11 weeks 6 days and 8706 miles on the road

On Wednesday we drove on through Holland and then into Belgium so we could visit Bruges. 

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It struck me that I no longer hold Holland and Belgium as quite as dull as previously; they may be flat but there is lots going on like fields and cows and sheep and houses and factories…. I never thought I would learn to appreciate factories, but then there is the north of Sweden…… AAAARGH never again.  If ever I go to all the lovely places there are in Sweden again I WILL FLY THERE.

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We camped for our last three nights about 6 miles outside the centre of Bruges at a huge great campsite that has all sorts of facilities, two restaurants and a mini water park for small children. 

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The crying clown is enough to give the poor cherubs nightmares.

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We strolled into the small local town with a nice church, a few shops and FOUR hairdressers.  Belgians really must care about their hair.  There were two supermarkets, an Aldi with several empty freezer compartments and a very upmarket one with huge choice.  No Tescos here then.

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We had a lovely evening drinking red wine and chatting to our neighbours, Jane and Kevin, who gave us a real case of camper van envy and a lot of food for thought about our future travel plans, after we finish our big trips over the next couple of years.

So on to the last day of our first journey.  Friday was a lovely sunny day and we took the bus into Bruges; if you haven’t been there yet, you are in for a treat when you get there.  It has a superbly preserved city centre, they keep most cars out in very cheap car parks within walking distance, they have great museums, many works of art, pretty cobbled streets, ridiculously picturesque canals, bars to sit and watch the world go by while drinking ice cold beer……..  

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We were given a useful lesson in checking what is meant by a large beer……  

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It occurred to us that, if you have to end a journey, Bruges in the sunshine leaves you feeling good.

All we have to do now is drive for an hour or so to catch the Chunnel and then back to sunny Bognor to see our family and friends (I am very excited about this!!!!).  We will be heading off again in two weeks, as we are planning to spend about 8 weeks in Spain.

Twelve weeks is a long time to spend travelling, but it has gone by in a flash and we have loved nearly every single minute.  We have never spent so long in each others’ company and we really enjoyed that as well.  There have been one or two grumpy moments, but that was generally down to problems with map-reading or driving related stress.  The equipment has help up well, although we will have to mend and replace a few things before we head off again; we left the griddle from the stove behind somewhere and now a knob has broken, the table is about to give up the ghost, our mattress seems to have a slight leak, we will change the tyres on Camel back to more ordinary ones to save fuel and she has an annoying leak of waterless coolant that needs sorting.  I also want to go through all of our kit and to whittle down as much stuff as possible; we never did use the pressure cooker and much of the cold weather stuff (like the tent stove) were, thank goodness, not required.

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