5th-10th December 2022 Brugge (Camping Memling).

When Angela and I began looking at our winter 2022 travels plans and working out a route to family in Germany we selected a few sites we wanted to visit again

One thing we had forgotten about when booking the site in Brugge was that the Christmas market was on.

We wanted to stay for at least five nights but the weekend during our planned dates were fully booked so I emailed the site to explain our situation. Almost immediately a very helpful Mathieu replied and a few messages later all was sorted and we would be accommodated but not on a normal pitch.

Arrival time was from midday so we didn’t need to leave too early from Ypres. It was about an hours drive (foggy and drizzling) and we arrived just after midday after stopping for a short break at a service station so we didn’t arrive too early. At the service station we were greeted by about five cockerels that were just roaming around!

The barrier at the campsite has ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) so opens as you pull up to it…….Normally!

As mentioned above we were not on a normal pitch so the barrier was programmed not to let us through. A lady came out to speak to us to let us know where we were to park. It turned out to be a great pitch all on our own and tucked in a corner out of the way.

We talked to her about the local Christmas market and she was not impressed with it this year. She said an option for us was to get a train to Ostend which had a better one.

We finally got on our pitch after filling up with fresh water and then wandered into the local Carrefour for a bit of food shopping. Locally there is also an Aldi and a Lidl, all within a ten minute walk from the campsite.

Camping Memling -Link to video

Campsite fees

Standard grass pitch 8×10 metres

5 nights total price €155

2 adults, VAT, tourism tax €3 per adult per night, showers and WiFi

Electricity is 6amps or 1300 watts. This is limited to 5 kilowatts per day.

Before arriving you get an email with your reservation number and a pitch number which makes it very easy.

Tuesday 6th December

Today was supposed to be an easy day and when we woke up to sleet and rain we were tempted to stay in . This soon stopped so into town we went to have a walk around and check out the Christmas market. By the time we got in to the centre we had blue skies but it was a bit chilly.

We were not that impressed with the Christmas market and felt that it lacked atmosphere. It was in the daytime so maybe at night it would feel better with the lights and more people.

We came here back in the winter of 2009 and thought it was magical. Maybe this was because it was our first time at a Christmas market outside of the UK?

We walked around some more exploring some of the side streets and ended up having a waffle and a coffee in a small café. After this we made our way back to the van which ended up being six miles in total.

During the evening our water pump kept coming on intermittently which is not a good sign as it could mean a leak!

On inspection I found a small pinprick size leak from the hot water pipe coming from the boiler. We have had this before so luckily I keep a couple of meters of 15mm plastic pipe. I cut the old bit out and put in a new bit which worked although it was leaking a bit from the push fit connector. This, after advice from a good friend was rectified by simply making sure the pipe was cut flush and a smear of Vaseline around the o-ring before refitting.

FZ2A4123  FZ2A4166FZ2A4235  FZ2A4296FZ2A4312  FZ2A4346

Thursday 8th December

A beautiful rainbow first thing this morning after a night of heavy rain.

As we left the campsite this morning Angela went to check out the laundry room.

A day of walking anti-clockwise around the waterways of Brugge stopping first to wait for the bridge to lower again after a large barge came through at the Kruispoort 2 bridge. While waiting for the barge to pass by a small crowd of pedestrians and cyclists had gathered. As soon as the bridge lowered and the green light came on it was like the start of a race with everyone jostling for position. We let them all go before we carried on as we were in no hurry.

FZ2A4407     FZ2A4412FZ2A4427       FZ2A4440 FZ2A4459  FZ2A4467  FZ2A4506

We set off along the tree lined canal which had an autumnal feel as there were still some leaves on the trees and many on the floor which crunched as you walked over them.

We passed a few windmills until we reached the Dampoort. This was a city gate around Brugge and in medieval days it formed part of the defensive ring.

We were heading for The Langerei which is a canal or waterway and a street in the centre of Brugges. The rei continues from the Spiegelrei, starts at the Carmersbrug and ends at the Dampoort. The street of the same name, located on the west bank, runs from the Gouden-Handbrug to the Wulpenstraat.

FZ2A4544FZ2A4548 FZ2A4556

It began raining as we got onto Langerei and gradually got heavier so we decided that we FZ2A4588needed to take cover somewhere. As luck would have it we found ourselves outside Lizzies Waffels on Sint-Jacobsstraat (16). We went inside and the smell of fresh coffee and waffles was amazing. We found a table and sat down to study the menu. There were quite a few variations of toppings and different types of hot drinks but we eventually made our choices, ordered and eagerly waited!

If you are ever in Brugge we certainly recommend this place. The staff were polite,very helpful and the atmosphere was good. We were watching the faces light up of the other customers when their waffle order was placed in front of them.

By the time we had finished eating it had stopped raining so we carried on exploring the centre and surrounding area. We were looking for a shop we saw the other day that had lovely stuffed toys and animals. What we particularly liked was two mice and we managed to find it, buy the mice and then head back to the van.

Today’s walking total was 7 miles.

Friday 9th December

As we’re leaving tomorrow for Antwerp and we have been doing plenty of walking we decided to stay onsite today. We will be coming back on our return journey so will have more time to explore some places we never got to see. Maybe even have another waffle!

Angela went to the laundry room to clear our washing and I started updating our website.

Posted in 2022 Winter travels | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

4th December 2022 Ramparts (Lille Gate Cemetery).

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) has many burial grounds in the area. This small cemetery is the only one that is within the ancient walls of Ypres.

It was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield who was also responsible for the nearby Menin Gate memorial and it contains the graves of 198 soldiers. Very sad to see the six graves belonging to troops from New Zealand who were all killed by the same shell. These are symbolically grouped together.

TheLille Cemetery cemetery was begun in November 1914 by French troops defending the city and was used by Commonwealth  troops from February 1915 until April 1918, by which time the Western Front had moved away from Ypres.

When the war ended the French graves that were here were removed and concentrated in the nearby Ypres French cemetery. Of the British and Commonwealth troops buried here, all but ten are named; in the case of five of the unidentified, the nationality could not be ascertained.

We walked around reading various headstones and taking a moment to reflect on how young some were and also how many died on the same day.

Lille Cemetery Headstones  Lille Cemetery Monument   Lille Cemetery Sign

Posted in 2022 Winter travels | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

3rd-4th December 2022 Eurotunnel – Ieper

Saturday 3rd December

Up early this morning and after a quick breakfast we stowed the remaining items, drained and put some fresh water in. We also carry a 5ltr and 10ltr bottle of fresh water before heading off on our travels, we do this just in case the site we are heading to does not have any water. We have been caught out in the past!

From the campsite to the Eurotunnel it is only about an eight mile (less than half an hour) drive. We arrived with plenty of time and were fortunate to be told that we could get the next train and that boarding was imminent.

After checking and stamping our passports we were sent to an inspection bay just to see that we had turned off our gas bottles. After this we were free to board and shortly after we were on our way.

318211385_10227737429717733_1940474127313804680_n 318162828_10227737430037741_505728498099474143_n   318132923_10227737428197695_6538257438664697929_n

When we first started travelling in the motorhome we used to take the ferry from Dover to Calais. Angela does not like sea travel so for the last few years we have been using the train. Yes, it is more expensive but so much easier and now our preferred route. Our return train ticket was just short of £300

After a journey of about 35 minutes we arrived in France and were on our way. Today we only had a short drive of one and a half hours and were heading to Ieper. The campsite we were going to is closed for the winter but there is an area for motorhomes to park all year round, with hard standing and behind a security barrier. It is called Camping Jeugdstadion and is handy for visiting Ieper and the Menin Gate. We have been here before and this time we wanted to do a guided tour around some of the local battlefields and cemeteries and monuments. Being so near to Christmas we decided not to this time but may on our way back from our winter travels.

We think that this may be our lay up point before getting the train back to the UK in the future as it is not too far away and we do not want to be staying anywhere near to Calais overnight.

As we had booked in advance we were given a code for the barrier and a pitch number so access and parking up was made easy. The site was almost full so it was a good job we booked.

FZ2A9226Unlike the UK there is no 6 meter rule here so we manged to squeeze ourselves in between two other vans. We noticed that about 90% of the vans here were from the UK. We plugged the electric in, set up for our two nights here and walked straight into the centre. It is less than a kilometre to the Menin Gate and can be reached in less than fifteen minutes.


We walked in to the centre  for a quick mooch around and then came across a small Christmas market outside the In Flanders Museum (Ypres Cloth Hall). We had a glühwein each before going to do a bit of food shopping.

IMG_8119On our way back to the van we saw a bar called St Arnoldus,  The Beer Café of Ypres has 25 beers on tap and looked warm and inviting so in we went.

We studied the beer menu (in English) for a selection of four beers that are bought to you on a little wooden tray. We sat chatting and drinking and were very happy to be travelling again after the last two years of being locked down.


IMG_8109                 IMG_8115

Before getting too comfortable and conscious that we had items of shopping that needed to be put in the fridge we set off back to the van for something to eat and a relaxing evening discussing our plans for tomorrow.

Sunday 4th December

First job of the day for me was to put 40 litres of fresh water in while Angela got the breakfast ready. As we were eating we noticed that there were lots of people packing up and leaving today, I guess some are back to work tomorrow.

RampartsToday we decided that we would go for a walk and explore the beautiful ramparts of Ypres (Ieper). It is an ancient stronghold city and trade centre just inside Belgium. It dates back many eras and has evolved from the early middle ages via huge Burgundian works to the vast complex of ramparts, bastions, moats, islands and advance fortifications constructed by Vauban, the great French military architect.

The ramparts are lined with lots of mature trees and many have a sign saying what variety they are. It had a feeling of Autumn with the colours of the leaves. There is a lot of waterRampart walk giving off lovely reflections on calm days and plenty of wildlife. Along with this there are surprisingly mellow constructions of prior military needs.
The best of the ramparts are to the south and east of the city and a walk along them will take an hour. Longer if like me you stop to take lots of photographs and explore many of the remains and read the information boards.
Along the way you will see great towers and bastions from several periods, the medieval Lille Gate with a poignantly beautiful First World War graveyard nearby, and the unmissable, moving Menin Gate, memorial to almost 55,000 British Empire soldiers who died in the Ypres Salient during WWI but have no know grave.

The streets of Ypres are ancient but rebuilt after the wholesale destruction during WWI.

After exploring the ramparts we meandered around the side streets ending up back at St Arnoldus café/bar. This time we ordered a piece of apple pie with ice cream and cream washed down with a nice hot mug of tea. What better way to warm up after a mornings walk?

Apple pie 


The atmosphere was so good we ended up ordering a beer before we left to explore the Menin gate again. Looking at and reading some of the many names and Angela found a few Pullen’s. As remembrance day was not that long ago there were still many wreaths to see.

    Menin Gate  Pullen   Wreaths   FZ2A4004

Posted in 2022 Winter travels | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Brighton 27th Nov-2nd Dec 2022

We left Garsington mid morning for the Caravan and Motorhome club site (CAMC). It is located East of Brighton just a short walk away from Brighton Marina.

The journey was trouble free and traffic was light. Even the M25 was fairly light traffic although the road noise on the concrete sections was loud and annoying.

Two hours and fifteen minutes later we had checked in, filled up with fresh water and were parked up on pitch 21which is right opposite the facilities.

Our initial plan was to go down to the marina for a walk after setting up but the heavens had opened up and it began to rain very hard. Not looking like it was going to let up soon we decided to stay in. We were not too bothered as we were booked in for five nights and had plenty of time to explore.

28th Nov-Walk into Brighton

With sunshine and showers forecast today we put on our waterproofs and set off to have a walk into Brighton. We wanted to have mooch around the Lanes which are a famous part of Brighton & Hove. Nestled between the North Laine and the seafront, this quirky labyrinthian area is a joy to wander around with its narrow alleyways, hidden squares, exciting shops, legendary jewellers and plenty of places to eat, drink and watch the world go by.

Typical! Not long after setting off the rain stopped and the sun came out. Before getting too hot and bothered we decided to stop and remove our waterproofs.

To reach Brighton Palace Pier from the campsite along the sea front is about a 40 minute walk. We had a few bits of admin to do before our upcoming overseas trip so that was our first priority. Once done we had a stroll around before deciding it was time to get something to eat.

IMG_7916 (1)I remembered from our time here before that there was a nice place we ate that did vegan food so we set off in search of it.

The name is Neighbourhood Café it is situated in the North Laine (95 Gloucester Rd) and well worth a visit.


After our food and coffee we set off for one last walk around before heading back to the van. The lanes were very busy with tourists and workers having their lunch breaks in one of the many eateries available and there was a real positive vibe to the place.


Before we knew it we were in Jollifes coffee shop on Kensington Gardens drinking coffee and eating our first ever Sfogliatine, a light and delicious Italian cookie. Their name comes from the Italian word “sfoglia” meaning “sheets”, which describes the layering of the puff pastry dough. Made from an old world recipe, they are coated with an apricot glaze and baked to a crispy perfection.

We definitely went back to the van after this just in time for our tea!!!

29th Nov- Golf course walk (with cows)!

A chilly start to the day but this didn’t bother us as we were going out for a nice walk. Rucksacks packed with essential clothing, mince pies and a flask of mulled each wine we set off towards the East Brighton golf course. An area we had walked around before but this time I had altered it slightly in direction and distance.

We had just skirted around the edge of a couple of holes and tee’s on the golf course and we veered off heading towards a trig point near to Mount Pleasant. We had to step off the path and give way to a farmer in a tractor before continuing on our route. We saw a gathering of dog walkers uphill in the distance chatting and it was at this point we saw a herd of cows running downhill. I said to Angela that I didn’t think that they should be there as it looked like a crop field and that maybe the farmer we passed earlier had been to feed them and inadvertently left a gate open. As we were going in a different direction it didn’t affect us so we were not too bothered.

We got to the dog walkers, said hello as we passed and carried on towards the top. We looked back and saw the cows heading towards two of the dog walkers. Seeing this they turned and began retracing their steps. A 4×4 vehicle then arrived at the top of the hill and the driver was looking towards the cows and was on the phone. A local couple out walking their dog came towards us and I mentioned the cows possibly being in the wrong field. They told us that yesterday they were in a different field and hadn’t seen them here before. Asking them about the path we were on and where we were heading they mentioned other routes we could take to avoid the cows. Angela WILL NOT walk anywhere near a herd of cows. It’s not something I enjoy but would rather than do a detour.

I said we would be alright on our planned walk and we carried on along the top of the hill. From this point you were unable to see the bottom of the field and I said to Angela that we should carry on and if our path was blocked we would go a different way.

Sods law! We just crested the hill and looking along our planned route, smack bang in the middle was a herd of cows being managed by a farmer.

After a bit of a debate it was decided that we would not be continuing on this path and that the route via the local cemetery was the best option. In reality it was not that much further than our planned route but had an added bonus of a bench to sit on to have our mince pies and flask of steaming hot mulled wine.

Warmed up from our mulled wine we continued on our walk and back to the campsite crossing a section of the Brighton racecourse on our way back along the sheepcote valley.

Near the end of the walk we were passing through East Brighton Park when we stopped to watch a man train his dog in agility. It turned out to be his assistance dog as he was deaf and the woman I spoke to that was photographing him was his wife. She was doing a photography course and this was her work for it.

30th Nov-Walk to Rottingdean (10 miles).

This is a walk we have been looking forward to doing since we’ve been here. It was an area we wanted to walk the last time we came but ran out of time.

Bright and sunny with no rain forecast we set off for a days walk from the campsite heading straight down to the marina where the footpath can be reached.

Locally it is called the Undercliff walk and is part of the England Coast Path. We stopped in the marina first to look at the boats and to have a walk around the east arm of the marina but it was closed for repairs. Whilst leaning on the railing we got talking to a woman who saw my camera and asked what I was photographing. She said that a Kingfisher is often seen around the marina.

It turned out that this woman and her husband have a motorhome and she had us in stitches of laughter regaling some of their motorhome adventures and her view on unisex toilet facilities on the continent. They have a property in Spain which they are selling and bought a flat in the marina.

As time was getting we decided to head off on our walk. The lady told us that Rottingdean is worth a visit if we are going that far and that there was a nice bakery/cafe for a snack.

The walk is flat and easy and the only problem was that some sections had a lot of pebbles from the beach and chalky mud. I’m guessing thrown over the sea wall at hides. The path was busy with other walkers, joggers, cyclists and dog walkers. Some said hello and others didn’t!

We stopped a few times to look out at some of the birds around the rockpools. Oyster catchers, egrets and also a curlew which is always nice to see.

Eventually we got to Rottingdean and walked uphill into the village where we had a quick walk around. We found the Kipling gardens, once part of The Elms where Rudyard Kipling lived from 1897-1902. After sitting on a bench for a while watching a robin we both agreed that we should look for somewhere to eat before heading back.

The woman we met at the marina earlier mentioned a bakery. We found The Windmill bakery/café on the High Street and went in. It was nice and warm and had a friendly atmosphere. They were short of staff that day but when ordering our food they pointed this out to us and said there may be a slight delay which we thought was good of them. We both ordered a jacket potato topped with chilli con carne served with a side salad. It was very welcome and was washed down with a steaming hot mug of tea.

A couple came in and sat next to our table just as we had finished eating. I decided to change the lens on my camera before leaving and one of the guys said how organised my camera bag was. We mentioned how we have to be organised as we are n our motorhome. It turned out that they had owned one and that got us chatting again about our experiences whilst travelling. I think by the time we left the whole cafe knew our life stories!

As their food order arrived we said our goodbyes and left for the journey back the same way stopping off at Asda in the marina for a few provisions, mainly cheese, nibbles and wine for the evening.

Today was a good day.

1st December-Last day in Brighton

As it was our last day in Brighton we decided to have an easy day mooching around the Lanes so we set off along the sea front heading straight for a coffee shop first.

On the walk in I mentioned to Angela that It would be good to get a haircut and beard trim before we set off overseas. I also said that I would leave it until I returned from our travels to see how long my beard would grow. Anyway, we eventually got into the town center and passed near to Franco’s, a barbers. I have been to them before and was very pleased with the service. I popped my head in and asked if they had any availability and was told to come back at midday

Angela and I found a nearby coffee shop where we had a coffee and an almond croissant and chatted before I had to leave her to finish off and pay!

Angela went off shopping and we met up after I was finished at the barbers.

What was meant to be a relaxing day we still ended up walking six miles.

Tomorrow we are leaving for Folkestone ready for the Eurotunnel on Saturday.

Posted in 2022 Winter travels | Leave a comment

We’re back!

A huge thank you to Tim for doing so much work in the background and getting our website up and running again.

It’s been a couple of years with no travel due to the pandemic. We are pleased to announce that we are getting ready to set off on our winter travels leaving Oxford this Sunday.

Angela and I are out of practice writing a travel blog but watch this space for some regular updates. We are heading to Germany where we will be spending Christmas with family stopping off along the way.

Posted in 2022 Winter travels | Leave a comment