We left Windsor a bit earlier than planned, remembering the volume of traffic we encountered on the way here. Just as well – not quite as bad, but it allowed us to catch an earlier ferry, and given the heat, traffic and distance, this worked out well. Great crossing to Calais – this has been Channel smooth as … both ways now. Apart from rowdy kids on the ferry (who looks after these school groups? Surely a profession soon to be sainted?)
Nipped out of France and into Belgium. Clipping along at a stately 110km/h, I asked Niki to take a couple of photos. Unfortunately, given the speed, Niki’s reactions, and the size of Belgium, this is all she got.
Overnight at Gouda. What a lovely town! Spent the evening wandering around a very different type of town square, with an absolutely stunning church just off to the side. Check out St Jan’s Kerk for unbelievable stained glass windows. Apparently, given the soil, foundations could not support a high structure, so the burghers went long, building Holland’s longest church. If we’d had a few more hours we would have paid out the €15 fee, but as we were on a mission to buy cheese and stroopwaffels, culture had to wait.
The stroopwaffels were Niki’s reward for a very stressful day navigating up roads that seemed to take on every characteristic possible. At one point our GPS (need to think up a suitable name for her!) had us crossing 4 lanes of traffic to get into the far left freeway lane, and immediately changed her mind, sending us across 6 lanes in the opposite direction, just in time to take the exit. I don’t blame her, as there were lanes going off to Dordrecht in a multitude of directions, none of which seemed to be heading to Gouda. And then, to end the day, we missed the turnoff to Klein Amerika carpark, ended up going down a very nice street that was easily wide enough for the campervan. I was surprised, a few minutes later, to note that it was a one-way as we headed down in the opposite direction. 50% right is OK I guess? Anyway, before that point, we turned into a pedestrian road, were halted by a very nice old lady who shooed us back. Created a little confusion amongst the oncoming cyclists as we did a 6 point turn, but they wisely decided that their street would be returned to them if they waited a moment. Headed back down the one-way up street to see our little old lady in the middle of the road, waving a page with 4 arrows drawn to direct us to the parking spot. Helpful people, the Dutch. Lined up with the other campers, paid our €8 parking fee, accessed the free dumpsite, fresh water AND free electricity (England, paying attention?) and settled down in the afternoon heat. Seriously – need to get to that Arctic Circle before I melt!