Wednesday evening: the itinerary lands in our inbox. I open it in front of my son (a mother’s privilege…). We’re going to Flemish Brabant! I admit that a tiny critical thought crosses my mind: ‘Surely there are more beautiful regions in Belgium to discover with my son?’ But I decide to silence this little voice: ‘Manon is not Kaa; if she suggests this destination, it’s because she thinks it’s appropriate.’ Also, the garden of our WTMG-hosts looks really beautiful. I show my son where we’re going and we look at the map so he can see where it is.
Thursday is a long day. I went to bed at midnight and didn’t have the time to pack. It will be for tomorrow morning. After all, that’s why I signed up for an organised trip: because I don’t have the time to organise it myself!
Friday morning. It’s obvious that not everything is going to fit in my panniers. I quickly run to my neighbours to get a bigger set of bags, and at 9:30 am we set off towards Boondael train station.
On the train, we discuss the post I want to share on instagram. It’s a good opportunity to introduce social media to my son, who will soon have a smartphone. We choose a photo and he partly writes the text. We’re not even cycling yet and we’re already bonding! We arrive in Landen; time to start pedalling!
We set off, mother and son, side by side, on the roads of the Hesbaye. The magic of the place, of the bike and of Slowby is working. We have a picnic break among the apple trees with a small pasta salad, just the way my son likes it. Then we set off again, riding and stopping, discovering the region and each other. Quiet roads with hardly any traffic allow us to ride while chatting.
We arrive at our hosts, who are very welcoming. After a refreshing shower, we head to a restaurant t o discover the destination of day two. We order a drink while studying the itinerary. Well, we mostly look at the sights along the route, and where we can eat! My son approves 200% of one last terrace before getting on the train again.
Back at our hosts, we admire the sunset over the countryside. Time to go to sleep. This night in the tent is probably where I feel the generation gap… My son slept for over 10 hours without a mattress. I barely manage four hours on my mattress.
To compensate for the difficult start, our host kindly offers me some coffee. This is everything I dreamed of: sitting outside, waiting for my son to wake up! For lunch, my son dives into the map and suggests we go and eat by a pond.
Back at our host's house, we admire the sunset over the countryside. It's time to go to sleep. This night in a tent is probably the moment when I felt the generation gap… My son slept more than 10 hours without a mattress. Me, max 4 hours.
To compensate for the difficult awakening, our host kindly offered me a coffee, everything I dreamed of, sitting outside waiting for my son to wake up! For lunch, my son dives into the map and suggests we go and eat by a pond. I dig into the idea and we finally go for a picnic next to an old watermill. A nice place, with a terrace where you can picnic and super helpful staff, who agree to charge my mobile phone for free for 1 hour. My son was very proud of his finding and of this little adventure outside the planned route! And when the mobile phone is charging, we learn to keep ourselves busy without screens, for example, by playing some games. I got him with the word "kayaking" and he got me with a martial art like "jujitsu".
We decide to get moving because time is running out. It's 3pm and we still have about 20km to go to Leuven. We start and the landscapes change: more hills, and "big villas". A discussion follows on the different types of housing, in urban/suburban/village environments. Travelling is always a fantastic way to trigger discussions!
We arrive in Leuven and have to choose between the 5.48pm train or a drink at the Hal-5 and the 6.48pm train. My son chooses Hal-5; which means that he chooses a drink with his mom with whom he has already spent 2 days rather than going home to play the playstation!
Thank you to the Slowby team for this magical air bubble 😊