Stage 2: Round-up

Tonight’s revelation was the reason for the absence of field art in the first few days of Le Tour. No matter how wide the shot, or how sweeping the vista … we saw no agricultural sculptures. I was pretty disappointed as there were some absolute beauties last year … until I remembered that they appear as part of a competition organised by the National Federation of Farmer’s Union of France,  and well … we’re still in Belgium!  I know what this year’s theme is, but it would be no fun if I told you all just yet.  We were very lucky with last year’s theme, it was cows 🙂 I’m very relieved to know that the prize for best exhibition hasn’t been swallowed by the GFC.

Gabriel Gate’s segment tonight proved us to be an easily excited bunch. Last night’s pre-emptive Vache spotting was completely outdone by Gabriel’s exploration of the countryside around Liege featured many lovely Vache, the excellent small goods produced and over 100 varieties of cheese, oh my! The most famous of which is Fromage de Herve,which we see being made, see it being eaten, have it explained to us that good pasture gives good milk ….but no mention of what kind of milk!  *sigh* so I googled and it is indeed made from Vache milk!  Hooray!

Fromage de Herve Source: Wikipedia

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Stage 2: Visé > Tournai

Tonight we leave Liège and head through Namur en route to Tournai, in Hainaut. There is only one categorised climb – a four at 82.5km – but the route should give Paul and Phil plenty of opportunities to use the word “undulating”. The intermediate sprint point is at 153km, 54.5km before the finish, and it’s likely that the green jersey hopefuls will be chasing as many points as they can both here and at the finish.

The start town is Visé, which I reckon is close enough to Limbourg to excuse a quick trip over the provincial border for some Limburger. It’s described as tasting “milder than the aroma suggests”, with the American version being still milder (Roberta Muir). Still, it’s pungency was notable enough to inspire this Abbott and Costello sketch.

Last night’s stage was rich in bovine beauty and we can hope for more of the same tonight. Perhaps we might spot some Belgian Reds. The breed is from Western Flanders and is considered endangered, but who knows…  Doesn’t this look similar to one of the groups from last night?

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