Northern France is definitely not Southern France, or so we learnt today.
Our clothes were still very wet after hanging on the bridge last night, and we couldn't wait all morning for them to dry, so we reluctantly put them on and continued cycling along the canal.
But pretty soon, after a few putrid wafts we began to wonder where the stinky smell was coming from. And then we saw it, just beside the canal, a huge sewerage plant! 'Whoa that stinks' we yelled at each other.
And the smell just wouldn't go away. We're going to smell like this town Shanna yelled back at me while we were riding along. 'You already do' I yelled back, laughing. 20 kms later and we could still smell the sewerage, but maybe by that stage it was us...
Another thing we learnt today was that the canal we swam in last night has some big fish, pretty damn big for fish that swim in a river.
At a small cafe/supermarket we stopped at, the first shop we found open for 30kms we saw some photos of some of the fish that have been caught in the river, they looked almost 3 feet long, or as big as a small boy. I wonder if we'd have swam in there if we had of seen those photos first.
And then, sitting outside the cafe a thing, an event you might say happened. And I still can't work it out but we'll write about it at some point in the future, maybe when we write a book or something...
RIding towards the Belgian/France border and it begins raining, first a sprinkle and then it steadily becomes heavier. We see a camping sign, it tells us to turn right. We follow it and eventually find the campsite.
'No tents,' he says, 'only caravans and motor homes, next camp sites 30 km's away.' Wet and feeling sorry for ourselves we keep riding, and cross the border into Belgium.
Riding through the rain, desperately searching for somewhere to camp we see a forest behind some houses and make a dash for it. Is it somebody's land, maybe, but it's late and the rain won't stop. Amongst the blackberrys and the dense trees we push our bikes through the undergrowth.
'It'll do' we say to each other.
We set up the tent in the rain and eat some scraps of food inside to try and stay dry. Then we dry the tent inside where it got wet when we set up.
Laying down we can hear the rain pounding into the forest.
Exhausted and ready for sleep I struggle into my sleeping bag, but somethings not right. Somethings funny.
'Damn it, we stink like the sewer!'
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia