Crossing the border into Belgium the first thing that we notice is the roads are not so well maintained. They are doing some roadworks but don’t have signs forewarning of road blocks until you reach them and so we were redirected kilometres out of the way. This happened on the way to Ipers [Ypres] but with some signs and our maps we got back on track. Our TomTom also took us through the town winding our way through narrow one way streets.
Our parking place for the night was to be along the canal on the outskirts of town but they have placed no motorhome signs along this stretch of road. Nearby was a small campsite and for 15 euros with showers and good wifi we opted to stay there, luckily we got there early as by nightfall the place was full. Could be due to the tradition parking on the roadside being forbidden.
It was a short walk into town where we walked through the streets visited the church and stopped at a chocolate shop where we bought a box of various selections, we would ration these over the next couple of weeks, very delicious. We had a restaurant recommended to us by an Australian who is a tour guide for the battlefields. He had given us good advice as the place was indeed excellent and Jenny and Lori chose the mussels and I had the Flemish stew along with a few beers, the first of many we tried in Belgium.
After dinner we walked to the Menin gates where they hold a ceremony includes the last post being played, this happens every night at 8.00pm and has been carried out since the First World War.
In Brugge or Bruges we parked on the out skirts of the town in a place recommended to us by a Motorhome Fun member. There was plenty of space and not far from the city centre.
It was market day in the centre of town and we bought some lunch before joining a free walking tour. This took us to many interesting places that we would never have thought to go and the tour guide gave us some insight to the history of Brugge. After the tour we stopped at a café to enjoy some Belgium waffles and coffee, another thing ticked off our list.
The tour guide gave everyone a free beer voucher and on the way back we stopped at a basement bar where we had a 5 beer tasting platter and then selected another one for the road. The 3 vouchers gave us 6 euros off the price of the 5 tasting beers. Back to the motorhome where we had a quiet night’s sleep except that at 2.30 in the morning across the canal a tractor was mowing the grass. It must have been the only time he could do it as the road was narrow and he could only do it when there was no traffic.
In Ghent the parking place I had sourced was closed so we drove closer in the centre, found a place and paid the 12 euros for parking, very expensive but it did save us some walking. The place was a bit disappointing as the roads were being dug up for new tram lines and many of the buildings had scaffolding over them for renovations.
The Ghent altar piece (Adoration of the Lamb) is famous for many reasons one being that it has stolen many times, the last time during the Second World War by the Nazi’s. For a few euros you can view it and listen to the audio guide. It was worth the visit and the church was interesting as well.
As our overnight parking spot was unavailable we drove north crossing the border into Holland where we stayed at a harbour alongside about 8 other motorhomes. A quiet place where you could watch the barges cruise along the canal.
In a few days in Belgium we managed to drink some great beer, taste the waffles, sample chocolate and had some frites [chips]. A good time had by all.