Kiri and


A Ghent Gent and an Antwerp… Twerp?

April 28th, 2014 (by Steve)

Planning is everything in motorhoming. Everything is reduced to what you’re carrying; water, gas, electricity, fuel, food etc. Due to our meticulous planning, therefore, we certainly did not run out of gas, bread, milk and fruit only to find out that it was a public holiday. We definitely didn’t turn up at an LPG station, connect the hose and then realise it was closed and there is no chance that we turned up at Lidl on Easter Monday expecting to be let in. Or maybe we did all of the above. Doh.

Empty, we headed towards Ghent. Our research on things to do there had yielded the encouraging phrase of “buy a one way ticket to Bruges, Antwerp, Brussels or anywhere that isn’t Ghent”, but we ploughed on nevertheless with a spring in our step (or maybe that’s just Bertha’s suspension?!). Once there, we located some bread, milk and fruit in a 24 hour shop and warned our fridge not to use too much of the remaining gas. Our surroundings were pretty funky and grungy; right next to a motorway underpass, with an adventure playground next door… oh, and a tram line within walking distance. Any city that has trams HAS to be good.


The following morning, we wandered into Ghent from where we’d parked up; about a 45 minute walk or so. On the way we spotted a vending machine for bread (a day late!) and I was probably a little too excited when I was asked to specify exactly which banknotes I wanted from an ATM. Now we’re not normal when it comes to visiting cities (as you may have gathered from the last sentence and our other blog posts), so once we’d seen the pretty sides of Ghent (it really is lovely), we moved to find something that had caught our eye in the “hidden gems” category.


A pathway where you can do what you like with a tin of spray paint. Now that’s our kind of fun! Not having any cans with us (we’ve never actually tried spray painting seriously, but would both love to), we meandered down the alleyway as one might move through an art gallery… but in a slightly grungier way. Hmmm, did we really? Maybe we just walked normally… anyway, we passed a few people painting big words, then came across a couple of guys with a bit more ambition. One was painting a grungy figure on a motorbike, the other painting a futuristic flying car. These guys knew how to handle spray cans obviously. We leaned against a wall opposite (having first checked that it was dry!), and watched the masters at work. I don’t think we could have been happier watching a sculptor at work, or an actor, or a dancer, or a watercolour artist, or a cellist… it was just a real privilege to be there. It was over too soon though; the artists had to go off and do something and promised they would be back that evening… we expressed disappointment that we’d not be around, and one gave us a photocopy of the sketch he’d done for the motorbike and the other his business card; Suitably grungy name. Nice. We headed back to Bertha, content (having also made friends with a zebra… as you do!).


The following morning, a fire engine cherry picker stopped in front of Bertha, raised its ladder, then drove off. Very random.


Having gone from Bruges to Ghent, we fancied a change from city visits, so opted to stop in a little village on the way to Antwerp. The motorhome parking was right next to a dyke and we felt like we got a bit of a taste of Belgian village life. Everyone seems so laid back and chilled and healthy in this country; we love it! Maybe it’s due to all of the cycling? In a similarly leisurely vein (try saying that after a Brugse Zot!), when we moved on, we only travelled 4 miles down the road to another little village where we again had a marvelously chilled day before we hit Antwerp. It’s a bit of a shame that we missed the asparagus festival though.


Now when we were in Ghent, I received an email from a family member, addressed to The Ghent Gent (which I appreciated). I was reassured to find out that I wasn’t regarded as The Antwerp Twerp once we’d moved there. Once again, we were located a little outside the city, so had to walk in, but this walk provided probably the greatest highlights of the day; four 81 year old wooden escalators and a 500 metre long pedestrian tunnel under the river. I said we weren’t normal!


The city of Antwerp was pretty cool too and we appreciated the evidence we saw of it being quite arty. In one of the squares, a group of dancers/actors were filming a short scene; doing endless takes and the advertising in shops seemed to be a little out there and quirky. We like spotting things that aren’t necessarily on the tourist trail. The option of sewer tours was vaguely tempting, but by the time we’d found the entrance, we’d done quite a bit of walking and didn’t particularly fancy doing a whole lot more underground. Plus we were aware of the excitement of the escalators and pedestrian tunnel awaiting us on the way back to Bertha!


Once back in Bertha we settled down for our last night in Belgium, before we headed off towards the Netherlands. On the way out of Antwerp we might have had to re-route ourselves a little to avoid going through a tunnel that had a maximum vehicle weight of 1.5 tonnes. What’s that I said about planning?

All posts about Belgium

Bertha in Binche

A Ghent Gent and an Antwerp… Twerp?

In Bruges

Oil’s well that ends well

6 Responses

that must have been a great experience for you both keep up the good journey .enjoy.

It is all sounding good fun! I love city art and am surprised you were not tempted to join in with the wall painting. I am glad you had relaxing village time too. Spring is such a glorious season. We are off to the Peak district for the early May week; hoping to enjoy blossom and flowers and walks.
Enjoy your next point of call……….!

“buy a one way ticket to Bruges, Antwerp, Brussels or anywhere that isn’t Ghent”

Don’t remember being asked but that sounds almost exactly like what I would have said.

“four 81 year old wooden escalators”

King’s Cross. That is all.

Thanks all; it certainly is good fun. Have a great time in the Peak district, Jean… we would say that we’re jealous, but we’re having too much fun here; enjoy it for us. James, we did indeed discuss King’s Cross as we descended on the escalators…

Hi Kiri and Steve –

Loving your blog, really loving it. I’ve just had my Talbot for a few months now and what you’re doing is my reach goal, once I’ve got some more money and hopefully someone to come with me! In the meantime the UK is exciting me enough as it is, but it’s great to read about your journeys.

Just wanted to tell you that, as well as your writing and photography styles are great. A real inspirational pleasure, I’m quietly enjoying the back catalogue – thank you for taking the time to share.

Hi Larry – welcome to the Talbot club! These older vehicles are great πŸ™‚ Glad that you’re enjoying the back catalogue too… the photos are a mix of ones that we’re quite pleased with and some that aren’t that great as photos, but are good in terms of documenting our travels. We’ll try to keep blogging and getting photos up as we continue πŸ™‚

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