Welcome back to a new tale of our adventures!
Today we are going to bring you along the last stretch of France we did as well as our short trip through Belgium. So buckle up!
Last time, we were talking about Normandy. If you take a map of France and follow the coastline, you will see that next up is Nord-Pas-de-Calais. While we were blessed there with some amazing landscapes and sceneries, we also got cursed with a few days of rains. Heavy rains. The kind that pushes you to drive on until you find summer again. Somewhere. Anywhere.
But before we got properly showered, we entered Baie de Somme. A Natural Park and a place famous for its large marsh areas and the wide variety of birds coming there. But in fairness, we weren’t looking for birds. We wanted to see seals! So we went to a town called Berck-sur-Mer since we heard that some seal colonies have settled there. We had zero idea what to expect and read quite some internet pages to find out about the seals, at what time of the day you should be going to try and see them and so on. Needless to say that when we parked, we were crossing our fingers that we would be able to see maaaaaaybe one or two, from afar. We were so wrong! As we arrived on the beach – BAM!
It was a wonderful sight for Eva and me. We loved it. For Lotti, it was a bit different: She looked at them and then decided for herself that finding crabs on the rocks was far more interesting. Kids… xD
After our seal watching experience, we came back to the camper just in time for one of the craziest storms to start we ever experienced. I cannot even quantify the litres of water that fell! It felt like a deluge. And it marked the beginning of a streak of rainy days which pushed us further North, and on, hoping to find the sun again…
As we fled the rain, we passed by the Caps Gris-Nez and Blanc-Nez, probably some of the prettiest caps we ever drove by! Sandy beaches, turquoise sea, rolling green hills. These two were absolutely stunning to see. Alas, we did not explore because, well now you know, rain. But these places are totally worth for us (and you?!) to come back to.
And before we even realised it, we arrived in Belgium! The land of beers, mussels, fries, chocolates… At least, this is what immediately pops up in my mind when I think of Belgium. The way we experienced it during this trip was slightly different. We arrived late in the first town by the sea, just in time to eat something, anything! So we parked and walked around. Of course, it was Sunday and most shops and restaurants were closed. Also, the price for two plates of mussels & fries was unfortunately way too much for us and our tight budget. So in the end, we went to a Friterie! This, my friends, is the quintessence of Belgian/Dutch junk food! If you are having issues with cholesterol, you better skip this altogether. Without going into too much detail, you pick up something from the menu/frozen buffet (like, a see-in freezer basically) and there is a 99% chance that it will be deep-fried before put in front of you. And with this, you get to pick one of the maaaaany dip sauces they have (Cocktail, Thai, Samurai, Algerian, Barbecue, you name it). It is a “must-try” at least once in your life, if your body allows it, for the experience. If it’s actually “nice” or not, is a very personal thing which we’ll leave up to you do discover for yourself. Eva, for example, had a veggie burger which contained real, visible veggies and which was actually okay.
After our first Belgian dinner, we drove some more to Zeebrugge where finally the sun came back! The next day was delightful with feeling the warm rays of sun on our skin again. The sea was still way too cold for us (not for others, mind you), but at the beach we got to see something that was a bit surprising for us. Not bad, just unusual. It appeared that most of the beach there is actually privatised. Meaning that a lot of restaurants or bars have “bought” some stretches of beach and put a fence around it so that people can enjoy a place in the sun with their stuff secured… The biggest surprise to me about this was that most of these private beaches also offer playgrounds (most of them with inflatable castles and stuff). So people can use the beach against a fee and let the kids roam around being sure that they won’t get lost. Quiet a practical system. And so while Eva was doing some work in the camper, Lotti and I explored the beaches and playgrounds 🙂
And then, as if coming out of some dream, we reached the border of Belgium and entered the Netherlands!
We didn’t stay there for very long either – we wanted to reach Scandinavia asap – but that we’ll write about in the next post coming up 🙂
Stay tuned and see you soon!