Category Archive

Parc naturel des Plaines de l’Escaut, Belgium Parc naturel des Plaines de l’Escaut, Belgium

In Peruwelz… we found ourselves still within the region encompassed by the Eurometropolis Blue Park and the both of us were loving it. After a day of rain, the weather at last cleared enough, off to Peruwelz went we: our destination L’Escale Forestiere  – or in English ‘Scheldt Plain Nature Park House’. This was another […]

Leers – Nord to Perwelz, Belgium Leers – Nord to Perwelz, Belgium

A midmorning start, this was our last day on the Roubaix – L’Espierres – Spierekanaal. It almost defied belief, but the landscape became increasingly more beautiful: strongly reminiscent of the Midi with its towering avenues of trees that lined the canal sides. Two more sets of moorings at kilometres five and eight were right in […]

Roubaix, France to Leers Nord, Belgium Roubaix, France to Leers Nord, Belgium

Our days in the Roubaix area at an end, nine o’clock found the boys ready and waiting at the lock and Gratis was raring to go. Lines off, down she motored and straight as an arrow in went Big G. What a beautiful old bridge was this! On exiting Lock 11, we were greeted with […]

Wambrechies to Roubaix, France Wambrechies to Roubaix, France

The Roubaix/L’Espierres/Spiere Canal Two kilometres south of Wambrechies is the Canal de Roubaix, a connector between the French Deule and Belgian Haute – Escaut.  It’s an interesting set up in this instance, for although a short run of 28.80km in total, the system runs through France (the Roubaix – 20km), Wallonia (the L’Espierres – 7km) […]

Veurne, Belgium to Dunkerque, France Veurne, Belgium to Dunkerque, France

Travel the Nieuwpoort – Dunkerque and Furnes Canals Summer had at last arrived and with it, the duckweed!!!! With clear blue skies and a heat that rivals that found in Adelaide on a normal summer’s day, Gratis was on the move once more. What a difference to last year’s cold and rain! In order to […]

Veurne, Belgium Veurne, Belgium

A Small Town With A Lot Of History After a week in Corfu where we visited our possible second yacht, Bob and I returned to Veurne. Having spent a short few hours here last year, a was a delight having the time to explore past the town’s market square. The town was founded in approximately […]

Fintele to Veurne, Belgium Fintele to Veurne, Belgium

The Lovaart (Lok/Lo) Canal What an exquisitely beautiful fourteen and a half kilometre section of waterway and countryside. Having spoken to the lock keep er the afternoon before, 9am saw the lines released, and the heritage Fintele lock entered. With its sloping bricked sides aligned in blooming masses of colour, the water slowly rose. The […]

Poperinge, Belgium Poperinge, Belgium

Situated in the low foothills of the Kemmelberg, a formation of hills in Western Flanders, and a mere fifteen kilometres from Fintele is the village of Poperinge. Our destination for the day, our journey’s path also led us through some beautiful farming villages. The township itself has some beautiful buildings, cells where British soldiers were […]

Fort Knokke to Fintele, Belgium Fort Knokke to Fintele, Belgium

Continuing upon the Ijzer, the day’s destination was Fintele, a short 6km away. We didn’t think the scenery where only distant church spires denoted the presence of townships could become any more picturesque, but it did. With a depth of mostly 1.8m, there was only one point at which Gratis gently rose and fell: we […]

Ieper and the Yeper Museum: Ypres, Belgium Ieper and the Yeper Museum: Ypres, Belgium

Yesterday we discovered that for 13 euro each, we could see both Ín Flanders Fields and the Yeper Museums, so Bob and I purchased the tickets to both: that for the latter was valid for three days, such a bonus! As with ‘In Flander’s Fields’ Museum, this too was situated in the old cloth hall. After yesterday’s emotional […]

In Flanders Fields Museum: Ypres or Ieper, Belgium In Flanders Fields Museum: Ypres or Ieper, Belgium

‘In Flander’s Fields’ was the plan today, and an emotionally charged journey it was, too! At times, I had to move on: it was that or burst into tears. Short movies depicting the views and memories of soldiers or medicos long gone, whilst another made use of drone technology to capture today’s landscape, assisting in telling the […]

Diksmuide to Fort Knokke, Belgium Diksmuide to Fort Knokke, Belgium

This morning Gratis enjoyed a short motor of 7km on the Ijzer as it wended and wound its way through more of the famous Flanders Fields scenery that became ever more picturesque this morning. Waterlilies, dragon flies, reeds and, of course, the fields of crop which today were interspersed with tiny reed lined channels fed […]

Dodengang, the Trench of Death: Diksmuide, Belgium Dodengang, the Trench of Death: Diksmuide, Belgium

At Dodengang, the Le Boyau de l’Yser otherwise known as the Boyau de la Mort or in English, Trench of Death, was situated on a narrow section of land that ran parallel to the Ijzer, and is now the last remaining portion of the Belgian WWI Western Front. This was where, in October 1914, the […]

Museum Aan de Ijzer: Diksmuide, Belgium Museum Aan de Ijzer: Diksmuide, Belgium

Flanders Fields contain so many monuments, cemeteries and museums dedicated to those hundreds of thousands people killed that it would take a person months to view it all. Bob and I have decided to focus on just a few places on the list, and several are in, or near, Diksmuide. Just across the river Ijzer, […]

Westhoek Marina, Nieuwpoort to Diksmuide: Belgium Westhoek Marina, Nieuwpoort to Diksmuide: Belgium

Having exited our night’s berth, I turned Gratis away from the lock and motored her to the bottom of the marina. Turning to her to port we followed the channel down to the entrance of the Ijzer. Our destination of Diksmuide was only a couple of hours motor down the track. The peaceful river wound […]

Brugge to VVW Westhoek Nieuwpoort, Belgium Brugge to VVW Westhoek Nieuwpoort, Belgium

It is best to be at the first bridge in Brugge by 9 for the morning convoy run. If missed, there can be long waits for the late comer. For us, this was a gentle rerun of our journey of last year, except no rain. An unusual lift bridge along the way. Arriving at the lock […]

Zwin Nature Reserve, Belgium Zwin Nature Reserve, Belgium

  With our New Zealand friends joining us this day, we took the train from Brugge to Heist, then completed the remaining 6km journey to the Zwin by bike. What a delightful dune and heath landscape this was, with its large tidal lagoons, tall grasses and multitudes of flora in bloom. Nosy geese peered, storks fed, horses […]

Drongengoedbos, Belgium Drongengoedbos, Belgium

Drongengoedbos was created when the monks of the nearby Drongen abbey decided to set aside the area for the sole purpose of forestry – hence the wood’s name. Sections of the enclosure and buildings constructed for the monks who worked there still exist today. A small café/restaurant has been opened in here and the quiet […]

Zeebrugge, Belgium Zeebrugge, Belgium

One of Bob’s wishes was to visit Zeebrugge where he could explore the marine shop and marina. Today was it! Roughly a 30km round trip, the weather was in our favour. The township, itself really was a true seaport town that, from the number of shops and apartments closed, appeared to be experiencing a slump in the […]

Damme, Belgium Damme, Belgium

A pleasurable sixteen kilometre round journey from Brugge led us first along the Damme Canal, then through stunning countryside full of crops to the medieval township of Damme and back. Although its 7 star shaped walls are currently in the state of restoration, sadly much of the original old town has disappeared, the casualty resultant […]