First of all the ferry: The Dunkerque Seaways Ferry from Dover to Dunkerque (Dunkirk) in France 122 k by ferry, just over two hours for the trip (pretty fast compared to the NZ InterIslander).
Thankfully it is a pretty calm day so I shouldn’t get sea sick. As we are leaving early we are having breakfast on the ferry not at the hotel. Last chance for an English Breakfast.
The weather was looking cold and was misty and drizzling, but thankfully had cleared up by the time we got to France. It took a while to get off the boat and it was about 11 am by the time we managed to get on the road. Luckily it’s only 84 km today and pretty flat. There is a really strong wind but very lucky the wind direction is westerly and we are heading east!
The traffic was quite busy going through the town and on the outskirts. About 12 k we stopped at World War 2 memorial.
At 33 km out of France and into Belgium. At the Belgium sign I had a photo with Judy and Tim, the other two from NZ. Judy and Tim did the Odyssey last year as well. They were going to do the North American ride but are re-considering because of the amount of camping.
The towns and villages were pretty quiet as supermarkets and shops are closed on Sundays. We made good time, mostly on bike paths and got to hotel about 430. We are staying on a square in Bruges in the Park Hotel.
We couldn’t get the water for the shower to get any warmer than just under lukewarm, possibly too many showers at once for an old system, plus there was no jug to make a cup tea. I remember now it is not common to have a jug in most of Europe. I had got quite used to a cup of tea when getting to the room, and first thing in the morning.
The population in Belgium is 11.35 million with a land mass of 30,528 km2 compared to NZ with a population of 4.5 million and a land mass of 268,021 km2.
We had a lovely meal at local restaurant called Poules and Moules. We had a starter of fresh crunchy bread and a very nice salad, followed by a beef stew that had been slow cooked for 9 hours, along with more salad and a side of fries (frites). An unusual combination but delicious, with house lager to wash it down.
TdA dinner at the Poules Moules
This was then followed by home made vanilla ice cream, with chocolate sauce or chocolate mousse. I was full. A couple of riders who have been topping up the dinners with room service commented they wouldn’t need to be doing this tonight.
We then went for a walk round, looking at the amazing old buildings, churches and chocolate shops, including a really small one.
I have been noticing a number of houses with flags hanging out of their windows and pubs with lots of flags. Not being into football the penny has only just dropped – The World Cup is on. Belgium is playing against Panama tomorrow. The Chocolate shops all have chocolate soccer balls – one has a life size chocolate one you can buy for €34.
When we got back to the hotel a lot of work was going on setting up for the crowds watching the rugby tomorrow. Via TV of course, as the actual games are in Russia.
Bruges is where the 2008 black comedy crime film In Bruges was set. Two Irish Hit men decide to hide in Bruges until things settle down. It is very dark!
Streets of Bruges (Photo from Michele’s Facebook)
Beautiful town square in Bruges
Town square in Bruges
Medieval streets in Bruges