Day 1. 87km. Eindhoven – Schimmert.

Posted: September 13, 2014 in Belgium, Cycling, Netherlands
Tags: , , , ,

The day was surreal. Escorted by a mass of friends to the Belgian border, we sat in the sun, fearing the moment of our ways diverging. Then welcomed by more friends on arrival in Schimmert – with the Dutch flag and a glass of champagne. I still haven’t fathomed everything. That will come.

Departure in Eindhoven

Departure in Eindhoven


I guess it must be the excitement. 2 years in the making, the day arrives, and I have a cold. Not a bad cold, and nothing that a bit of fresh air, and 30 people with waving flags can’t fix. I walked out of my front door, and soon, the people amassed. Lots of friends, people from work, and even people that I didn’t know that had read about my departure in the newspaper. Really cool. After flying the flags of the 32 countries I will pass through, the moment came: not only am I unemployed, but I am also homeless. I handed over the keys to my apartment to the new tenants. And then the trip began – with 30 followers on their bikes. The Pied Piper of Eindhoven.

All of a sudden, cycling through the forest, I hear ‘Advance Australia Fair’. A string of flags crossed the path, and Rufus Driessen – a friend from Philips – was cheering us on. He was set up there with his stereo in the forest. How cool is that? As my webcam had decided to crash again, I wasn’t able to capture this.. But, it is stored between my ears.

The sun came out for us as we sat in the cafe just over the Belgian border. The 2 hours there was punctuated with hugs and tears between the eating and drinking, and some magic tricks by Dhemie. The time for the departing of ways finally came, and I turned towards Belgium as the friends returned into the Netherlands.

A pleasant and familiar trip along the Belgian canal followed, before my very warm welcome in Schimmert.

Welcome in Schimmert

Welcome in Schimmert

Welcome dinner in Schimmert

Welcome dinner in Schimmert

  1. dvanderzwaan says:

    Geweldig je eerste dag zit erop en al met veel belangstelling. Leuk dat je een blog bijhoud. Zal je zeker gaan volgen ben zo benieuwd wat je allemaal tegen komt en meemaakt. Wens je heel veel succes met je tocht. Trudi

  2. Bonne route Matthew on est avec toi par la pensée. G illes et Yvonne

  3. Bonne route Matthew on est avec toi par la pensée Gilles et Yvonne

  4. acid mustafa says:

    Great ride on 1st day. All the best till Malaysia. Will wait the many months.

    Acid Mustafa

  5. Frank van Gerven says:

    Hello Matthew,
    From the moment I read this newspaper article in ED I can’t stop thinking about your journey. Travel safe and enjoy every mile of it!

    Frank van Gerven, an admirer.

  6. jovialspoon says:

    Hi Matthew. What a great send off. All the best for your journey. We’ll be following your progress with great interest here in Brisbane.

  7. Betty says:

    Veel succes met je tocht. Je kent mij niet en ik ken jou niet. Ik heb je artikel in de krant gelezen en ik wil je gaan volgen op je tocht. Veel geluk en ik hoop dat je droom uitkomt.

  8. Goede reis, Matthew!

  9. Bram says:

    Have a good trip Matthew! It’s nice to read your blog. The surprise in the forest with the Australian anthem was really great yesterday!

  10. Valerie Volk says:

    OK, Matthew … this may actually be one blog I follow. All the best on your massive expedition. What a WOW departure. You’ll have some great stories to tell us at Christmas

    • Hi Valerie.
      Indeed, it was a big departure. I was a bit overwhelmed to take it all in, I think. I have now recovered from the excitement of the last weeks – especially after the relaxing few hours in the thermal baths in Aachen. Now I am on the road – also mentally..

  11. Hi Matthew I can see you’re getting very close to home now. But I’m going to enjoy your blog properly as I haven’t checked in for a long time, so I think I’ll start from the start and try and catch you up – all the best to you, inspirational stuff. best wishes,
    Laurence (UK)

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