2nd May 2017. Naarden & Gent, Belgium.

We had intended cycling around the town this morning before going to visit the museum but it was pouring with rain so we decided to forego the bike ride and walked down to Vesting Museum instead.

We had a great time at the museum, although it would have been even better if the exhibits had had some of the information written in English (it’s all me, me, me!).  The lady on the pay desk did tell us that there was a 10 minute film in one of the tunnels with a button to change the narration to Dutch or English.

We watched a short film which was narrated in Dutch and tried to guess what they were saying.  We discovered, as we were having coffee in the museum cafe later (and very nice it was too, I was excited to see that our cup of coffee came with a little chocolate), that we’d guessed incorrectly.  The man serving us very kindly asked if we had any questions about anything we’d seen in the museum.  I said I was very surprised at how big it was under the ramparts, it was so well hidden and he told me that it wasn’t hidden originally, surrounding trees had been cut down and houses demolished in a wide band around the fortification to give a wide view, as he explained this it suddenly occurred to me that was what part of the film had been about, we’d misunderstood and assumed they’d done that so they could flood the area!

There were two listening corridors to walk down (we only walked along one of them because they were dark and creepy and I’m a chicken!) however when we stood with the door closed we could hear the water lapping and a dog barking through the ‘ears’ that were situated along the embankment.  That was intriguing.

We popped in to see the other film that the lady at the desk had told us about, each time we’d been in there people were watching it in Dutch so we’d wandered outside to look around the ramparts.  The view from the top across the moat was beautiful.

On one section we could see the road leading out of the town where a dustcart was making its collections.  We stood and watched the dustmen for a while and they suddenly looked up at us with a big smile and waved to us.

Further along there was a large area penned off with a few goats sauntering around, they were very pretty, I would have liked to have spent longer watching them but we were running out of time.

We went back into the little cinema hoping to be able to watch the film in English at last but no such luck, a man and his young son were  watching it this time.  We were very impressed at how well behaved the little boy was, he was thoroughly engrossed in the film, our only choice was to sit down and watch it with the Dutch narration.  When the film finished they left and a list came up on the screen.

We discovered then that there were in fact two films to watch, one was 21 minutes long (the one we’d just watched in fact!  I thought that was a very long 10 minutes!) the other was 16 minutes long.  We put on the film that we’d just seen only narrated in English this time.  It was well worth the wait, it was VERY interesting now we could understand it and it gave us a better understanding of the landscape we’d been looking at as we drove through the Netherlands.  The second film mentioned some of the things we’d seen exhibited so that answered a few of our questions.  With hindsight we should have seen that before we walked around the exhibitions!

We were travelling on to Gent today which was 3 and a half hours away so once we’d watched the films we made our way back to the van.  We were surprised to see the sun shining as we stepped outside so we had a quick detour to the canal to take a couple of photos.

The branches of the trees along the path intrigued us, they were trained as espalier and three younger trees were in frames being trained into the shape, it was good to see how that was done.

As we walked back to the van we had an additional detour because I suddenly realised we hadn’t checked out what was on the other side of the tunnel near the van so we had to go and have a look.  It turned out to be a view over the moat to a small park.

We had intended going shopping on the way to Gent but both the shops that were programmed into the SAT NAV were unsuitable (in the case of the last one it didn’t actually exist!) so having ‘faffed around’ for 20 minutes looking for these shops we got on the motorway and started our journey.

We decided to find a motorway service station for lunch.  We pulled up at the first service station to discover it was Deli 2 Go and decided we weren’t giving them any more of our money after the awful rolls we bought previously  (I photographed them so you can judge for yourself! 19th April Sittensen, Germany and 30th April Naarden, Netherlands and) so we drove on to the next service station which was a long way away but worth it, their rolls were made by Go Fresh and as with the previous rolls we’d had from them these were really good and the cake was absolutely scrummy.

We enjoyed our long journey through to Gent, there were so many things to see, here are some of them.


The journey to Belgium seemed to take forever and as we crossed the border it started to rain.  Whoopie doo!

We got stuck in traffic on the ring road round Antwerp, just as we had on the way up to Germany last May but at least our traffic jam wasn’t as bad as the one going in the opposite direction.

Darren had  programmed in a stop at a motorhome dealer just outside Antwerp to empty and refill the van.  Places to empty and refill seem to be few and far between in the Netherlands and Belgium so we were very grateful to Alpha Temse Motorhomes for providing the services, it also gave us the opportunity to buy some bits and bobs for ‘Van Dee’.  That should keep us going until we reach our last stop in France.

We finally arrived at our stopover at a car park in Gent.  We were there long enough to see a woman come out of her caravan, walk over to the hedge where she pulled her ‘drawers’ down and squatted for an age before nonchalantly walking back to her caravan.  It would appear that the toilet in her caravan doesn’t work or maybe she just couldn’t be bothered to use it or use the chemical toilet that was provided by the council.   The sight of her ‘doing her business’ combined with the rubbish strewn around the caravans and the motorhome that was parked next to us suddenly packing up and leaving (was it a coincidence that he drove away just after he spotted the squatting woman?) made us move on speedily to another location by a sports centre, keeping our fingers crossed that that would turn out to be a better stopover.

We drove to another car park mentioned in Park4Night, saw a picture of a motorhome on a sign and were very excited to see another motorhome already parked there.  It was a large car park beside a climbing centre and there was an outside climbing wall which I assume is used in the warmer months.

We settled down and were engrossed in the series ‘Vikings’ when, at midnight, there was a very loud banging on the driver’s door.  We didn’t acknowledge it at first because we had our headphones on and by the time we realised someone had banged on the door and Darren had opened the blind the man (who looked like a security guard) had turned away, he then got on his bicycle and cycled off.  It worried me greatly because we didn’t know why he’d been knocking and we wondered why we hadn’t heard him knock on the door of the other motorhome.  As a consequence I was not a ‘happy bunny’ and went to bed feeling very agitated!

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