At Geraardsbergen there’s a wall. Or rather, at Geraardsbergen there is THE wall, the only one that merits the definite article, as it has for a long time; an epithet that will last for who knows how long?
This is no ordinary wall: a wall that doesn’t divide, but transports and projects, a wall that pushes upwards towards a panorama that is low yet also high, at least relatively speaking. The wall of Geraardsbergen is not a vertical wall, even though it seems that way, and it is not made of bricks but of cobblestones, and is encircled by grass rather than barbed wire. This wall tells us stories that continue, whilst other walls cut stories short. The Muur of Geraardsbergen is a place that anyone who knows even a little bit about cycling will have heard of, but the story that begins along this kilometre of cobblestones at the end of July is less known, longer, and just as fascinating. It’s a story of crumbled walls, of barriers that fell as if they had never existed, and which should never have existed, in an idea of Europe that seems to be heading into the sunset. It is a story of resistance and knowledge, of challenging oneself, but also of challenging the fears that lead to the building of walls.