We knew we had a long drive Sunday, leaving Dol de Bretagne in Brittany and heading to Le Touquet we were making a detour to visit Amr’s cousin Magdy near Gacè in Normandy. Having missed a turning early in our first leg of the journey we ended up on smaller roads than intended, however this route was pretty much the same distance and timing as our planned route. However, we had a few closed roads and diversions, a few villages with Sunday markets also closing the roads so we took longer than planned. French diversions are great, they tell you the road is closed, point you in a diverted direction, then leave you to find your own way! We made it anyway and had a great catch-up with Madgy in his lovely cottage surrounded by orchards. Too soon we had to be on our way and reached Le Touquet in time for dinner. Luxury of a hotel, right on the beach, and had a walk along the boardwalk to stretch our legs before dinner. There were still a number of people windsurfing the waves, they were having a great time, lots of jumps and fancy tricks as they were pulled along by the strong wind. Having booked a sea view room we were given one with a view of the stairs and a huge wooden enclosure, so uncharacteristically, Amr complained and we were given another one which was much bigger but without a balcony, however with the wind blowing ferociously we weren’t bothered about that! Unfortunately the clouds prevented views of the sunset.
Monday 27th June
We had opted not to have breakfast in the hotel feeling it was overpriced and planned to eat locally before setting off. We had not bargained on nowhere, not even McCafe being open. Progressing we stopped at a centre commercial near Bologne for breakfast and replenishment of caffeine levels . A further stop at Cité Europe in Calais, carefully avoiding Sangatte, for sans alcohol champagne supplies before stopping in Dunkirk for a spot of lunch. We have driven through Dunkirk before but never stopped so we enjoyed a stroll, observing one of the churches and its many shell holes a relic of the war. Not finding anywhere we fancied for lunch we bought some sandwiches and stopped by the river to eat them.
The journey along the Belgian coast was along the side of the sea and beautiful beaches which are obviously very popular judging by the vast number of holiday apartment buildings. Not many brave soles on the beaches today though, decidedly chilly with a cold wind.Arriving in Bruges we found ourselves winding through the narrow streets to find our hotel which is located just off the main square with great views from our window. We set off for a walk round before sitting outside in the pleasant evening to eat moules frite, our favourite dish! Declining desert as we had purchased chocolate ( who can resist Belgian chocolate) on our way we were on our way up to our room in the list when I saw in the menu for the hotel restaurant Dame Blanche, our favourite ice cream, without a word, as we arrived at our floor Amr immediately pressed the button for the restaurant, saying, to pot with the football if they’re serving Dame Blanche!!