Land Rover, Belgium & France

Time to transition this from a ‘big trip’ blog to a reminder of where I’ve been since. Still doing this just for me, not expecting anyone to read it. But it helps me remember the little, important things that I’d lose otherwise…

To start with I didn’t keep tabs on Norway or Iceland yet, so that’ll follow. But I did enjoy a week touring France and Belgium with my bro in the Land Rover in April 2013. Came back to the deep snowy weather in the featured pic above. I’ll keep it brief since I’m so far behind.

The trip from ‘ull was uneventful bordering on dull. I recall the buffet being random. Ended up combining Yorkshire pudding and curry. It was better than it sounds. ‘She’ seemed ok in the hold.

Loved Belgium. What’s not to love? Camping was very cold in Ypres in April, but the beer coats earned by Our Rich and I kept us warm. I’m remembering Richard losing a hat, but that’s a story for him to tell involving a Trappist brew (!).

Ypres was also the base for some WW1 tourism. Although that seems like the wrong word the more you learn about the scale and nature of the conflict. Of course I knew the history but that didn’t stop it hitting home when you see the memorials and the lines and lines of names.

We came with a reason. To visit the grave of a distant relative who served in the war. J.A. Butler, Joseph. Killed at just 30 years old more than 90 years ago. The cemetery he lays in, in fact all the cemeteries we saw are immaculate still. Small or large, remote or well visited kept in dignified order by the CWGC.

The nightly last post at the Menin gate was a fitting end to that day. Music provided by an English school on a field trip. RIP Joe.

After Belgium we headed to France supported by a determination to camp whatever the weather and a grasp of French that’d be graded a generous ‘E’ at GCSE. Non Bon. We passed the time looking at the WW2 beaches and the rolling French countryside.

Our campsite cooking needs some work, my bro and I would admit that. Lesson learned for next time. Soup / salad and a load of cheese was fine. But next time we need the grill space and pans for meat based steakery.

The trip back was a long haul motorway blast through France, up to Calais and then up the M1 and ‘She’ behaved perfectly. A thirsty lady but perfect for a trip like this. Lots more snow at home – up to the top of the Landy.

Roll on Germany / Poland or Scandinavia 2014 I say.

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