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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Ostend day 2

Everything went perfectly for the start of our trip . Taxi arrived on time, Nova tours bus arrived on time and we even made it to the ferry terminal in Dover on time,at least 30 minutes before departure. The usual border checks were carried out, every passport scanned, but hey, these officials are good at what they do and within a few minutes the coach was on the ramp to the Ferry.

A very smooth crossing, mores the pity. We like the sea a bit rough. Anyway on debarkation it was off to the Royal Astor Hotel, past the Jungle ( the migrant refugee camp) and then a 90 minute journey to what I can only describe as a very boring with hardly anything of interest as the land is so flat. It had it's moments when a car past us with what looked like a Yorkshire terrier driving in the front seat! Ah of course... here in France they drive on the wrong side of the road and the steering wheel's on the left. Travelling along the road next to Plassendale and Nieuwport canal in Belgium and the most noticeable thing was how straight it was. Mile upon mile of canal right next to the road and it looked as if moorings were few and far between. Couple of lift bridges to ease the monotony before it again stretched on far into the distance.

L to R Heather, Dave, Dennis, Ian and Margaret enjoying the Ferry crossing

Calais in the distance

All around the Port, razor wire to stop the immigrants

Migrant "Jungle" camp

 Hotel was not what we expected. The only good thing to say was the food excellent but no tea or coffee facilities in the rooms and if we wanted a coffee after dinner this had to be purchased at the bar. Bathroom had a cracked sink and was so hot in the bedroom to make sleep almost impossible.
We did go out for a walk after dinner just to get the lie of the land and found quite a nice Brasserie to sit and have a drink.   Leffe blond was the beer and one of our party Carole decided to have a large glass. This is what she got.

They swore it was just a pint but I'm not so sure.

Square in Oostende (Belgium spelling) almost deserted.
Day 2
Breakfast was okay although none of the hot food was hot. All you could eat so wasnt really complaining, after all fill ourselves up and no need for lunch.
Today's excursion was to Brugge. A bit like Venice with the canals surrounding the city so we treated ourselves to a 30 minute boat trip. Rather fancied the horse drawn carriage but at 50 Euro seemed rather expensive.

Greart Horse drinking trough

Needed to duck for this bridge

Called the Lock house, sluices can be seen through the bridge.

Came back from the trip to find our room not made up. After going down to reception we were told all the staff had gone home so we had to do the beds ourselves. After the amount we paid for the
trip one expects to have a decent maid service! And not only that but our soap dispenser was leaking making a huge mess on the bathroom floor! Anyway as we arrived back by 3pm we decided to test the pool. After a 20 minjute swim both of us were knackered. Soooo out of condition. Tonight we sample the local beer and wines in the hotel. From 8.30pm to midnight it's all free. How good is that !!!

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