Days 1 – 3
Egham, England – Guines, France – Brugges, Belguim
The day started well – I was ahead of schedule – that is until I decided to top up my mobile just before I left the house. I thought it would take 5 minutes online but 45 minutes later and several calls to the service line in India later – I was sorted and stressed!
It wasn’t just the result of being told to check my number repeatedly by a call centre operator but the climax of months of build up and a long weekend of saying good bye to friends and family. (I’ve since realised telephone number issue might be my fault but that’s not the point!)
I tried to tell myself I was just driving to Folkestone, but before I could possibly calm my nerves Alf and I had to say good bye to Mum and Dad. Let’s just say that by the time we hit the road I was a blubbing mess and Alf was left wondering what was going on.
Apart from a case of self induced nerves the journey to France was easy as pie and better still when we arrived in France the sun was out. So much so that when we got the campsite, which was only 20 mins off the train, we just chilled in the sun for the afternoon and wandered around the little village of Guines. I would recommend the campsite – especially for short stops before or after you cross the channel. They will make appointments for you at a local vet and the restaurant is fantastic. I didn’t go on this trip but a few years ago my friends Elaine, Ellie and I had a delicious meal there.
After watching a truly terrible movie called “waitress” (seriously don’t bother) Alf and I climbed up into the roof bed. I’d not had a chance to check out if the new mattress and duvalay (a combined duvet and memory foam mattress – a dragons den success story) was going to be comfortable. Thankfully it was and both alf and I had a reasonably comfortable night – definitely better than expected.
After a while I’m hoping Alf will sleep downstairs (ok there are no stairs but you know what I mean), but to start he will be more relaxed with me. It works ok – just a bit cosy – and we both fidget and snore – so we wake each other up! I want to get him chilled in the van and travelling in general first before I try it out.
My pre-ordered croissant (ok croissants – two as a first morning treat) were ready and warm at 8, after that it was a quick but not rushed pack up before heading to Brugge.
The drive to Brugge was through beautiful countryside with the only issue being getting stuck behind a few tractors. Oh yes and splashing a bit of diesel over myself at a petrol station – not my best move but not an issue really – the benefit of travelling in your van is you can grab another top and get changed there and then.
The campsite in Brugge is a bit more basic but nice enough. It’s 3k out of the town and the best way in is by bus ( I’m not trying the bike trailer combo just yet!. Now it’s not I have an issue with buses necessarily but if you don’t know where you are going how do you know where to get off.
But I’m not in a rush so after waiting for 30 mins to get one going one way I crossed over the road and got one going in the right direction! Alf found the bus a little strange so pulled me into the first bar on the market square – even for me that was a bit eager – we went into the second one instead. It was a perfect spot for people watching a taking in the picturesque square whilst tasting a few Belgium beers.
Later after a walk along the canal and another few beers I decide it would be best to head back sooner rather than later – especially as I has a but of a beer buzz going – I’m glad I did because it took a bit of investigating before alf and I were back on the no. 11 bus to the campsite. Note to self find the return bus stop before drinking beer!!
Day 3 and I’ve got a pink face – I didn’t expect to need sunblock yet! I’m taking it very easy today there is no need to rush about anymore – yippee – and I’ve slept ok it has been disturbed so I’m a little tired and I think alf is too. So the plan today has been to gently stroll round Brugge in between sitting outside a few bars drinking a few beers, people watching, reading and snoozing – Alfie is doing most of the snoozing in between having his picture taken by other tourists.
Tomorrow we will probably head to Ghent.
Only a few photos so far as I’ve just connected to free wifi so I thought I’d upload this post whilst I can.