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Bella Italia - June 28th 2010

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The 17th day - and last day of riding for this trip.

I planned to stop off at the Chocolate Factory, just south-west of Ostend, for ciggies on the way back, and a couple of good friends were on my way at Oostkamp just outside Bruges. With Gertrude aiming for Oostkamp, I left Beauraing. Those who know Belgium know that the roads can be long and straight - not the way Gertrude took me. Lots of interesting twists and turns, which made a change from yesterday's first 300km.

I stopped off for lunch at a likely looking place, and although it looked expemsive at EUR10, ordered a croque monsieur. It turned out to be very good value indeed.

I noticed that the Hornet had picked up all sorts of road-kill over the last two days in particular - but in the sunshine they didn't show up too badly:

Got to Oostkamp, and Mike and Eddie made me my first decent cup of tea of the trip - I was certainly ready for it! I didn't stay long, but left them with some MV stickers to be photographed 'in ususual places'.

Mike and Eddie outside their house:

I think I was scaring Eddie!

Managed to get my supplies at the Chocolate Factory, and found space to stow them.

A bit blurry (no flash allowed) - but for those who've not been on the Shuttle under the Channel, this is what it's like:

My fellow companions on the crossing all lived within a few miles of me, they'd been hoofing it around the south of France. They had far more road-kill than the Hornet - their leathers were covered too.

Odo at journey's end, bang on 5000km door-to-door. I managed to get back in time for the pub, and the first couple of pints didn't touch the sides!

And the final day's track (493km):

A couple of month's later:

There's been a sequel to this trip, which was even more life-changing. I took myself off to California to meet some of my fellow Bella Italia companions. This had unlooked-for but hugely welcomed consequences. You can read more on these pages: Mission Improbable - Enjoy!

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