Saturday 15th September
We have made plans today to catch up with another young Kiwi over here Matt, who is working in a Showjumping stable in the south of The Netherlands, he was actually competing at a show during the morning which we had hoped to see but a late start meant it was basically lunch time before we reached the village of Meterik where Matt is based. Matt was able to give us a look around this amazing stable complex where he is working.
30 odd horses, mostly youngsters being bought on for sale, massive stable barn arena complex complete with lungeing yards and horse walker. The whole property is only about 5ha so the horses are pretty much housed 24/7.
It is certainly a very different setup to what we have in NZ, I think I still prefer to see our horses on green grass but then we havnt got 30 in work either.
Matt was very busy so we kept moving on, with a view to catching up with him again tomorrow in Belgium at the Young Horse Showjumping Championships.
Unassuming Border Crossings and Strange things in the middle of Roundabouts
So on the road again we made our way to the City of Maastrich that essentially straddles the border between the Netherlands and Belgium, we have decided to spend the night in a campground tonight as we need services and a laundry which this campground has.
Sunday 16th September.
A short drive brings us to the village of Lanaken and using Google maps we wind our way to the entry to “Domain Zangersheide”, however we are told wrong way and to head back the way we came and around the other side of town. Eventually finding he right way we are parked up and make our way into this rather impressive “showgrounds” not a bit of grass in sight, its all on surface, the main arena’s the practice arena’s (which are under cover as well). This is the final of a series that has been running through Europe and the age classes are for 5, 6 and 7 year olds. The Irish cleaned up in the 5 year old class with the top three all being Irish “sporthorses”. The 6 year class had a lot of clear first rounds but in the jump off a very difficult turn onto a double with only 4 clear rounds. The Belgiums took this one out so they were pretty happy.
This trade in young showjumpers here is huge and we spent a bit of time chatting to a guy who runs one of the biggest “foal auctions” in The Netherlands, 120 foals are selected “by breeding” for this sale (www.limburgseveulenveiling.nl) . The expected average price is around 8000 Euro and the selection of jumpers they have at the same auction (6 &7 year olds) is 120,000 – 200,000 Euro.
That’s enough showjumping for us, and the temptation to spend money here is too high, so time to hit the road again, 180 km across Belgium through mostly arable country and we are back into France for the night. Off the grid again tonight in a little carpark by a lake near the town of Trelon.
Monday 17th September
Paris we are on our way. After bypassing it twice now its time to head that way and spend a few days exploring that area. So the next 2 days will be mostly travel, as we are going to head to the Versailles area and park up there to continue our exploring by public transport. To avoid the known chaos of Paris Ring traffic we are going to take a bit of a roundabout way of getting there.
It is still very dry conditions here, desperate for rain, with maize silage harvest finished, along with beet harvest and maize grain now in full swing.
This route takes us back down through Reims and through more of the Champagne growing area, but harvest is pretty much done now so is starting to look very autumnal.
Ending up in the Town of Chateau Thierry for the night on the hunt for water and a bit of a grocery top up. Have paid an almighty 7.50 euro to stay in the Town Aire tonight fully serviced with showers, France makes motorhoming so easy, unfortunately you cant pick your neighbours in these situations and we have the “French Beverley Hillbillies” as ours tonight. way too much saggy gut showing and all she does is talk on the phone “loudly” also the dogs on a leash sign at all times is ignored at all times.
Not sure if we are getting lazy or quite what but our eating habits have changed, now back into the fresh baguette sandwich for lunch then pretty much crackers cheese, pate and humus for an evening meal.