igor duerloo

Just like last year, it was quite a job to get the Shark roadworthy by 11/08. Just like last year “the shark” had little choice, he has to perform on this day or face a trip to the funeral pyre when failing to report for duty. I didn’t get the diff set up as it should've been but I’m willing to risk the sacrifice. Contrary to last year we don’t take off with a dry mouth but with a slightly “knocking” diff. 
Our GPS sends us in the direction of Holland to reach our starting point but far before we reach the border our eyes get wet. Remembrance of the Lizzy tip...The absence of our beloved quadruped sinks in immediately not in the least because we feel she didn’t get a fair chance. Nonetheless we are grateful for the fond memories and we are happy to take our frog into the trenches with us. The frog is a Tibetan Terrier, imported from Normandy. We simply picked him up from the streets 5 years ago; up until this day, he is the only one knowing where he was heading. Maybe on this day he will have some memories of his step-sis too but I don’t speak French, so I can’t ask him.
During the “great war,” a wire of dead was placed at the Belgian-Dutch border to prevent people of the occupied territories getting into Holland. Anno Domini 2015 there’s some wire added to the historical site, if it’s meant to lure the tourists or to keep the Dutch out of Belgium is something I’ll leave aside.
Last year I was utterly disappointed that the priests of the abby of Hachel were unable to quench my thirst, this year they’ll get a second change to make a first appearance but no priests are found and worst of all none of their excellent beer can be purchased. I’m not sure if “resting” is one of God’s works but even so “resting” seems to be the only part of God’s works the priests tend to perform. Those who think Adolf Daens was the only priest with socialist sympathies is up for a fool’s bargain here in Hamont-Achel.
I’ve changed last year’s route and the twisting roads do make us forget about the absence of God’s messengers. In Lommel I was supposed to make a stop at the Polish cemetery but I’ve passed it before I can even can blink my eyes so I continue en route to the German cemetery. This place is a strong reminder of the fact that war only knows losers. Luckily the bar is open here and during my coffee I feel more sympathy for the Germans than for the Pagan priests of Achel.
Via the woods of Lommel we make it to the Belgian cemetery in Leopoldsburg. This year, contrary to last year, we definitely want to spend more time here. Not because we are Nationalists, it wouldn’t be appropriate in a place full of victims of Nationalism, but because it is a place of tranquility and one of the few cemeteries with this many Belgian victims. Some graves have a picture of it’s inhabitants on it and it makes the war and its consequences even more tangible. 
After a short stop at the British cemetery we are heading for the Priests of Postel with good spirits that God will do us a favor this time. 
He does but not after making us feel his wrath first. Just before reaching our destination there’s some smoke coming through the ventilation grills. I’m fully ready to evacuate wife and frog in no particular order but it appears to be nothing more than the melting fuse of the fuel pump. If it is because of the hallowed grounds I’m not sure but I do get a divine intervention here: While removing my transmission I’d accidentally damaged a connector in the trunk slightly. After getting my transmission back from rebuild the fuse of the fuel pump would blow quite often and the speedometer that shares this connection wouldn’t work sometimes. I decide to fiddle with the connector a bit to solve the problem. Before we can taste its success, there’s beer to be tasted. The beer produced at the Abby is of good taste and I decide that both Germans and Priests can be sympathetic. 

With a none working speedometer we cross the border again to reach the last stops of our route. Due to road works I have to deviate from the route sometimes but all in all I’m Happy with he roads. There are no wires added to the sites here at the border but what’s here is impressive enough to get an idea about the bloody struggle.
There’s plenty of one way streets and speed monitoring added though and I get the impression that in most of the villages from what is called the “Noorderkempen,” car enthusiasts are an unwanted species. Unwillingly I have to deviate from my route again but I’m able to find some fun roads. By the time I park the Shark in the garage I come to the conclusion that Germans and Priests are far more sympathetic than “Noorderkempenish” Politicians.

Lizzy's original trip can be seen here.


Matt Mariani
01/28/2016 20:33

Great read and gorgeous shark -Matt


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