Friday morning I started out walking on the regular bus-tour route of Bruxelles. The Hotel de Ville was very fine in its Gothic architecture and with its tall spire. It formed one side of a square of old Guild Houses, very picturesque with all of their gilded fronts. The big Palace de Justice is very imposing and sits on a hill commanding a fine view of the city to the North. The Royal Palace with the park in front is also very pretty. The fine archway and park connected with the museum is interesting.
Had eaten a couple of the rolls left over from last night’s dinner for breakfast and now I had a peach pie effect for lunch, which I ate in the park. In the afternoon I just made the car to Waterloo. I had become lost in the morning and didn’t get back till two, having stopped for a bowl of soup and chips. About a 12-mile ride and we were there. A huge pyramid of earth was thrown up in the middle of the battlefield where thousands lie buried and not a tombstone to show where they lie. On top of the cone is a large statue of a lion. From the top you can get a fine view of the country.
In town again I went to the station and got my bike. Had to wire Liege to send it on. Had more soup and chips and an apple pie effect for dinner. Spent the evening walking around, writing letters, washing, and darning socks.
Today I left at 8:15, and after some trouble in getting on the right road, followed the banks of the canal most the way to Anvers or Antwerp. It was a fine day to ride but hot. Anvers is a beautiful city, more so than Bruxelles. Its buildings, boulevards and parks are OK. I spent an hour there riding around—it is quite large, 302,000 [525,600 in 2010]. Leaving there, I again went wrong and rode around in circles in the great shipping canals to the north. Went 13 miles to go 3 or 4. Thus I was on the wrong road all afternoon. About 1 PM I bought 3 big rolls from a bread wagon and went along eating them. Soon I came to the frontier, where I got into Holland without paying a bike tax. The regular man was out, so I beat it plenty quick before he came back. Rode in all directions over good and bad roads and tow-paths. Just missed a ferry across a bay and while waiting had a dinner of bread, potatoes, and beans. I am a real vegetarian.
The setting sun was very pretty on the bay. Later crossed a big canal on a ferry and arrived in Rotterdam after dark. Got pulled in for not having a Licht, but the chief was friendly and told me all about the hotels, with written directions. I found another for 1½d or 60¢. Am eating two apple dumplings, trying to get filled up. The little backwoods towns are mostly filthy, but those on the main roads are very clean and attractive.
Canals are everywhere and many are full of stagnant water and smell like the deuce. The cyclists are as thick as flies on the roads in the evening. Guess they have their dates that way. The country is flat with a few windmills around and lots of contented cows. Many wear wooden shoes. Tonight Rotterdam is packed and the stores are all open. In some parts it looks like a summer resort. Prices are more dear here. I have French, German, Belgian, and Deutsch money on me and it is a job keeping it straight—32 metal coins in small change! Road 115 miles today, and 20 miles of it out of my way.