Calais to Poperinge Belgium. 47 Miles today

Up at 9:30 this morning. Today is the crossing over to Calais on a mid-day ferry. As expected the weather is miserable, light rain, strong wind and a bit chilly.

We use the camp services and fill up with fresh water. The campsite was pretty good. Very clean and tidy with helpful staff with a great view of the sea from our dining table…. You’d pay a fortune for that elsewhere.

The drive to Dover is short, 25 minutes or so. Del does the drive. He’s as nervous as hell but it all works out well. Why nervous? He’s only been driving three years this July and now he’s driving an expensive band new motorhome through Dover. Gulp!

We get directed onto the ferry. DFDS are the carrier, miles better than P&O. Clean, bright and tidy boats… Jess is squeezed in between a few vans and some rather large 40 foot freight trucks.

Our first stop will be somewhere in Belgium. But where…? The level of freedom is a bit scary really. In one of these things you can go wherever you want. What a frightning thought.

We decide on Belgium, to get away from Calais. Don’t know why. Calais is probably a lovely town to visit but we hear such bad stories about the place. Imagine living there with that media stigma attached to you. Crap really. Very sad.

An uneventful crossing to Calais. We are directed off the boat ‘…Right. Stay on the right!!’ We keep it short and simple and head for the town of Poperinge in Belgium and to a campsite called Camping Stal ‘t Bardehof

A short 47 miles today. No big deal. We are in no rush.

The Belgian countryside so far is a lovely place. If you like cycling and walking then this is the place to be. It’s flat, very flat but the countryside is lovely.

After finding a suitable pitch in the empty campsite (clearly we are at the start of the season) we go out for a walk and stumble upon a military cemetery. It’

s beautiful and peaceful and bang in the middle of nowhere. Who would have thought.

We take a look around and find that most, if not all, of the stones are to young British servicemen from the the 1st world war. So sad all those young men some as young as 18 buried here.

It’s such a peaceful place and something we just happen to stumble on. In all we have a good long walk and on the way back tot he site we find a small bar/restaurant. It looks like something out of Hansel and Gretal. We can’t help it and decide to go in and try some of this famous Trappist beer.

The staff are friendly and the place has a nice cosy feel about it with a couple of locals at the bar a few more locals coming and going. We start off with an easy 9.5% Trappist beer called Westmalle. Now the thing is we had not eaten all day and this beer suddenly left your legs feeling a bit numb. Scary. We finish it off feeling a bit, well numb, and that was only one beer. With a steadying pace we make our way back to the van for a dinner and early night.

So far so good.

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