Belgium : Ypres > Antwerp

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We are now in intensive arable country and the “avoid motorways” GPS thing doesn’t take into account large farm machinery coming the opposite way on very narrow roads. Arrive in Ypres to find the stop full so keep driving until see some other MOHO’s parked up in a sportsground carpark.

Lonely Planet says the daily “Last Post” being played at the Menin Gate memorial for the missing from 1914 -1918 is a must see. The Tilson Giesen curse has released its grip as this must be some sort of memorial day as the crowd is huge with band playing, Buglers and an army brigade with pipers.

An incredibly moving experience and obviously has as much meaning here still as ANZAC at home.

As part of this memorial there is a 100km sponsored walk around the different gravesites and battlefields so was incredibly busy and our campsite was closed for parking. An early morning start was in order.

Our original plan  with no plan was to keep traveling up into The Netherlands, to Keukenhof, between Amsterdam and Leiden to visit the gardens and take in the last of the Tulip Festival. Further investigation ( Uncle Google) revealed this closes on Sunday, we are basically 2 countries away. Yeh nah, change of plan. Well find some more flowers somewhere else.

So a bit of a tour of Belgium in order as we make our way towards Germany for the end of next week.

As we are quite near the coast in Ypres head out to the “seaside” at Middlekerke. Not our scene at all basically apartments lining the beach with every sort of gimmicky sideshow attraction thrown in for good measure. NZ, we have no idea how lucky we are with our beach’s.DSC08190DSC08191DSC08192DSC08195

Hitting the road again we  head inland again passing through Brugge, Lonely planet did have a warning that this is sort of the Venice of the North with its central canal system and can be quite busy with tourists at the weekends, “ NO SHIP SHERLOCK”, that was a massive understatement, cool place but out of here hombre!!.

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Decide to hit the road again and head to Antwerp about 100k’s way.

A bit nervous about this one as it is Belgium’s 2nd biggest city and me and motorways don’t do well, however managed to find our campground about 4kms from city centre. Susie very good at navigating and making sure I see the ladies wandering across pedestrian crossings and that I am in the right lane for merging, “ indicate check mirror and move”, ( she didn’t see the red light either though).

Seachforsites.co.uk  Camperpark Vogelzang,  GPS: n51,18957, e4,40064.  10euro/24hrs, power 1euro/1kw, water. Toilet Dump, NO wc, Heaps of sites under trees on grass and hard surface, About 5 minutes walk to tram 3 euro to Central Station.

A sleepy Sunday morning (wet and miserable), decided a quiet day in order and to stay here another night. Late morning a stroll to the tram stop and tramed into “ Central Station” now this is advertised on all the timetables as a stop about 13mins ride away. So all good pleasant ride through suburbs and then into underground as expected, stations roll past and then we emerge into daylight again and very obvious suburbs again, definitely the seedier side of town. Somewhere we have “missed” Central Station. Jump trams to other side of road and a free return journey. Moral of this learning experience is that  just because the stop is called Central Station on all written and verbal directions, doesn’t mean anything, Central Station which is the main Train station is actually close to the ASTRID Tram Stop.

We spent some time trying to find WIFI needing to update etc, Starbucks is always a good option, however our laptop protection doesn’t like open connections. Going to need to suss this out a bit more as these freecamping sites don’t come with WIFI.

The highlights according to Lonely Planet are Central Station and Grote Markt. That is a huge understatement of this City, a real unexpected bonus, Will let the photos tell this story.

Now Susie is trying to get me to believe that she was unaware that Antwerp is the diamond capitol. Not at all sure about this, however I can say that her worn out wedding ring has been replaced.

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All that Antwerp is famous for, diamonds, chocolate and beer, we sampled them all.

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Unfortunately, the dull miserable day hasn’t been good for the solar panel’s (big brown package) and we get back to the campground to find a pretty low leisure battery. A quick move of site to a power box and we find that someone has left without using all their paid for power, Thank You very much fellow MOHO.

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Central Station

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Grodt Markt

Another night spent here, albeit a bit noisy as this site backs onto the main motorway that circles Antwerp, and the constant road noise is something in itself. Morning sees the normal routine of MOHO cleanup, fill watertank, dump grey water etc before hitting the road.

Two very different shopping styles.

Thanks Antwerp, well worth the visit.

 

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