Day 18 - Wednesday 27th November
Today we headed for the coast to have a look at Zeebrugge & Ostend. Luckily, probably, for us I emptied the grey water tank on the motorhome before leaving. The fresh water tank was down to 10% but that was enough to se us home so I didn’t add any. This proved to be a blessing because as we entered the dock area in Zeebrugge a motorcycle cop waved us to follow him into a large yard. Oh dear, what had we done? All sorts of possible traffic violations went through my mind. I didn’t think I had been speeding & I wasn’t worried about taking a breath test.
He stopped us in the yard by a police control cabin & asked for the vehicle documents & my driving licence. He commented that the registration document was for a maximum vehicle weight of 3,500kgs & did I know what ours was. On our previous motorhome I had taken it to the local weighbridge & had a weight certificate to certify it was under the 3,500kgs but I never got round to doing it on this one. Oh dear, what if we were over the limit, what then?
Anyway he made me drive round to a weighbridge in the yard & we had to sit in while he went off to get the weight. I knew we were lighter than usual because we weren’t carrying any waste water & only a small amount of fresh so that should help. But just before we left I had fitted a spare wheel carrier under the rear of the motorhome complete with a full size spare wheel & tyre which is pretty heavy. Modern motorhomes very often come without a spare wheel & just a tyre repair kit in case of puncture, just to keep the weight down. Had I slipped up?
Big sighs of relief when he came back & showed me the reading on his mobile phone. We were well within the limit at 3,240kgs, I could have put another 260kgs in without going over the limit. He led us back out to the main road & waved as he drove off. We had to wait a couple of minutes for a break in the traffic to get out across the road to go on our way. We got out eventually when the same motorcyclist cop came back leading another motorhome. He stopped all the traffic to let us finally get out onto the road & off on our way while he presumably went through the same check with his new victim.
After that it seemed a bit dull we didn’t stop to see anything of Zeebrugge & Ostend wasn’t very interesting. We did see the sea along the way in a couple of places but mostly there were big sand dunes blocking our way & the weather was a bit miserable so we didn’t get out of the motorhome at all. We ended up turning back inland & heading back down to Ypres to stay on the same car park where we stayed on the first night.
Ypres city centre has changed a bit since we were here for the Armistice Day parade. They have set up yet another Xmas market in the city square. I’m not sure why we bothered to go to the one in Aarchen this was the fourth one we’ve seen now. They had an ice skating rink going full blast although the wet weather seems to be keeping the people numbers down.
We went back to the motorhome at 5pm for tea before heading back to the Menin Gate for the 8pm Last Post ceremony. There weren’t so many people here as there was last time we came here. A couple of coach loads of school children on the side opposite us plus several groups of adults all sounding English. Three Fire Brigade buglers marched into position just before 8pm & sounded the Last Post as has been done almost every night since 1929. A minutes silence then followed before several wreaths were placed on the steps before one of the school children read a verse from the poem “For The Fallen” ending “We will remember them!” The crowd repeated these last words before the buglers ended the ceremony by playing Reveille. All very respectful & quite moving.
Fortunately the rain held off as we walked back to the motorhome for our last night in Belgium.
Mileage today - 66
Total mileage - 1,095