Europe Roadie Part 1 – Belgium, Netherlands and Germany

Well hello anybody that is still half interested in our blog. So it has proven to be a big mistake not to take our laptop around europe. Internet cafes seem to be a thing of the past now…… So sorry it has been so long for an update, but here we go with a big one.

Belgium

The whole adventure started at about 3am on sunday the 1st of july. We were up and amping and before you know it heading down the highways making our way to Dover for the first ferry crossing the channel. We drove onto the ferry after driving on the left side of the road and drove off into france driving on the right hand side of the road. Had to learn quick but we managed well and havnt had any problems. So we soon hit the highway and were out of france and into belguim before we knew it. We arrived to our first destination Brugge at about midday. Was crazy to think we had been in 3 countries already and it was only lunchtime on day 1.

Brugge was a really beautiful place to stop first. City centre was surrounded by a lake, which felt more like a moat as it had big old wooded archways over the little bridges leading in. In Brugge we cycled around the old cobbled streets, went up the famous belfry (bell tower) overlooking the magnificant square, had our first portion of belgium frittes covered in mayo and bought our first ornament as a token of places we have been. We now have a van full of tacky ornaments, which i think are awesome and will look good on a mantle piece one day. Nat has different ideas though……

So from Brugge we headed to Brussels via Ghent. Quickly stopped at Ghent for a beer down by the canal. Seemed like the thing to do. Heaps of people just take their own beers down to the canal and sit on the waters edge socialising in their groups. Was quite a cool little hang out spot. Eventually made it into Brussels later that night. There are no campsites in Brussels, so we did our first park up on the side of the road. Parked up next to a big park, Seemed pretty good at the time, but when we woke up there was a man in army dress holding a rifle outside the building on the otherside of the road. Luckily it was just a consolate and he was a guard and not after us….. In Brussels we had our first belgium waffles with an epic white hot chocolate. Pretty much just melted chocolate mixed with milk. Also did a little explore of the city and stumbled across horse jousting in one of the squares which was part of a festival of some sorts. And then we brought our first box of chocolates. Belguim chocolates definately lived up to the reputation.

From Brussels we did a quick stop into Mechalen and Antwerp before driving up into the bottom of Netherlands. In Antwerp we both got a traditional belguim dish for lunch. Nat got traditional beef stew and i got meatballs with celery. Sounds weird but was actually really good. So was a fairly quick trip through Belguim, but we saw most of the good stuff and ate all of the good stuff.

Netherlands.

Started off at a really nice campsite in town called Hellevoelsluis. The town had a nice marina, funky coloured houses, a tiny car (just someones privately owned one, but was super funny), and a massive old school windmill (was the first of many).

So we hit the road and made our way to a beach town called Katwijk. On the way we stopped at a small town Kinderdijk, which is famous for its millions of windmills. We hired some bikes here and rode through the countryside and checked them out up close for ourselves. We also stopped at 2 other small towns called Delft and Leiden. Delft is famous for its pottery. Not my cup of tea, but there you go for all you pottery fans. We eventually arrived in Katwijk. We were hoping and expecting a nice little beach town with a cool little campsite. Turned out it was a massive holiday destination and was the busiest campsite out of all the ones we had stayed in so far. Stayed one night and got out of there quickly and headed for Amsterdam……….

We got ourselfs a nice little spot at a campsite just on outskirts of city centre, but just a quick train ride in. In Amsterdam we explored the city and the canals on bikes, went and did the heineken experience (think we broke even with the amount of free beers we had), saw all the coffee shops (didnt go in though……), and went and checked out the red light district. Also got to catch up with some friends Peggy and her man Kim. Was a very messy night but awesome to catch up. Stayed 3 nights in Amsterdam. Is a pretty cool city and well worth the visit. From here we headed into north of Germany…..

Germany.

Our first stop in Germany was small town called Hamelin, The town is famous for the pied piper story. We followed the rat trail through town and went and visited all the pied piper spots. The town prides itself on the pied piper, and not alot else. From here we drove onto a small town called Luneburg, which is known as the wobbly town. All the buildings are on the piss and bulging out at the bottom and look like the want to fall over. Apprently its like this because the town was once mined for salt and the ground is giving away. The steeple of the main church is over 2metres out of level. From here we stayed north of hamburg at a site in the middle of nowhere. Next day we visited small town called Lubeck, which is famous for its marzipan chocolate. We then drove into Hamburg. Did an explore of the city seeing some of the main sites. Saw the old docks, which were pretty cool and saw a random building called the chillihouse that was built to look like a massive ship. But the best thing we did here was have a beer on the terraces on the lake and then run off with the beer glass. So we now have an official Duckstein beer glass as a souvenir. Next stop Berlin.

Checked into campsite outside of berlin, but only a quick train and tram in.Think we spent a few nights here in the end as there is alot to see and do. While we were here we saw the Riechstag (masive building where Hitler held power), all the old buildings where nazi party leaders and top officials lived including Hitler, Brandenburg gate which is the main gate to the city, Checkpoint Charlie (checkpoint seperating east and west berlin while the wall was still up), and the east-side gallery which is the longest remaining stretch of wall and is full of meaningful graffiti bombings. Also tried my first currywurst which is just a sausage covered in curry sauce. Little weird but tasted good. And that was Germany….

Of course there was still the autobahn, where we only ever hit 101kph top speed. Will definately be heading back there one day in a way faster car.

More updates coming!!!

Nick and Nat

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