1970: May 21, Bruges – Gillenfeld

Most of us had a somewhat disturbed night thanks to fidgety Sarah, but Gareth slept well mercifully. Enjoyed delicious rolls at breakfast, then did a quick shop for pâté de foie, strawberry tarts (us) and fresh strawberries (children) then set off for Gent 9.10am along attractive country roads with some very expensive houses lining them, windows crammed with indoor plants. From Gent on to Antwerpen and then joining motorway to Liege and Aachen.

Got through Antwerpen remarkably quickly, an impressive collection of motorway junctions and tunnel under R. Schelde. Countryside in this part of Belgium not really very interesting – undulating farmland and orchards. Road moderately good with some major roadworks in progress, but kept up a good speed. Towards the German border climbed into more interesting wooded hills and the crossing of the frontier was immediately marked by road improvements (Teutonic efficiency!) and change in local architecture to much greater use of timbering. Houses protected by tall poplar hedge wind-breaks – some very fairytale in appearance with roofs sloping well down at the sides.

Monshau was a pretty little town in a deep valley with very narrow streets and half-timbered houses, church had onion tops to the towers. Noticed a) several new buildings, and b) use of slate cladding all over some buildings, including a very modern church. Passed some of the volcanic lakes and eventually came to Gillenfeld camp, set above the Maare (lake) with splendid views of rolling country and a very pleasant camp in every way.

Rain came on, but fortunately the tent was up. Ate a large tea (tomato soup and ham and egg) and we had alcohol once the children were in bed – reckoned we’d earned it! Very glad of our fire.

238 miles


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