Our last couple of days in Belgium have spent playing tourist rather than traveller. I have also gone from wine drinker to alcoholic beer drinker since we have been here.
It is incredibly hot. Right now it’s 5 30pm and around 34 degrees and yet if we were back in New Zealand, we would have been burnt to a crisp however here in Europe – not a hint of sunburn.
The fields around us have not been so lucky however. As far as the eye can see the grass is golden and tinder dry.
After leaving Bruges, (which we loved), we headed to Ghent or Gant as it is also known. We parked in a Aire by the University next to the river that I found via my park4night app. The walk to town was probably about 1/2 hour which is where a bike would have come in handy but the parking was free so what’s to complain about. I will write a post about the places we stayed in Belgium later on.
First on our list was a coffee which we had canalside while everyone around us sat sipping beer at 10am. Ghent was not too dissimilar to Bruges and for this reason we decided to do a canal boat tour. So I got some great photos and a bit of history all at the same time.
From Ghent we bypassed Brussels, giving up the bright lights big city for the smaller, quainter villages of Dinant and Durbuy.
In Dinant I again found the free day parking via park4night and we headed there. That night we had stayed in an Aire in a rural village not far from Dinant that had the most stunning view over the valley below. I gather the idea of the free Aires is to encourage travellers to stay local and spend local. Well we tried our best to spend local but not even a shop to buy a bottle of milk could be found.
The free parking in Dinant was great but there was a catch. To reach the village below you had to take the chairlift which was 8.50 € return. There was a bonus however, you got a free guided tour of The Citadel on the way down even if it was in French.
From our brochure we gathered that The Citadel had been instrumental in creating the borders that are now France, Belgium and The Netherlands. The pictures below are the soldiers quarters inside The Citadel and of the view 100m above the level of the Meuse.
From Dinant we travelled to Hotton where we camped by a river and cooled everything down with a couple of beers. Alas after a couple of beers in the heat of the afternoon sun a long nap was needed to recover. It’s bloody hard work this travelling. Between drinking beers, people watching and snacking on cheese, salami and bagettes found at the local markets, I’m surprised we fit anything else in.
Durbuy is much more my kind of town, however it’s technically a city but the little lanes and quaint shops tell a different story. Apparently it’s the world’s smallest city.
Sadly for us our journey must continue and this afternoon we will cross over into The Netherlands. This will probably entail me defending my poor Google maps lady against the vile words that are used against her from the driver everytime he misses a turnoff. At least I have her back.