‘Brussels and all those Eurocrats on the gravy train? It’s just so boring. Why, you can’t even name ten famous Belgians!’ Until 1993, Alec had never been to Belgium, so it came as some surprise when in August that year he found himself at the altar of a small church in Flanders, reciting wedding vows in Flemish. It was the start, for better or for worse, of a long relationship with this unassuming and much maligned little country. As he ordered yet another pint of Stella, it dawned on him that perhaps it was time to immerse himself in Belgian culture, especially when there were over a hundred locally produced beers on the menu. He vowed to put worldwide opinion to the test: just how boring can Belgium be?
Tired of airport security queues, delays and all those extra taxes and charges, Tom Chesshyre embarks on a series of high-speed adventures across the Continent on its fast trains instead.He discovers the hidden delights of mysterious Luxembourg, super-trendy Rotterdam, much-maligned Frankfurt and lovely lakeside Lausanne, via a pop concert in Lille. It’s 186 mph all the way – well, apart from a power cut in the Channel Tunnel on the way to Antwerp. What fun can you have at the ends of the lines? Jump on board and find out...
And other circuitous adventures in Italy, France and Switzerland
Author: David Le Vay
Publisher: Summersdale Publishers LTD - ROW
Category: Sports & Recreation
Mont Blanc, or ‘Il Bianco’ as it is sometimes known as in Italy; The White One. It sits, regally, upon pleated glacial folds gathered together around a timeless, grey-rock body, high above the French town of Chamonix, lord of all that it surveys. It beguiles, bewitches and charms the lesser folk who seek to frolic and play amongst the buttressed foothills of its ancient frame. In a muddy field somewhere in Cornwall on New Year’s Day, two men make a pact to tackle Western Europe’s highest mountain. Call it a mid-life crisis, with not only his daughter about to leave for university but also the rapidly approaching prospect of his fiftieth birthday to consider: walking 170 kilometres across a mountain range seems the perfect antidote. Humorous, reflective and poignant, this is the story of a journey around one of the world’s most iconic mountains, through an area that is full to bursting with stories to remember.
'It wasn't a race but a war game' Bernard Hinault 'Without question, the hardest one-day bike race ever created' George Hincapie ?The Tour of Flanders – known to cycling fans as the Ronde – is the biggest one-day bike race in the world. It is a potent mix of grit, cobbles, steep climbs, narrow roads, national pride, beer, brutal weather and the maddest, most passionate fans in the sport. It’s the Tour de France boiled down into a single day of non-stop action – the Belgian equivalent of the Grand National, Wimbledon and the FA Cup final. And there’s yet more to it than that. Edward Pickering tells the story of the Tour of Flanders, its history, culture and meaning, through the prism of the 2011 Ronde, an incredible edition that was one of the most exciting bike races of the past half-century. He weaves the narrative of that day into a broader study of the race, with eyewitness accounts from the key locations of the Ronde and dozens of interviews with the riders. The Ronde is a textured portrait of a race, but it also explores the deep links between bike races and the landscape and culture in which they take place, and explains how cycling works, with the most detailed analysis of a single event ever seen.