Ha Ha – HappiHall blog posts are like buses, nothing for ages and then loads all at once! An age thing maybe, enthusiasm then lazy, more lazy then rejuvenated enthusiasm. We’re now in an enthusiastic phase, so expect a few catch-up posts!
Belgium has always been a bit of an anathema to us. We’ve passed through it a few times, we’ve met up with and had a lovely time with a couple of friends at their home in Antwerp, and we’ve sat and watched football in a bar and been scowled at all evening by the locals, so to date our experiences have been mixed. We decided it was time to see a little more of what this country had to offer. And well, what an eye opener it was for us.
We started our tour in the UNESCO world Heritage city of Bruges. What a beautiful place this was, full of medieval charm, cobbled streets, canals and masses of beautiful buildings. We’d booked ourselves onto a “Free” walking tour, which, in two hours gave a us a view of all the historic sites in the city. We love these “Free” walking tours; while they’re free to join, you decide what you want to tip at the end of the tour – which motivates the guides to give you a great experience. We’ve not had a bad one yet.
(Click on pictures to see in larger size)
We then headed across to Ghent, a journey of only 50km or so. Part of our reason for visiting Ghent was to see a couple of UK festival acts that we’ve seen a few times, “Doozer McDooze”, and “Funke and the Two-Tone Bandit”. What a great night we spent at the Missy Sippy Blues and Jazz Club, and our first proper night out sampling – quite a few – of the Belgian Beers. The Belgian’s consider themselves the best brewers of beer in the world. As a Brit, and with so many fantastic UK breweries, Phil’s always struggled with the Belgian claim however when we finally left Belguim he did at least have an understanding of their claim.
We’ve now visited many European cities, but we think we’ve found our new favourite. The medieval town of Ghent, was fantastic, we absolutely loved it. It was small, compact, quaint, beautiful buildings, fully pedestrianised, lots of waterways, perfectly laid out, everything just felt perfect for the visitor, including the Ghent noses. This is certainly a city we’ll come back to.
As we moved North through Belgium, and with a hot Easter forecast, we found ourselves a perfect campsite nestled inside a pine forest. We loved the weather, the place, the walking and the people here so much we stayed a week. That’s one of the fantastic things about travelling as we do with only outline plans – when we find somewhere special, we just stay a few extra days. We made friends with a couple of Belgians, Chris and Fabienne, who helped make our stay so much fun, and introduced us to the locally grown white Asparagus, fried chicory with ham, and lots more Belgian Beer. Phil gave Chris his last can of “Addenhams Ghostship” (a British Beer), and was horrified as Chris pulled a face on his first taste, and almost spat it out. Guess beers from other Nationalities are an acquired taste!
That was it for Belgium for this trip at least. No longer will it be just a transit route for us, there’s so much more to explore here, so we’ll definitely be back to see what the rest of this country offers.