2018/11/10 – Brugge – Belgium

Saturday 10th November & Sunday 11th November 2018

Rainy this morning so hope it clears by Sunday.

Only 7 days left before the Chunnel Crossing – so so sad 😢😥.

We passed through many towns where it was the same, people everywhere so headed to the countryside on our way to Brugge, Belgium.

It was a year ago when we came through here and spent many days looking at all the World War 1 memorial sites and monuments in this part of the world.

Our campsite for two nights:  Smart-ijs, Wingene –

GPS N51.073769.   E3.265150

What a gem this place is – set in the country, there are only 6 places here with green pastures, braying donkeys next door and a restaurant and ice cafe on site. 

Pretty as a picture setting and so quiet compared to where we have just been.  

For €8 you get water, electricity and hi speed wifi.

The guys who run this place are super friendly, speak excellent English and deserve to do well.

The rain stopped us from doing little else apart from reading and enjoying the tranquil and picturesque setting.

Monday 12th November 2018

Our campsite for tonight:  Parking Kanaaleiland, Brugge –

GPS N51.195671. E3.226380

Brugee is the capital and largest city of West Flanders in Belgium and has a population of around 118,000 and is sometimesreferred to as the ”Veniceof the North” because of the canal networks.

Waiting for a water taxi

You do not need a tourist guide or tour map in Brugge –just simply walk around the streets and take in the many fantastic sights.

Sights not to miss include the 83 metre high Belfry andMarket Square, the 14th century City Hall, the Groeninge Museum, Saint John’s Hospital, to name just a few.

Taxi Sir?

All the sights were within a short walk from our over night campsite which has around 55 camping places and is 19 Euros off season or 25 Euros in season.

The city has many Belgian chocolate and waffle shops.

I have never seen all those colours in the one tree near where we live

Tuesday 13th November 2018

Our campsite for tonight:  Torhout – GPS N51.077648.   E3.061490

Belgium was invaded by the Germanarmy in May 1940 and on 25 May 1940 Torhout was bombarded by the Luftwaffe, with fire bombs resulting in the destruction of the church as well as some nearby houses.

The Castle of Wijnendale – our campsite for the night

The City Hall was unharmed even though it was only located some 50 meters from the church.

On that same day the King of Belgium was just a mile or two away in the Castle of Wijnendale together with the Prime Minister and three other ministers.

It was there that the king would sign the capitulation of Belgium.

Torhout was bombed again on 26 May, 27 May and 13 August, which damaged the hospital and some schools.

Torhout was occupied for 4 years before Canadian troops liberated the city on 6 and 7 September 1944.

It was also during the occupation that the City Hall was classified as a monument on 29 November 1943.

We camped overnight in the parking area for the Castle of Wijnendale – free of charge – only facilities were rubbish bins – had a quiet night.

There are still a few items of interest left over from World War 1 near the Castle.


Wednesday 14th November

Our campsite for tonight:  Aire de camping car, Ekelsbeke –

GPS N50.883911.   E2.431360

Ekelsbeke was a free camp spot with 7 places only 250 metres from the centre of the village.

The facilities included free grey and black water disposal and a rest room.

Water and electricity were available for 3 Euros each.

They were gearing up for a festival and the local people were very friendly and helpful.

Ziggy Sold

Mike Steers from Stafford had sourced Ziggy for us in late 2016 and helped to equip her with all the items we needed for our tour and had started to advertise her for sale a little while ago.

There had been a couple of people interested in the sale including an American couple who just about drove us crazy with an endless list of frivolous questions which went on week after week.

We had finally had enough and basically gave them a “put up or shut up” ultimatum and thankfully they dropped off the prospect list.

During late October/early November a British expat living in Spain had begun showing considerable interest in Ziggy.

His only concerns were based around all the challenges of importing Ziggy in to Spain.

Once he had all that sorted out he wanted to proceed with the purchase.

He gave us the go ahead in early November and transferred the purchase amount in full in to our bank account on the 14th November.

He had agreed to our “turnkey” approach” which meant that he was not only buying Ziggy but all the chattels as well including electric bikes, Garmin Sat Nav, crockery, cutlery, linen etc etc.

It was a good deal for us as foreigners in that we could just walk away but a good deal for him as well as it meant he could just walk on board and absolutely everything was there ready to go.

However it left us in a rather awkward situation – we had sold Ziggy, had been paid in full but we were still in France and had to get Ziggy across the English Channel and back up to Stafford for the hand over – every time I drove through an intersection I felt as though every car was going to run in to us – fortunately we got Ziggy back up to Stafford without any mishaps.

Thursday 15th November

Our campsite for tonight:  Aire de camping car, Watten –

GPS N50.831390.   E2.208790

Watten is a free camp spot catering for about 12 motorhomes and is one of the closest Aires to the Calais ferry or Chunnel.

The site is only a short walk to the shops and restaurants.

The facilities included free grey and black water disposal and water and electricity were available at 4 Euros each.


Friday 16th November 2018

Our campsite for tonight:  Toby Carvery Stonebridge, Coventry –

GPS N52.446190.   W1.688470

Had another uneventful crossing from France to England via the Chunnel.

The new departure terminal has now been completed and there are restaurants and duty free shops in the departure waiting area.

Felt a little uneasy walking around the departure area with French police patrolling through the shops with their fingers inside the trigger guards on their machine guns.

Sailed through both the British and French immigration checks – the French check being the Schengen departure point and we had been in the Schengen zone for around 12 months and we were supposed to exit after 3 months.

Had to familiarise myself again with driving on the left hand side of the road in a large LHD vehicle, but it didn’t take long.

Endured a long and boring drive from Dover to Stonebridge near the NEC.

Camped in the Carvery carpark – no charge – fully floodlit – had a great meal and a pint in the carvery – very nice – but had to get used to the British high prices again.

Saturday 17th – Wednesday 21st November – Michaels Steer’s house – Stafford

Arrived at Michael Steers house in Stafford and began discussing all the arrangements regarding preparing Ziggy for her new owner.

Michael had arranged for a full engine service and MOT on Monday 19th November and a habitation check on Tuesday 20th November.

The engine service and MOT went through very smoothly and when the habitation check was done we had a new rear skylight hatch installed.

Our purchaser Steve arrived and we went through Ziggy showing him all the workings of the Hymer.

Steve moved Ziggy to a nearby camping site that Mike had arranged and we picked up a rental car.

We had a last dinner with Mike and Anne at a nearby English pub, sampled a couple of local ales and had our last sleep at Mike and Anne’s house.

Wednesday morning we said our final goodbyes to Mike and Anne and headed off in the direction of Gatwick in the rental car.

Mike and Anne had been absolutely fantastic hosts and we couldn’t thank them enough.

If anyone is contemplating purchasing and or selling a motorhome in the UK then you could not do any better than have Mike Steers at UKMotorhomefinder assist you.

Wednesday 21st November 2018 – B&B Gatwick

Had a boring but uneventful drive from Stafford to Gatwick where we had arranged a B&B until our departure on Sunday 25th November arriving Brisbane at 06:40 on Tuesday 27th November.

We flew Emirates as we couldn’t get a seat on Qantas – must say we were disappointed with Emirates – the flight and staff were nowhere near as good as on the outbound Qantas flight.