Arrived home last night, rather this morning, around 2am. There were some “trespassers” causing problems to the Euro Tunnel which inevitably delayed the trains by approx. 2.5 hours. I do feel sympathy with people trying to make a better life for themselves, and if that means fleeing terrorizing conflict, then I would do the same.
I can’t but help wonder if the French feel insulted that the migrants don’t want to stay in their country?
Anyway, great trip. Sunday caught the 9.20am train to Calais. All running smoothly. Headed to Brugges for our first stop.
Brugges is an old medieval city built with canals at its heart. Very similar to Strasbourg though the population of Brugges is only approx. 100,000! Anyway, we wandered around looking at the old buildings and took a boat trip and we ate the obligatory waffle from a street vendor in the main cathedral square. The waffles were ok but I found quite doughy and sickly sweet. My two boys couldn’t finish theirs either.
From Brugge we left to head to Gent for our overnight stop. Gent is twice the size of Brugge. Our hotel was right in the heart of the city which is famous for its cathedrals and spires, plus the infamous Graffiti Street. That night we ate out right along the canal side.
Next day we had another wander around and took breakfast at a local cafe where we also bought lunch.
On last year’s holiday, Richard spotted the Atomium in Brussels. This is an atomic structure built back in 1958 for the great exhibition. So, we went to Brussels directly to the Atomium. Arriving around mid-day we endured long queues to buy tickets and even longer to get to the top observatory so that we could see the “best” views of Brussels.
After eating our lunch, we headed into downtown Brussels. Blimey it was busy! Brussels is not an easy city to make your war round in a car. Probably ok if you know the place, but I don’t. So we headed out of town, eventually to go to Ypres (now spelt Ieper on road signs). We thought we could buy some chocolates from here instead.
Sally read the guide book we have, and mentioned a place called Tyne Cot. Richard went there on his trip to Belgium war graves a couple of years back, so we headed to Tyne Cot instead. It is very close to Ypres so it was en-route.
Tyne Cot has almost 12,000 graves. These chaps died over a period of a year or so, many of them Australian and Canadian troops. There are also four German graves – they were also soldiers and so deserve respect too.
So many brave men died. This is a place for quiet contemplation.
Heading back to Calais we heard our departure time was delayed. Ok, so no worries, we would head to Cite D’Europe as planned, buy some plonk and get in line at the Chunnel.
Queue, queue, queue, queue!!!
Anyway we got home, eventually, around 2am. All of us rather tired.
Trip was around 670 miles all told. Watch out for road works as sat nav will try and send you the wrong way! Also, one way roads have changed priorities in many places so make sure you do an update before you depart! Watch out also for cyclists in town centres as they are suicidal and have right of way! So be warned!
Lots of driving over a couple of days but it made a nice change. Link to the route is here, but it is easy to plan http://www.rac.co.uk/route-planner/l/ltk3
Check out the variety of place name spellings too. These vary from country to country and can cause problems!