Wednesday 31st August
Lucy has turned over a new leaf, can’t see it lasting though. We were up, dressed, breakfasted, washed up and on the road by 8.30am!
We stayed overnight in the aire in Canterbury, it’s £3 per day or just £1 if you arrive after 4pm but at midnight you get another day to pay for, still £6 for a secure nights sleep isn’t bad.
We hit Tescos early so that we could stock up with all the things that we won’t be able to get abroad, pasta, garlic, olive oil, you know the stuff I’m talking about and then made our way to the port and sat around for 2 hours before boarding.
This is the first time we’ve crossed on the DFDS ferry and we were very impressed with it, the naval architect has put in curves, windows, balconies and made a really good effort to make you feel at home. We had lunch and after a couple of hours arrived in Dunkirk. No signs of trouble, no signs of anyone really including border control and security.
Our journey to Ghent was nearly uneventful. Lucy slept through France, Frankie loved the motorway and was fairly buzzing along without a care in the world, we whizzed through the Belgium border and gradually the traffic just seemed to grow and grow. Lorries driving along nose to tail in long convoys and the obligatory motorist hanging off the back bumper. There is a lot of traffic in Belgium, they have a population density similar to our own and they all know where they are going. Stella has developed a little stutter every now and again (normally just when you need her to work properly) so we may have got lost once or twice. A couple of times I have had to use Frankies bulk to push my way across lanes to get to where we need to be – it has been a little hair raising at times to be honest.
We did find our aire on the outskirts of Ghent but it had closed since our “All the Aires” book was published. It did take a while to work out that we were in exactly the right place and after having a good walk around dodging the silent cyclists and silent trams (both of which seem to come at you from all directions at once) we decided that the DO NOT PARK HERE signs in four languages really did mean what they said and found another place to stay.
Here we are in an aire at Bellen. Either side of the river are country lanes and you are allowed to park by the river side. There are 5 of us here, the others have chairs and tables out so if it’s good enough for them…
We have totally lost count of how many cyclists have come past us, they seem to be doing a long loop, crossing over downstream and then coming back. Lucy is ogling the guys in lycra and has asked if we can stay here for a week.
One of the barges passing by. The barge flowing this was twice as big and had two cars on the back. As the sun sets the cycle traffic has stopped and we are now surrounded by silence.
The current plan now is to give Ghent a miss, if they ever get their aire back we will give them another chance. We have parking in Dusseldorf from 5pm Friday so one overnight stop somewhere, maybe get some LPG at 39.9c per litre (35p) on the motorway, find some Belgian beer because they might not have beer in Germany 🙂
For some reason yesterdays blog didn’t get shown on Facebook, not sure why other than it was sent from my tablet in a house of ill repute, this time it is from my laptop by a person of ill repute.