We’re off again. This time to pop across to the Continent to see a bit more of Belgium. We’ve passed through a few times on our way through to more distant countries but not really stopped much. It was also a chance to use the channel tunnel crossing instead of the usual ferry across from Dover. I was lucky enough to see an offer on the motorhome page on Facebook to share a multi trip offer from Eurotunnel. We’ve always used the Dover - Dunkirk ferry where possible before, mainly because there was free overnight parking at their terminal which meant we could take the cheaper late evening crossing, park up for the night & then get an early start on our way in the morning.
With the tunnel their basic off-peak crossing time’s to Calais start at 4pm which gives us more choice for evening crossings. Also on the return trip their morning off-peak times also suit us better. So the Belgium trip was a nice way of checking it all out to see if works. With the motorhome it works out at £58 each way which is probably just a bit cheaper than on the ferry but it is looks to be a lot more convenient. Changing times for the outward & return legs is so much easier & free, if done within twenty four hours of travelling.
Heading to Ypres
A couple of weeks ago I booked our tickets, leaving on Monday the 11th & returning on Friday 29th. Apart from wanting to see more of Belgium the trip centred around Viv wanting to visit a Christmas market. Most of the markets in Belgium don’t start till late November but I found the Aachen market in Germany that starts on November 22nd. Aachen is only just across the border of Belgium & Holland so that became our pivot point on the trip.
So the plan now is to explore Belgium along the South border with France, pop into Luxembourg for cheap diesel, & then head up to Aachen for the start of the market. We then have 5/6 days to head back to Calais via Brussels, Ghent & Bruges. That’s the plan anyway but as we know the best laid plans oft go awry.
The first change came a week after I booked the tunnel tickets when I realised that November 11th is Armistice day & that there were going to be special commemorative events in Ypres that day. Ypres played a particularly important part in WW1 & they still have a ceremony every night at 8pm at the Menin Gate to commemorate the many thousands of dead British & Commonwealth soldiers who passed through the gates on their way to the Front Line. It gave me a chance to test the flexibility of the tunnel tickets & I was able to rebook to leave on Sunday the 10th.
No problem at all so we decided to leave straight after lunch, drive down & take the 6.36pm crossing to Calais. From there it was only about 60 miles to Ypres, arriving about 9.30pm. I have to say that the terminal at Folkestone was a bit confusing but all went well & we drove the motorhome into a tall carriage along with other tall vans & motorhomes. Then we just sat tight for thirty or forty minutes before driving off again in Calais, even managed to remember to drive on the right as we left the terminal.
Our night stop in Ypres was a free stop on a car park beside a Sports Hall just across the moat that runs under the high city walls. There were about fifteen motorhomes already there so we felt nice & safe although we still heard voices outside at midnight & even 3am in the morning.
Mileage today - 235
Total mileage - 235