Michael and Pam's Travels

Veurne, Belgium. 2016

Travelled : 122 kilometres from Arras to Ieper (Ypres), then 36 kilometres from Ieper to Veurne, Belgium

Visited : The Menin Gate in Ieper, Veurne and Diksmuide, all in Western Flanders

Stayed : Ieper Municipal Aire โ‚ฌ8, includes electricity N50.83604 E02.90509, then Veurne Municipal Aire for 2 nights, on the canal, limited service but free N51.07021 E02.66626

Budget : 21 days @ โ‚ฌ95 per day.

We won’t bore you more than necessary but the cycle rack on the Hymer is showing it’s age, added to the fact that the e-bike are heavier than a normal bike. ย We had been looking to replace it while we travel through France and today seemed like the day to see what we can find. ย So we spend a few hours going to different motorhome accessory place near Lille looking at types and availability.

Half a day lost was enough and we decide to head into Belgium and continue the hunt another day. ย Veurne is about 60 kilometres north-west of Lille and a few kilometres inland so we continue north-west on the A25. ย But the traffic is heavy and we loose interest in the stress of it all. ย I see the exit for Armentieres and think lets just make Ieper our target, we don’t have to be anywhere tonight or tomorrow for that matter. ย We know Ieper well and drive straight to our normal parking spot.

Soon after we arrive a fellow stops his motorcycle nearby and identifies himself as a Policeman and politely states we shouldn’t stay the night here. ย He is very casual about it and states parking is OK but not sleeping. ย Anyway he waves goodbye and we think it’s not a great start to Belgium. ย Anyway we walk up town for a drink and dinner, then watch the ‘last post ceremony’ and go on a waffle hunt.

 

 

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It looks like another busy evening at Menin Gate tonight. We have been for a walk up past the famous Cloths Hall before having dinner and a Bocker or two in our favourite little pub. Rod and Julie will remember from a few years ago.

 

 

The Service is wonderful again. An English Choir sing a wonderful medley followed by the ‘Last Post’ from the Fire Service Band.

 

 

This photo provide an example of the thousands of names of Australians listed on the walls of the Menin Gate. ย It’s sad to think, not only do they not have a known grave but their Fathers and Mother probably never had the opportunity to visit this place built to honour them.

 

 

We head off looking for Belgium Waffles, as you do after the service. ย We bump into another English campercar couple parked near us ย when the polite Policeman had words. ย They have found a new Aire about a kilometre away. ย So we adjourn to the pub to chat about the campercar life.

 

 

Our digs in Ieper for the night, very quiet except for us drinking and chatting with our English neighbours until mid-night.

 

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In the morning, just a little dusty after the late night we resume our journey to Veurne. ย The main square in Veurne, we don’t know why they spoil it by having cars parked there. ย The church in the background.

 

 

An interesting archway in the old town.

 

 

Pam picks up a stretching class in the park.

 

 

Inside the Church of Saint Walburga.

 

 

Saint Walburga’s has these amazing carved timber adornments.

 

 

The Old Town Hall dates back to 1586.

 

 

We thought this pub looked really interesting, so we came back to have a drink and use their wifi. ย As they only half filled the beer glass, I won’t be recommending it to my friends.

 

 

Our free digs on the canal in Veurne.

 

 

We takes the bikes off the Hymer and cycle for a couple of hours on the cycle route that circle Veurne. ย Most of the cycle routes hear are on dedicated paths, the land is as flat as a pancake, so it a comfortable ride.

 

 

Much of the cycle routes follow the canals, then just as quick you find yourself crossing a farm. Lots of wet cow sheds smells remind you this is prime farming country.

 

 

Pam is still practicing her sharp turns, she missed this one.

 

It another cool night in Belgium, The weather has been very mild since we crossed the Channel, warm afternoons and cool evenings.

 

Market day in Veurne, it’s going to be a slow walk this morning.

 

We are cooking breakfast when a fellow traveller comes over to say hello. ย After breakfast we have a chit chat about the campercar life. ย Derek is English and immigrated to Australia as a young fellow before returning to England and marrying his Irish wife. ย They recommend a visit to nearby Diksmuide and the museum.

 

 

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The Ijzertoren Museum at Diksmuide. ย It’s about a 20 minute drive from Veurne, it’s 84 metre tower can be seen as soon as we leave Veurne.

 

 

The view of western Flanders from the tower is amazing. ย The first tower was built as a WW1 war memorial, but it’s dedication to the Flemish soldiers led to ongoing controversy for 20 years.

 

 

Spot the Hymer ? This is the second Ijzer Tower to be built here. The first was blown up be Flemish separatist in 1946, believe it or not ? ย The current tower is dedicated to peace.

 

 

It has one of the best WW1 collections I have seen. You catch the elevator to the 22 floor and walk down through 16 levels of memorability and interactive displays.

 

 

The photo captures part of the trench and tunnel maze within the tower. Anyway we depart the museum and have a drive around Diksmuide, we cannot see any other campers in the car parks. So we drive back to Veurne for another night by the canal.

 

 

 

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