Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Dover to Brugge - Day Nineteen to Twenty-five

We were welcomed to Calais by smoke and motorways as our P and O ferry, filled with snap-happy passengers, arrived into dock. After cutting our way through a number of fences, several hurried road crossings and the traverse of a bank of dunes, which held both incredible girth and a number of squatters, we were spewed out onto an expansive beach. This coastal environment of beaches and dunes would dominate the next few days of walking. As we trudged along the sand we were constantly reminded of the coastlines wartime involvement; sunken bunkers, battered by the elements, lay strewn across the beaches. 

After two days on the French coast, we crossed the inconspicuous Belgian border. Belgium appears to pride itself on it's ability to be pristine and well organised. Jake and I like this, but are looking forward to a little more character.

On our 22nd day we hiked 40 kms on dunes and concrete, with 18 kgs for company. This was too long; an inspection of my legs later that night revealed that I had lost yet more hair from my thigh. Furthermore, my feet felt like they had been canned by a small Malaysian boy with a strong arm (Malaysian has no relevance to anything, it was merely the first nationality that sprung to mind).

From Ostend/Oostende, we bid farewell to the saline water, which we will not see again until the Mediterranean comes into view. We joined the Oostende-Gent Kannal - wider and cleaner, but lacking the character of its English counterpart - and arrived in the 'fairytale town' of Brugge, 27 kms later. Unfortunately we had timed our visit with the town's most popular annual event, thus resulting in us being forced to check into the worst hostel/establishment in town, Charlie Rockets Hostel. we quickly dropped our bags and reunited foot and boot to pavement as the sun crept down. The buildings are beautiful and there is bird life to match; we saw a heron catch a fish as a goose chick grazed the grass nearby. As night fell, we sat in a candle-lit restaurant drinking Zot, a local beer. Before putting our eyes to bed we would have one last stroll of the streets. The dimly lit buildings and bridges reflected on the waterways, whilst scores of swans bobbed on the black water, necks on backs. Beautiful Brugge, but we miss our tent.

On our way to France.     

Our first Grande Randonee sign

 In the dune slacks

 Strung up.

Belgium in our sights.

Brugges by night.

1 comment:

  1. Ah glad you are both well and I love the writing.

    Mum xx