We finally departed from Wrexham as the clock ticked over from 23:59 31/12/2009 to 00:00 01/01/2010. A new decade had begun, and the trip down to Dover was quiet and tiring, illuminated by the full moon and a few fireworks that were being fired into the sky to welcome in the new-year. During the ferry crossing to Calais we both slept, and when we awoke, we found ourselves in France to see the sun come up across the flat lands that stretch into Belgium.
Our first stop was Brugge. It was either that or Lille, but we had seen the film ‘In Brugge’ and decided to see if it really was like a fairytale. Trying to find somewhere to park I followed the signs for parking, only to find them leading us into a tunnel to an underground car-park where there were no warnings for the height clearance. The sound of crumbling concrete as the roofrack hit the ceiling was not a good sound, but luckily the only damage was the rooftent cover being torn and the car-park ceiling probably needing to be looked at by the local council.
Brugge is a very scenic city, but I wouldn’t call it a fairytale. [Nathan: Belgium is weird.] Not wanting to start eating into the budget by paying for lunch in a restaurant, we decided to cook a (tuna) curry in the car on a camping stove. It certainly wasn’t a delicacy, but it removed our hunger. Wanting to get to sleep we bought a few cheap beers from the nightshop next to the hostel and sat in the room chatting until all of the beers had been drank, and the alcohol had kicked in enough to send us straight to sleep. We finally got a well earned sleep and left early the next morning for another long journey to Freiburg in Germany.
We managed to pass through four countries by mid afternoon as our drive from Brugge took us through Brussels, Luxembourg and on into France and Germany. The brief stop in Luxembourg City was enough to stretch the legs and have a quick look around a strange place where France and Germany collide at the heart of Europe.
The onward journey to Freiburg was terrible. The roads were unlit, with no cats-eyes, and the windscreen washers on the Landrover had ceased functioning meaning the windscreen was constantly filthy.
We arrived in Freiburg to meet Christoph, an old freind of mine from my days spent in Manchester. We spent the evening eating, drinking and chatting, though we were still tired from the journey and retired to bed ready for the journey to Innsbruck the following day.