It was always the plan to travel back via Belgium, mainly to avoid the toll roads in France and to be close to Calais (but not too close) for my early morning ferry to Dover.
Initially I hoped to visit Namur and venture along the Meuse river, unfortunately I could find no open campsites and the Aires I found prohibited overnight stays. So ended my first attempt to stay in Namur; frustrated and disappointed in equal measure, I returned France.
Several days later, I travelled to Gent (Ghent), armed with the co-ordinates for an Aire. On arrival, I discovered what seemed to be a lorry and car park, where no overnight camping was allowed. Somewhat frustrated, I decided to head for the Aire in Bruges, which I had stayed on the previous year. At €19 / night (€25 / night later in the year), it is a little on the steep side, albeit with un-metered electricity.
If you haven’t been to Bruges, I would recommend a visit, it is a fine example of a medieval city. The Markt square is the central point of Bruges and offers the tourist several options to taste the local cuisine. No visit to Bruges could ever be considered complete without going up the Belfry, I still smile as I recall Colin Farrell’s character’s concern for the American tourists in the film ‘In Bruges’, as they attempt the climb to the top of the Belfry. However, don’t let the climb put you off, on a clear day the views are magnificent.
The overriding memory from Bruges on this trip was the storm, with its driving rain and gusting wind. The storm was a feature for the next couple of days and the drive to Calais. It is quite a challenge to drive a 3 metre high motorhome in gusting wind, I had a similar experience the previous year, I don’t think there is nothing more disheartening than driving over the Pont de Normandie in gusting wind, only to realise the Grand Canal bridge has yet to be crossed.
I have been home a week now, during my journey I covered 1975 miles, saw many amazing sights, I have added to my collection of fridge magnets, one of each town / city I visited. I have been frustrated at the lack of camping options out of season (mainly my lack of preparation and my failing leisure battery), but as always, I cannot wait until my next trip wherever that may be.