Belgium, Bruges

Bruges, the capital city of West Flanders turned out to be a whole lot more than chocolate, beer, waffles and frites even though I am sure you could survive on those four staples for a long time. The cobbled town centre with its morning market selling fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly cooked meats and spit roasted chickens, cheeses and hot waffles did not disappoint. Trip Advisor will give you the run down on churches and historical buildings to visit but what we were most taken with was the people, friendly, engaging, warm and cheerful…we were all struggling with the arctic snap and yet all we felt was warmth.

I have fallen in love with the shops too, each one is quite understated and classy. The signage doesn’t really give any clues to what is behind the door – the bakery looked like a high end law firm but if you look carefully through the windows you’ll see tastefully presented breads and cakes…it’s Disney like.

We also struck gold with the ongoing LPG saga in a small local garage where the owner (who spoke English as well as us) had all the necessary attachments and knew how to fully fuel us up – and the gas was literally half the price of France – again, another mystery about a so called United Europe.

We’d overdosed a bit on World War 2 cemeteries in France so for a change decided to visit all the World War 1 memorials, cemeteries and trenches we could find in Belgium ! Joking apart, it’s hard to explain how moving and deeply tragic it is…we’ve all studied this stuff in school but nothing stops you in your tracks quite like 12,000 graves of young men at Tyne Cot cemetery and the amazing city gates of Ypres. It’s hard to describe the Menin Gate, it is truly a magnificent memorial, remembering those lost in WW1 without a known grave.

To round off the historical tour for the day, we drove the 200 km round trip to the site of the Battle of Waterloo where the Duke of Wellington kicked Napoleons backside. We were proud to be British.

So having fallen in love with Belgium and it’s lovely people it was quite entertaining watching Jon being pulled over and breathalysed by the Belgium Highway police this morning in the motorhome. After a document check the police told us that whilst a car can tow a caravan in Belgium it’s apparently not legal for a motorhome to tow a car (!) We were then asked to remove Mini and get on our way. Which we did and continued to the Dutch border.

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