Category Archives: Belgium

Getting Lost in Belgium

We had sorted out a spot to stay in Brugge and entered it into both GPS units and we were on a mission with Gary leading the way in Harry.

Where are we. Fiona, Dianne and Gary looking for clues

Brugge is going through a huge road rebuilding and new motorway system and what we hadn’t counted on was that both GPS units were totally confused. It all adds to the fun!

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The Brugge canal

After going round and round and eventually ending up opn a dirt road on a farm in Holland an hour or two later, we headed back to Brugge and found a campground and its fantastic. All the mod cons and it was 27 euro’s a night for 2. Pretty good really.

Fiona and Dianne at the Market

Our first day in Brugge was fun. We got on a bus outside the campground and headed into the centre of the city. About 20 minutes later, Google maps suggested we’d been through the middle and were heading out the other side 🙂 .. Time to get off and we found another bus to take us to Town where we stopped in to have a cup of coffee. The Markets were on in the Market Square and it was huge. Some amazing food and the cheeses and Nougat cakes were something else too.

Brugge is amazing. The buildings are sensational and they’re all very friendly here too, even the bus drivers. We walked around the town looking at the shops and eventually ended up in a Gourmet Burger Restaurant which was fantastic. I’m not a big Beer drinker but the Stella on tap was great. I even had a second one 🙂

We spent the day looking in shops. Fiona bought some shoes, some trousers, a top and a scarf and I bought some shoes and a shirt.

Visitors enjoying the Canal

After a full day in the city, we headed back to the camp on the bus and chilled.

Fiona in a Chocolate Shop

Brugge is a neat city and although their Motorway system is currently “Non GPS Compliant” it is still pretty easy to get around with a great transport system.

Ralph in his corner
Dianne, Gary and Fiona with Harry opposite

The end of the day came and we caught  a bus back to our campground and had a laugh or two over a glass of wine.

The Chunnel Crossing

After checking out the new Niesmann and Bichoff at Telford, we all piled into Gary and Diannes, Harry the Hymer and headed to Milton Keynes through the traffic to collect Ralph the rental Hymer. We arrived just before 5pm and Peter the proprietor, gave me a run down on Ralph. Where the hoses were, the camp chairs etc and how everything worked.

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Ralph is a real hard case machine. Its a 1992 Hymer with a 5 cylinder 2.9 litre Mercedes with automatic trans. It starts first pop everytime despite its 250000 miles on the clock. Its a fun wagon.

The Hymers in the carpark at Bearsted

We stopped at a Caravan park in Bearsted after battling the M1 traffic for a couple of hours and we arrived 3 minutes late at 8.03pm. The sign said no admittance after 8pm so we spent the night out in the carpark but still had to pay what I thought were extortionate fees of 34GPB (NZ$70!) without power and not much else. What a welcome .. Dianne rang and we were basically told “Rules are Rules !” .. not a nice welcome…no wonder the other Caravan Association calls themselves “the friendly group”.

We were close to the Channel Tunnel for the next morning and that was all that mattered.

We were away at 8:30 to get on the Chunnel Train. We arrived quite early and clocked in through both borders and parked our car in the C lane and went to get a cup of tea and look at the duty free stuff.

Fiona and Dianne with the Hymers waiting to board the train.

Gary and I stumbled on this amazing deal for internet for roaming all over Europe with a prepaid card from 3.  All the Truckies use it apparently but its great.

After an hour of cups of coffee we were asked to line up Harry and Ralph Hymers and get ready for the train. Its was amazing how quiet and how easy it was.. very streamlined. Dianne even got a wink from the French immigration man with his “lovely accent”!

Dianne and Fiona at the Duty free terminal waiting for the boarding signal.

About 10 minutes early, we were asked to move the Hymers onto the train.

Our view of Harry on the crossing

We drove up over a small bridge and then straight down a ramp and the sideways onto the train. You drive through the carriages until you get as far forward as you can then they chock your wheels.

20 minutes later with what was a very easy smooth ride and we were in France. It only took about 10 minutes and we were cruising up the carriageway to Belgium.

The Chunnel station in France with Harry on the ramp

Fantastic service and so easy.