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a Belgian discovering French territories by bike

In recent days, the people of Creuse and Haut-Vienne have certainly crossed paths with cyclist Thomas de Blauwer. This Belgian native undertook a journey to deep France to recharge his batteries after a period of confinement. Passed by local paths, it tells its story halfway.

After confinement, Thomas de Blauwer decided to leave his native Belgium to discover new horizons with his only traveling companion: a bicycle.

Passionate about this discipline since childhood, he left at 8 a.m. on June 15, when the borders opened. His goal ? cross France to reach Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the last stop in France on the paths of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle.

On June 22, 2020, he was already 900 kilometers from his home city, Ath, in Belgium. He has just stopped in a Perigord restaurant to begin the story of the first part of his trip to unknown lands.

Leave with the bare minimum

Saturday June 13, 48 hours before his trip, Thomas de Blauwer went to buy a new bike, the one that will accompany him for a month on French roads, "a mix between a racing bike and a mountain bike"who has 10 days after his departure already has almost 1057 kilometers on the odometer. Who says journey, possibly says: bad weather. So, the Belgian globetrotter thought all: three shorts, a k-way, two pairs of shoes, three water bottles and a pharmacy provided for him by his sister, a nurse in Belgium.

A rhythm well in mind: cycling from 8h to 20h all day, with a few breaks that he gives himself from time to time, "if I want to have a coffee, I have a coffee, or a beer at 4 p.m. For lunch and dinner, I have a hot meal. It may seem a lot, but I spend a lot of energy!".

For Thomas, leaving with the bare minimum, it is also to clear the mind. If for this nature lover, this excursion marks a return to childhood, it is also synonymous with questioning.

We are always in a hurry: always faster, always me me me. We have to work more in society. What is important is the health of the people we love. The rest…

Thomas de Blauwer, cyclist

Go back a few years

So, on the roads of France, Thomas rediscovers nature, people, contact. He stops to enjoy the little things that "we tend to forget","we are in a hurry to consume, which does not respect our small businesses. We need the world, the hospital environment, our small structures and schools, and we must not forget our elders."This is what Thomas de Blauwer appreciated in the Limousin region. Passed through Creuse and Haute-Vienne in recent days, he had the feeling of coming back"40 years back, when people were still saying hello and where nature was still omnipresent".

I passed through villages in Creuse where there are still all the small shops necessary: ​​a bakery, a hotel, a cafe, a bank, etc.

Thomas de Blauwer

Thomas says that when he was near the Underground, he ate local specialties at a "Small woman"."She made me a very family dish, it warms my heart. People are very nice along the way."To the point of asking him if he is mad or if he should be encouraged,"it must be a bit of both", emphasizes the amateur cyclist with a laugh.

via GIPHY

He also tells how he found himself near this huge oak tree, in the forest of Tronçais, in the Allier, he who loves trees so much from a very young age, until he decided to study them in a school of forestry. "It was beautiful, I put my bike on the trunk, we could put six or seven other bikes around"Or when he took a photo in front of the village of Crevant in Creuse,"I was exhausted, it amused me to take a photo in front of this original name ! ".

Cotoin the sublime

Barely halfway through his trip and already full of memories, Thomas de Blauwer says to himself "fortunate"He would like to remind the French people of the beauty and richness of their territory.

I have already done all parts of Europe. For me 80% of the beauties are in France: there are the hills, the mountains, the sea, an ocean, gastronomy, culture, architecture. Take care of it.

Thomas de Blauwer

This bus driver is used to traveling, "I'm going to London, Amsterdam, Spain, Germany, Italy, I've never seen anything so beautiful as in France. "

For him, this journey must above all rhyme with "vacation". He borrowed one of the four GR (long-distance hiking trail) that counts the French territory: the GR654. In a few days, he should reach his goal: Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port before continuing to cross again the roads of France passing this time through Normandy, to finally find its Belgium around July 7, "if he is in good shape".