After a frantic but fun two weeks in the UK where we managed to cram in seeing family, visiting schools, catching up with friends, attending Kaney and Amanda's wedding (which was utterly awesome), buying a car and a tent, and collecting camping gear we were ready to set off for our last hurrah: a 3 month road trip around Europe. Phew!.
Our rough plan is to head East to visit the Europe we don't know so well. Perhaps, as far as Romania or down to Albania but hopefully covering some new ground.
First stop Belgium, land of beers and chocolate: what's not to like! We rocked up, later than expected as per usual, to a campsite on the outskirts of Bruges. Ill prepared as ever, we had no gas for either of the stoves with us and no charcoal for the BBQ and so instead of enjoying the delights of camp cooking, our first cam dinner was sampling the delights of Belgium's equivalent to McDonald's. Thankfully, it was much better than its US brother and we even had a beer to accompany the burgers.
Bruges was a short cycle away from camp and we spent the next day touring the city along with hordes of others. We've hardly seen a busier place for tour groups, perhaps Antigua in Guatemala came close, but Bruges takes the title so far. Despite the hordes, it was still full of charm with its cobbled streets, canals, and towering steeples. It's the perfect size to wander around or take a leisurely cycle with hardly any traffic to worry about. It was the ideal town to try out the new bikes and child seats. Only a minor mishap (bike unrelated) led to us visiting the local hospital, when our youngest (who is a bit of a daredevil) decided jumping from a 6 foot high climbing frame was a good idea. On day two of s three month camping trip! And just in case he didn't damage himself the first time he tried it again. Second time unlucky as his foot swelled up and he couldn't walk on it.
Again, this is day two of 90days of outdoor action, we've come with a so much sporting apparatus we could start a summer school. And it looks like Otto has broken his foot. Aarrgghhhh!
But phew, thankfully, once we got the car started (flat battery from charging too many electrical devices) and made it to the hospital, they confirmed two things, firstly no bones broken and secondly, that Peter O’Toole can still fool both of us with his acting prowess. 18hours of hopping and crawling screaming with pain and as soon as we were back from the hospital he was playing football!
After Bruges next stop was Brussels, well Grimpenberg (a small town renowned for great beer just outside of the capital). The campsite had the perfect gradient for Jess & Otto to practice the pedal bike without meaning we were rolling off the airbeds. Brussels is another good looking city; it has the multicultural feel of a cosmopolitan capital whilst remaining small enough to feel at home. A winning combination in our books.
We were here primarily to catch up with friends we'd met on a beach in Mexico. A hopefully lasting friendship had been forged on Isla Holbox over a shared sense of travel and adventure and a shared love of Mojitos, when myself and Soto realised it was our joint birthday.
It was a killer hill to ride up to reach their place from the main station, news alert Belgium is not flat! But the climb was worth it, we had a great day: brunch turned into afternoon in the park and an evening of setting the world to rights as were shown amazing hospitality by our talented friends Amaury (listen to his music here) and Soti along with members of their family, thank you for entertaining us and we hope to return the favour, maybe in the UK next time!
We followed this by another not flat cycle, the following day, this time to Belgium's best water park, Oceana, which was ace. The Belgians seem to have a laissez-faire attitude which basically allows parents to take responsibility for their own children, which meant Jess & Otto went on all but one of the slides despite them being below the height restriction guidelines for all. They especially loved the cannon, which is short, fast, steep, and in darkness, plus it shoots you out about 2 metres above the water so you get some serious airtime before being plunged into the drop pool! The last water park we'd been to in Kerala, India, the kids had been barred from all but the kids pool so it was ace to see them enjoying the thrills and spills (one bruised head) of the slides.
Next stop, Germany and the Black Forest.
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Kelly and Mikey (but mostly Kelly). We sold up in the UK to travel with our two littluns for a year or so. If you want to know more click the about us!