Thursday, 27 March 2014

In Belgium

So here we are in Belgium.

We left Guardamar last Thursday morning and drove to Jaca, in the Pyrenees, where we spent the night in the very pleasant Eurostars Reina Felicia hotel. It would have been even more pleasant if a couple of brats had not been allowed to use one of the corridors as a practise area for the 100 metre sprint and their parents had not then punished one of them by locking him out of their room, prompting him to scream his head off for a good ten minutes.

Still, the room was excellent, very clean, very well equipped, and the hotel was in a quiet location, just outside the town of Jaca. Of course, it would have been much quieter without the aforementioned couple of brats, who also made their presence known in the breakfast-room. A very good breakfast buffet, incidentally.

After Jaca we drove through the Somport tunnel into France. An impressive tunnel of some nine kilometres in length. Then onto Pau, the worst part of the journey, not because of the scenery, which is often spectacular, but because of the drive around the intervening town of Oloron-Sainte-Marie, which is very slow. By the evening of the second day we had arrived in Tours. Nothing at all special about the relatively cheap French hotel there, except that it was more expensive than the hotel in Jaca and offered considerably less quality and comfort.

We had intended to visit Brittany on our journey from Spain to Belgium, but the French weather reports were so bad for that part of the country that we simply drove straight through to Belgium. Well, that's not entirely true, as we did make a slight detour in order to visit the village of Bergues in French Flanders. Bergues was the main location for the hilarious French film, Bienvenue Cez Les Ch'tis, an we wanted to see the real thing. We thought it would be a good idea to get a packet of chips and a frikadel from the baraque à frites on the Grote Markt, but sadly we learned that the mobile chip-shop was put there only for the film. Still, we had a cup of coffee in the café that was the scene of the bicycle crash (Café de la Porte in the film, but Café de la Poste in reality) and also visited the belfry, which played such an important part in the film, so all was not lost!

The Grote Markt (Grand Place) without the baraque à frites, but with the impressive belfry.

In the tourist information office (in the belfry) one of the post-bikes from the film.

The location of the bicycle crash, the Café de la Porte/Poste

From Bergues it was just a relatively short drive to Heusden, near. Gent, where we arrived at about seven-thirty on Saturday evening.

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