After we visited Amsterdam, Jackie and Jim headed south to Britany, so we bade them farewell before we sauntered south to Oosterhout in Belgium, where we had booked a one-night stay in a lovely local farm with an attached farm shop. The day turned out to be sunny and warm, so we walked the half hour into town, where we found a pleasant cafe from where we sat and enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine before returning to the campsite for dinner, which we had bought from the farm shop earlier!
Our next stop was a pleasant site on the outskirts of Bruges, with easily accessible bus routes into town. The campsite was a tad busy for our liking, with many motor homes crammed into narrow slots; however, we were lucky enough to have been allocated a corner slot with no one to our left! We had booked in for two nights, so having set up camp, we walked to the bus stop and headed into town at around 16:00 for our first taste of Bruges. We wandered the streets for about an hour, taking in the sites and eventually found ourselves in 't Zand where the square was awash with Sunday market stalls and traders packing up for the day. We then found a small cafe bar, where we sat outside and looked over the menu while anticipating the arrival of the busy waitress. She passed by several times and eventually acknowledged us when we called her; however, she continued to serve other customers while ignoring us studiously. Nadia suggested we leave, but I felt we should persevere, hoping to get served. However, when the waitress attended to our neighbour, ordering another drink before serving us, I decided it was time to leave, so we did.
We enjoyed a further walk around the narrow cobbled streets and came across a lovely restaurant called Poules Moules. We were invited in and were offered a table on the pavement, which we gladly accepted. I chose the Moules with a tomato and basil sauce, while Nadia went with the Flemish Beef Stew, and we were both delighted with our choices! Afterwards, we walked some more, returned to the bus stop, and headed 'home' to the campsite.
The following morning, we asked if we could extend our stay for another night, as we felt that Bruges required a tad more of our time! Our request was granted, and we were even allowed to remain on our pitch, which suited us. After lunch, we boarded the bus and returned to Bruges to explore the lovely old city, and we came across a cracking old boozer, t' Brugs Beertje, which advertised over 300 Belgian beers! Furthermore, every beer came with its own specific glass! After sampling a couple of beers, we set off to find the next 'gem'; we found a bar called Bieratelier, which served a tasting flight consisting of 12 different beers, and we struck up a conversation with a lovely young couple adjacent to us from Argentina who were staying in Gent! We were so engrossed in our conversation that we almost missed our bus back and had to make a sharp exit. So quickly did we leave that we realised that we hadn't paid, oops! However, on the bus ride, we called the bar and said we would return in the morning and settle up.
’t Brugs Beertje
On our final day in Bruges, we found ourselves back in t' Zand and, this time, found a cafe with a very attentive waiter who served us as soon as we were seated. Afterwards, we found ourselves walking past t'Brugs Beertje again, so we ducked in to sample another of the 300 + beers on sale! I asked the waiter if he had tried them all, and he said he had tasted most; however, several were 60-odd euros, and he hadn't tried them! Our last 'find' was 2be Bar on Wallestraat, which had a fabulous 'wall of beer' as one walks into the bar with goodness knows how many different beers on show and 16 different beers on tap at the bar! It turned out that I picked a lousy week to give up drinking beer!!
Bakkersrei Canal from Bonifacious Bridge
We chose our next stop as a counterpoint to the two cities we had just visited, so we picked a lovely, quiet riverside campsite in the small town of Aywaille just south of Mastterecht and Liege. We opted to stay three nights to recharge our batteries and relax in the fabulous woodland setting. The town was small, but we enjoyed the walk around, and the campsite at Domaine Chateau de Dieupart had a pleasant taverna where one could enjoy some local beers and snacks. Another attraction was the fire pits, which enabled us to sit out at night alongside Iona and enjoy the sound of the river and the bats in the trees above us!
Next stop: Luxembourg....
Follow our route here: