entertainment!
Thanks again to Baldwin for two great recommendations!
And last but not least, a really great and very clean little hotel, right in the centre of Antwerp, offering excellent value accommodation – the Hotel Postiljon. Also a very decent breakfast to set us up for a good day’s walking – it was so nice to get some fresh fruit, as we’re mostly pretty done with the standard continental breakfast of bread, ham and cheese!