1970: May 20, England – Bruges

Set off for Dover at 8.30am and had a smooth journey after a few hold-ups on the A2. Garden of England in full bloom, weather overcast but fine. Reached the quayside  10.16am and joined the queue which included a Greek bus en route for Athens. Saw two hovercraft in the harbour. Gareth liked the ‘windmills’ atop them. Boat sailed at 11.00am and was reasonably empty; sea calm but with a noticeable swell.

At lunch at 11.15am! Children starving after early breakfast and maddened by the sight of everyone else stuffing sandwiches and coffee so we feasted off a cold, roast, boned chicken, salad and fresh fruit, and were all hungry in fact despite the early hour.

Landed in Calais at 12.20, seemed no time at all, and were soon driving along through Dunkirk en route for Bruges. Cows, pigs and horses in vast numbers including some horses pulling ploughs. Arrived in Bruges early afternoon and very pleased with out rooms in the Hotel du Cornet d’Or – a long room tucked away at the end of a corridor with 2 double beds, 1 single, 2 washbasins and toilets conveniently near. Having unpacked a bit and put the rest of the roof rack load in the car, which was parked in Simon Stevin Platz, we had a walk in the sun around Bruges. On the canals there were several English school children having boat trips.

Found a pavement café near the canal and had strawberry tart and coffee (us) and ice cream (children) and watched activities. Then walked on, watching a little girl (about 12-13) making lace – no wonder they have to wear glasses pretty young, very close and fiddly work.

Bought some souvenirs, and walked back to the hotel, admiring the beautiful old buildings and the very gay flower market – vast quantities of everlasting flowers. Some first communion girls walking around, seemed an odd time for that. Sarah liked the horses pulling straps. Children ate well at dinner, especially Andrew (chicken and chips) and went to sleep while we had a walk around Bruges and a cup of hot chocolate.

151 miles


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