Into the Hop Fields
Total Distance 57 km
See below for map, elevation profile and GPX file.
What beer tour would be complete without a ride through the hop fields? Luckily our ride today would deliver. The sun was out and the clouds were beautiful. We kept remarking on the strange sensation of sunlight on our skin. We took the morning off to relax with our friend and didn’t get on the bike until about 2 pm. Our last major day of movement was supposed to be a short one. We planned to ride only about 45 km to Poperinge. That 45 km inevitably turned into 57 km but it was a very pleasant ride.
We opted for the Voie Verte along a canal instead of riding along the highway. The 20 km of flat and pretty bike path was mostly paved and wide. Although the further we got from the city the more interesting the ride got. It eventually turned into a hard packed dirt road. We marveled at the people camping along the canal in plain sight. It looked a little more like people were living in the tents as opposed to just passing through. The better weather brought out many people engaging in various activities. There were many walkers and cyclists clogging the path. We passed by a group of fisherman hanging out on the banks of the river who yelled some words of encouragement. At the end of the path we crossed over the river at the little Pont Rouge (red bridge) that took us into Belgium. Border crossings so far … eight.
We wound our way through the hop fields and into Poperinge. There, we spent the night with another couchsurfer. We picked his brain about the breweries around and enjoyed a delicious meal. We were eager to visit our favorite brewery, St. Bernardus and the brewery with allegedly the best beer in the world, Abbey St. Sixtus in Westvleteren. This is the part of the trip we have been waiting for and we were really excited for the beer adventures awaiting us the next day.
View Hem to Poperinge in a larger map