This one will be short & sweet, just like our stay.
Only having a few days holiday left, we wondered where we could go and it wasn’t long before we had decided and booked our North Sea ferry crossing and campsite in Brugge.
I’m not sure why, but we always seem to arrive at check in first – maybe it’s just our eagerness to get away but i would rather be parked up ready than risk a last minute delay.
Boarding was hassle free as usual and we enjoyed a walk around the deck before our evening dinner at the kitchen restaurant followed a relaxing night in our Club Cabin.
The sun was certainly shining on us for this visit and despite being the end of March, it felt quite pleasant indeed but outdoors, we still needed our coats.
Spring was here and its is such a nice walk along the canal side.
We saw this outside the torture museum and I’ll order one……………
The woodland walk is a great way to end the day and some of the exercise equipment looks like it should be in the torture museum – I can only imagine the pain!
That’s the end of this visit and it will be a while before we come back, well, maybe not that long!
Well, we did it! We finally plucked up the courage to spend Christmas & Mrs H’s birthday away home for the first time and what better way to it.
Our planning for this trip started months in advance to ensure that our youngest son was well prepared for the massive change in our festive routine and hopefully avoid an Autistic Meltdown in the process.
Our journey started with the P&O Ferry from Hull to Zebrugge with the usual 5 berth Club Cabin to give us that little extra space, TV and double bed – we do still need some home comforts after all & these are perfect for our son who loves to sit at the desk and draw, worth every penny to see him relaxed and happy.
A short drive from the port to our campsite in Brugge, Camping Memling which would accommodate all of our needs for the next 10 day’s. Check in was quick, easy and we were on our pitch before we knew it.
This was the first time that we used our Fiamma Privacy Room which was easy to put up (ish) and somewhere to store the bikes at night along with leaving our wet shoes/boots outside.
It really felt like Christmas, Brugge is a magical place especially at this time of year and we highly recommend a visit whether for the day or a little longer & we never tire of visiting this city.
The Ice Rink had been moved around this year due to a change in security planning but this did not detract from the festive feel of the market at all and I suppose something that we all are learning to live with and accept.
Not all of our time was spent in the City and the area surrounding our campsite is full of woodland walks and an outdoor exercise area ( not likely…)
Camping Memling have their own Youtube channel giving some good, useful information about check in and else the area has to offer and it is worth a look if your planning a visit.
Finally, Christmas Eve and it was time for the first celebration of the week, Mrs H’s Birthday and we came well prepared with cards, and presents with a great day had by all.
You will never go hungry in Brugge and even more so at Christmas. The smell of fresh baked rolls and Bradwurst/Burgers gets me every time followed by a really good hot chocolate, Oh and not forgetting Belgian fries from the market stalls below the Belfort.
Christmas Day, Oh No! How would this go? How would he cope?
After a good nights sleep, it was Christmas Day at last, and everything we had tried to achieve over the last few months all hinged on these next few moments & we were not disappointed. No meltdown, no anxiety, just a young man enjoying his Christmas – what progress.
The day was a success and we all enjoyed our motorhome take on Christmas dinner and we look forward to doing this again in the future.
Our final days were spent, experiencing the sights of Brugge at our leisure either on foot or by bike.
Until next time.
We knew it wouldn’t be long before we were back & after a short drive to Hull, we set sail, once again, for Belgium.
Our Club Cabin was perfect for our needs, giving that little extra space and a more relaxing feel, we think it’s worth the little extra price for a little more peace and quiet away from all those school trips staying on blue deck – not as though there’s anything wrong with school trips, but with 100+ kids, there is noise!
The sunrise view from our cabin was fantastic and set us up for the day – it’s a small thing but what a feeling it gave us.
Camping Memling was, as usual, perfect and we found ourself in a nice corner of the site which had a nice mix of sun & shade on the hot days that followed.
Another slight accident, I trapped my thumb in the door again when putting the screen cover on – I’ll leave it off next time before I lose a thumb! ouch, it really hurt but at least no one saw me do it.
This holiday was all about rest & relaxation and we had plenty of that.
Cycling into Brugge each day, along the canals and cobbled streets, just what the doctor ordered.
I even had time to fly my new drone, or attempt to that is……
I think I need a little more practice.
Even the boys were loving it and we found a new friend – personally, it scared the life out of me!
The end came pretty quickly and our last day was spent at the motorhome aire which was pretty busy this time but still excellent for a city centre visit on our last day.
As you can see, plenty of rest & relaxation before returning on the overnight ferry to Hull and back to work, until next time.
We never thought that we would get this far but there was a break in the weather and the roads had cleared, so off we went to Hull and hopefully we would see a little more snow whilst in Brugge, just to make it feel a little more like Christmas!
And we were not disappointed…….
Although there wasn’t much snow, it was enough to make it feel like magical, despite how cold it was.
Talking of magical, the Christmas Market was in full swing by the time we arrived and we just couldn’t help ourselves and had to have the usual hot chocolate and bradwurst which always goes down well despite our youngest wearing most of his across his face.
This year we decided to use the Ice rink, afterall how difficult could it be?
I am glad that i cannot find the photo’s of this experience as this just shows how much I underestimated my ability in front of hundreds of people – how embarrassing not to mention it makes your legs hurt!
We will be back next year and I am determined to navigate the circuit without the aid of small childs sliding chair – who am I kidding but at least it will be fun.
The snow cleared quite quickly and we had planned to go to DLP until we needed to return to the UK on Christmas Eve so off we went……
I’m not sure what it is about the drive from Brugge to Paris but this does not seem as tedious as the route from Calais which surprises me as you actually travel on the same roads for the majority of the journey.
It is no real surprise that we took up our usual parking spot in the “unsociable” section of the parking area (right at the back & far away from anoyone else) which is just how we like it & means that in the event of an autistic meltdown, we are well away from anyone else.
With a mist hanging over the parks, this added to the winter/festive feeling
What a magical time of year and this only gets better as it gets darker……..
Walt Disney Studio’s have seriously upped their game with a new show for the festive season and it was well worth the wait.
One final thing before setting off home was a meal at our favourite restaurant, the Silver Spur Steakhouse and disney would not be the same without it (or maybe thats my stomach speaking) with a big thank you to our waiter who took this photo for us.
Once again, things must come to an end, and that was the end of this trip but we look forward, as always, to coming back soon – my attempt at an unhappy face!
Predictable? Us? Never!!!!
You guessed it, were on our way back to DLP followed by a few days in Brugge to unwind & recharge the batteries……
We have decided to mix it up a little this time and travel from Dover to Calais on the outbound journey and return via Zebruggee & Hull which gave us time to revisit one of favourite places in the UK, Canterbury.
We booked into the Camping & Caravan Club site for 2 nights and we are never disappointed at this quiet and well maintained, friendly site. Being so close to the city is an advantage and there is a bus stop right outside.
It is perfect for our needs and although the New Dover Road, Park & ride site is probably better located for a couple of nights, I hate the fact that you can watch next doors TV and see what they are having for breakfast however that doesn’t mean that we would use this for the odd night in the future, just beware that it is a little cosy with a larger motorhome – just my thoughts anyway.
As usual, a very nice crossing with P&O and next stop DLP.
Perfect weather, perfect location.
Having been to DLP many times before, we always opt “NOT” to fill up with water here as we have experienced all sorts of goings on at the fresh water points and I’m not that bothered in washing in water from a tap used to rinse out toilets etc (I would never drink it anyway) so a good supply of bottled water is essential and not as much of an inconvenience as some would think so a little tip for anyone travelling in a campervan or motorhome to DLP – we take 5lt bottles from Sainsbury’s or Tesco and you can purchase 8lt bottles from Carrefour or Auchan if you need more, both are nearby with plentiful parking.
Not only were we in DLP, it was also my Birthday with cake & everything…………
My present from the boys brought a whole new meaning to ” a box of chocolates” as you can see and it took ages to get through all of these chocolate bars – honestly it did!
To celebrate we booked a table at the Silver Spur Steakhouse and although a little expensive for what you actually get ( which is what you expect on holiday anyway) it is alway’s great service and an excellent meal so I have no complaints at all especially with our complimentary alcohol free cocktails as part of our annual pass perks.
The rides and overall experience at DLP is just as it was when we first went in 2007 and we never tire of this – I guess this just goes to show that we never really grow up at all or maybe that’s just me.
After a day’s play in the parks, a nice relaxing night in our home on wheels, waiting for the fireworks at the end of the day.
We’ve come along way since our first visit to DLP with 2 small boy’s and hope that there’s many more visits to come as they enter young adulthood – I know that one day this will end but I’ll make the most of whilst it last’s.
All good things must come to end but at least were heading to Belgium and Camping Memling in Brugge for the next few days before taking the ferry back to Hull & home.
The campsite was undergoing a little work with most areas benefitting from new grass seed which caused us to park the opposite way on on our pitch but this is OK and didn’t cause us a problem and it’s only understandable that this has to happen so that everyone can enjoy it again next year.
We found that we were parked under a chestnut tree and they were in season so we threw a few to roast on the BBQ and they were delicious, a worth remembering for next year.
Brugge, in our opinion, is best seen and travelled, by bike, and we always take ours when visiting. It’s a 5 minute cycle ride to the local Supermarkets and only a 15 minute ride into the centre (direct) or a leisurly 20-25 minutes if you go via the canal side towards the rail station, either way, we were glad of the comfy seats we purchased from Auchan, these were much better than the ones initially fitted.
Another great stay and on the day of departure we like to park in the aire – for info check out the link below:
This has electricity, water, waste disposal and litter bins and a stones throw away from the centre. Entry is via a barrier and you simply take a ticket, park up and pay at the nearby paystation when you leave (located just across the road in the coach park)
This will obviously get busy at certain times of the year but as we pick our times carefully, we never have a problem with finding a space.
If you head out of the aire on foot, you pass the coach tour drop off/pick up point and there is a nice little ice cream van “waffles on wheels” where you can buy tea/coffe/ice creams/waffles etc and all at a reasonable price.
As far as parking for the day goes, it is expensive but it is convenient as you don’t want to arrive at the Port too early and you may aswell enjoy a day in the city before setting sail…….
Oh well, that’s it for now but we’ll be on our travels soon enough, this time a visit to Brugge for the Christmas Market and maybe, just maybe, we may see a little snow.
Having had our usual crossing from Hull, expensive at approx £800 return, but well worth it when visiting Belgium without the need to drive all the way down to Dover or the Channel Tunnel, we parked up a what is becoming a regular home from home for us.
Camping Memling and at approx 40 Euro’s per night for us all, it’s not the cheapest but you do get the use of some excellent facilities including showers, toilets, free wifi, useful information points and attentive wardens who are only too happy to assist you should it be required.
With bright blue skies and our family in tow, we headed for another visit to one of favourite places on earth – Brugge.
Not sure what it is about this place but we never seem to get bored with it and theres always something new for us to do & see.
Whether you see the sights by foot, carriage, bus, cycle or even a segway, this is one of the most beautiful cities you could ever visit and with Hot chocolate to die for, what could be better?
Having been many times before, all without bikes, we decided that enough was enough, and we would throw the bikes on the back of Rio and cycle on some of Belgiums excellent purpose built cycle ways.
HELLO UK – we could learn a thing or two about the successful integration of all modes of transport!!!!
The journey from our campsite towards Kruispoort and then along the canal before an ice cream at “waffles on wheels” which is located at the Coach tour drop off point and just a perfect place for a short break before continuing on our way – cycling was never this much fun as a kid………
6 Nights at Camping Memling, Brugge with lots of walking & cycling, one day, all of this exercise might actually pay off!
With new aches and pains we left Brugge behind and headed for the next phase of our somewhat predictable vacation, Disneyland Paris.
Routine is the order of the day for our family and a must when travelling with autism however as we get more inquisitive about what else is out there our plans are changing but we always plan and do things as a family, for now anyway…………
I think we deserved a nice pizza after the journey and what a place to sit back & enjoy it.
Big Thunder Mountain looking and running fantastic after major refurbishment prior to the 25th Anniversary Celebrations – this is our favourite ride here, well mine at least!
No matter how old you are, theres always something here which will make you smile and our grins usually go from ear to ear.
As night falls, the park takes on a whole new appearance and WOW, what a show.
We will be back later in the year, making the most of our Annual Passes before we have to renew them – A Bientot Disneyland.
After having such a great time in September, we couldn’t wait to get back on the road and our Winter vacation began with our favourite crossing from Hull to Zeebrugge.
But wait! Oh No! Rio the motorhome would not start – flat battery, how on earth could this be, everything was OK last weekend but after a quick trip home to get the jump leads and connecting to our V6 Landrover, Rio sprang back into life – phew!
Despite this delay and chasing around the local towns for a bloody game that the boy’s wanted, we finally headed off along the M1 towards Hull.
We still arrived in plenty of time and was surprised that we were 1st in the queue.
Safely loaded on board the Pride of York, we headed for our cabin.
It was well worth the little extra for a Club cabin, more room for the 4 of us, bigger bathroom and free drinks in the fridge…..
Outbound we got a 4 bunk cabin which was OK but we do prefer the Double bed option when it’s available, luckily we have this for the return journey on the Pride of Brugge.
There wasn’t much to see by the time we set sail so we headed for dinner in the Kitchen restaurant and as our youngest son reminds us – it’s all you can eat! and theres always plenty of choice.
A walk around the outside deck after dinner definitely blew away the cobwebs before the boys headed back to the cabin as they were now getting withdrawal symptoms after being away from their I pads for so long……
I away’s take a look where the safety equipment is………
After a very smooth crossing we took a stroll outside before we docked in Zeebrugge. What a beautiful morning to be alive and not at work!
A short drive and we were at Camping Memling, our home for the next 4 days.
Having had a minor mishap with the cab door, the silver screen, my right thumb, and a little dance of pain, we were set up and ready to se the sights of the beautiful city and sample the delights of the Christmas market.
The ice rink looked so cool and we couldn’t wait for the sun to go in and all the festive lighting effects to be switched on .
In the words of Ralph Fiennes, Magical, is the only way to describe what we thought.
Mmmmmm, Bradwurst followed by a hot chocolate – just what you need to keep you going on a cold December evening.
Here we are at last.
I have been getting around to this post for the last 8 weeks, not sure where the time has gone but better late, than never, as they say!!!!
Brugge has become a bit of a travelling must for us over the last couple of years and theres something about this city which just keeps on bringing us back and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.
A short drive from the ferry port and we were in Brugge and despite the unsigned diversion and road closures we really put all our faith in the Sat Nav to get us where we needed to be – thank you Garmin.
We arrived at our campsite early and whilst we could check in from 11am, we were OK to check in early despite the site being rather busy, definitely the busiest we have seen it but we took up our pitch at the side of the toilet/shower block which at the time, we were not too happy about but I’ll let you know how this went a little later on in this blog.
Carrefour was next on the agenda and off we set for the 10 minute walk from Camping Memling to the supermarket for the things we didn’t bring with us from the UK such as fresh meat for the BBQ and they do a rather nice “Marma” cake ,oh yes, and the Belgian mayonnaise is much nicer than Hellman’s stuff from home so we always make sure we have a good supply to last until next time we come.
After a relaxing Day 1 we were ready to take the 35-40 Minute walk into the centre of Brugge. It is really easy to find from our campsite although I do think that the pavements leave a little to be desired and are narrow with an adverse camber but you don’t meet that many pedestrians until you’re in the City itself but watch out for the cyclists – beware, do not walk in the cycle lanes, which there are plenty of in Brugge, in fact we decided to purchase our own cycles for our next visit – maybe!!!!!
Day 2 – Having already seen the city by boat, horse drawn carriage and bus, we saw a group of tourists exploring the City on Segway’s – I think that I’ll give that a miss – I’m clumsy enough as it is.
Frites, from the fast food hut in the square, a walk around taking in the sites of the city, a walk around the food & drink market with some of the biggest cheeses i’ve seen finished off with the most delicious cup of hot chocolate that i’ve ever experienced – for €3.50 we got a cup full of piping hot chocolate with a twist, a stick of chocolate through the top which slowly melted. I’m sure that there should have been a health warning on the side but who cares when it tastes that good. We will all be heading back there when we next visit.
A stroll around the Koningin Astrid Park finished off the perfect day, no wait!
A visit to Chocoholic was the prefect end to the day with purchases of our favourite Chocolates and Fudge which would go down later that evening with a nice glass of Non Alcoholic plonk and a very competitive game of scrabble.
I can’t remember who won but the chocolate covered fudge was nice.
Day 3 and we wanted to take a look at the Motorhome Aire which was near to the railway station and after a quick look on google maps, it looked like a similar distance from our campsite, as the centre of Brugge – how wrong I was. it seemed to take forever but at least it was a very nice, picturesque walk along the canal.
When we finally arrived at the Aire, I was impressed by the facilities and the fact that there were 2 parts to it, 1 for overnight parking and the other for parking between 8am and 10pm and both with electricity, water, waste disposal and all at a reasonable rate.
After a very, very long walk, we found a little ice cream van near to the coach park and we highly recommend visiting “the waffle wagon” We didn’t have waffles but the Ice creams were to die for……….
This set us up ready for the walk back to Camping Memling and went some distance in getting me out of the doghouse for getting the distance slightly wrong – ooppps!
On the way back we came across this – any ideas?
Some sort of modern art which was supposed to move every 15 minutes and I can tell you that we didn’t hang around to watch the weird wooden bloke move but think that this was in a strange place (at the side of the canal) and would be more at home in a gallery but I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason for this.
If I was a drinking man then we may have decided to stay here for a little tipple on our way back but having a very serious allergy to alcohol, I admired the fantastic use of recycled shipping containers that this bar was made up of – that made me think that with all the surplus containers knocking around, there should never be any homelessness in the world but that’s an idea for a whole new blog.
Our last night saw us enjoy another game of scrabble, still can’t remember who won though! Then after a good nights sleep we were off for phase 3 of our summer vacation.
PS. I did say that I would let you know how we went on with the pitch at the side of the toilet block, well, we never noticed it was there. We didn’t hear any noise or disturbed by anyone using the facilities and would happily use the same pitch in the future – just shows that you need to keep an open mind sometimes.