Day 6 - Friday 15th November
A couple of lorries joined us for the night on the car park, it’s a big one so plenty of room. Nothing else we wanted to do here so set the satnav for Charleroi to se if there was anything to see there.
We ended up giving up on Charleroi, probably unfair but we had problems with diversions & blocked roads trying to find an Aire to park at. We ended up stopping at a McDonalds out near the airport. Again handy for Wi-fi, toilet & coffee. We’d had enough driving round various diversions by then & decided to head East to Namur to see if that would be easier.
We arrived at the Aire in Namur about midday. The Aire here was just a small parking area at the back of a sports centre with a little machine that offered water & toilet cassette emptying facilities. Handy but at €7.50 a bit expensive. We had already decided to find a proper camp site for the night where we could get the same facilities plus a shower. The free parking was handy though so after closing the motorhome up we headed off into the city centre to find the tourist office.
We found the office at the train station & collected a map of the city & a couple of suggestions as to what to do. Back in the old days when we were a lot younger there was a school in Lowestoft called Saint Mary’s Convent. It was a Catholic school run by Nuns known as the Sisters of Namur. Both my sisters & I went to this school back in the late forties & fifties although as a boy I had to leave when I was ten years old. Viv also attended there briefly about the same time I was there.
Anyway when we asked about the nuns the man at the tourist centre said that they still had a convent & school in Namur & that it was possible to visit the chapel there. It was in the middle of the old town so not far away. He telephoned them & arranged for us to go there right away so off we went to see why Nuns from Namur came to be running a school in Lowestoft.
It was only about a twenty minute walk to the street where the Convent & school were housed. They are part of what is now the Centre De L’Heritage. Inside we were met by a young woman who took us to the chapel in the forecourt area between the convent & the school. The chapel now houses a well laid out display showing the history of the Nuns and telling of the original nun Saint Juliet. The Order was set up by her to help the poor & grew worldwide opening schools in lands as far away as Japan & South America over two hundred years. We had our idea our school in Lowestoft was part of something so big.
Sadly the school in Lowestoft closed a long time ago & the nuns no longer have a convent there. Some of the nuns, our old teachers, are buried in Kirkley cemetery near where we live. Their legacy lives on though as the Saint Mary’s Primary school near the site of the old school & convent. The convent has recently been converted into flats & where the old school was there is a big block of flats.
We thanked our guide for a most interesting visit & headed a short way across the city to visit the citadel. This is a massive old fort perched right up on the hill above the city overlooking the the point where the river Sambre meets the river Meuse. It is most impressive & as usual I wanted to go up to the top as the views promised to be impressive. We took the long, slow walk up the access ramp as, fortunately, the stepped access area was closed for maintenance.
It was slow going but we made it to the information & cafe building near the top & fortunately they had a toilet there. The views were great & we could overlook Namur on one side & her sister city Jambes across the Meuse on the other. The afternoon was drawing in so it was a case of winding our way back down to the river level & heading back to our motorhome before it got too dark.
As it was it was we headed out of the city in heavy traffic & we soon had our lights on. Our chosen camp site was about twelve miles South of Namur but it was dark by the time we got there. There didn’t appear to be anybody about but there was a section close to the entrance so we found a pitch & parked up. It looks like it’s mainly for static or long stay caravans but it did have showers & our pitch had electric hook-up. The owner did call round later in the evening to collect our money, €18.
Mileage today - 68
Total mileage - 446