Two weeks into the adventure….

1st October 2017 – 5th October 2017

Leuven – Belgium.

We decided to stay in Andre’s yard for another night after our trauma. The following day on Andre’s recommendation, we made our way by a long walk and a bus journey into the town of Leuven. By car it would take around 30 minutes but our journey took around an hour and a half. But it was well worth it, it has one of the oldest universities in Europe or the world (founded in 1427) and the 15th Century Gothic Town Hall is absolutely stunning. The Town Hall has been copied in Brussels and the Brussels Town Hall itself has been copied in Vienna. They should have patented it ! The carved figures and filigree work is amazing and there are a scattering of bars, brasseries and restaurants all around the large square to take in the view of this amazing building. We witnessed a real live Belgium wedding, what a place to get married in, the hi-light for us though was the VW Camper that the bride arrived in. (Check out the photo) Friday is market day as well, an added bonus in my book, not so much David’s.

Troyes – Champagne France

This was a visit that was en route after leaving Belgium to start heading South. We covered the journey in two stages staying the previous night in a small but pretty site surrounded by trees, a splattering of small fishing lakes and poisonous mushrooms I was later to find out, very pretty they were though.

We stayed within walking distance of Troyes and walked in to the small town. It has a total of six churches and the Cathedrale Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul. Now, I love a church or a cathedral and go in them all and David bless him waits patiently outside with Chloe while I go inside. The same happened in Troyes as I went into the Cathedrale. It took my breathe away, it was beautiful. The sun was shining and the light was bursting through the stained glass onto me. I do not think I have been in a Cathedrale as beautiful, I came out and my enthusiasm was so great, that David went in to take a look. After meandering round, a very nice lunch with more alcohol we then tackled the 110 outlet shops just outside the town ( David did take alittle persuading !) The trouble is, with a Motorhome that is bursting at the seams with mainly my clothes, I was good and only purchased some running trainers. A runner, I hear you say. Well it was quite funny as the woman in the shop did ask how often did I run ? Never I said, but I was going to start. How often am I going to run? 3-4 times a week I said. David just laughed !

The first week ….

Wimeraux – Pas-De-Calais France
21st September 2017 – 23rd September 2017
We were recommended to visit here by dear friends and it must be good as they have been coming back now for over 45 years. Only 30 minutes from Calais and it is a beautiful little seaside town. A beach as long as the eye can see and a promenade filled with little beach huts. Now there are varying degrees of accommodation, from the Four Star Atlantic Hotel with the near Michelin star restaurant which would set you back 275 euros a night or a very nice campsite at 18 euros per night. Take your pick.
We were very lucky with the weather, the sun shone, clear blue skies and the shorts were out (well David at least !) Chloe the dog just loved the beach, but then she would be happy on any beach as long as someone was throwing a ball. The first evening we walked down to the beach we were followed by a horse and rider, who then proceeded to collect his small child when he got to the beach and give them the ride of their life along the sand.
We stayed in Wimeraux for 3 nights and then the problems started.
David had the heating system flushed out and new anti-freeze added before we left the UK but when we came to put the heating on when we were in Wimeraux, it just did not work. We thought it was a simple air block, David bled all the radiators and telephoned the person who carried out the work in the UK and still no joy. We decided to contact the Company that we purchased the Motorhome from in Belgium and they fitted us in to take a look. This meant a journey going North instead of going South, something that we had not envisaged for several months. We packed up and set off to Lokeran in Belgium.
All over Belgium
24th September 2017 – 30th September 2017
We arrived at Campingshow Verveat and spent all afternoon in the garage. We thought it would only take an hour or so to clear the air lock and then we would be off in search of the sun. Oh no, things never go to plan do they. David was so stressed, it has been a complete reversal. In the UK, I was the one that was completely stressed and David was the level headed one, always calming me down and being the one put it all in perspective. We have crossed the English Channel and I am now the one trying to stop David’s stress levels hitting the roof. It turned out that the pump was broke and we would need to have it replaced, fine, replace it. But no, the garage did not have one in stock and the wait time for the delivery from Germany to Belgium would be 5-6 weeks. David did say that he could cycle there and back in less time, even at current fitness levels. David then telephoned a supplier in the U.K. And guess what, next day delivery. Now how does that work, can someone enlighten me please. So we decided to leave the garage get to a campsite pour a gin and tonic and a vodka and orange and assess the situation.
Afew drinks later and a nights sleep, we decided to order the part in the UK have it delivered to the garage, have it fitted and off we go. It would mean hanging around in Belgium a little longer as we did not know when the garage would be able to fit us back in. However, when we rang the UK stockist back this morning there was a whole realm of forms to fill in to get the pump delivered to Belgium and it turned out that the pump we needed wasn’t actually in stock. They didn’t know when it would be in stock either. Guess how David’s stress levels are now !
Now David, always forwarded thinking and unknown to me had emailed three motorhome repair garages last night and one emailed back. Motorhome V.E.E in Varentstraat still in Belgium and they had the pump we needed and could fit it straight away, like today. It was like winning the lottery. We packed up with the speed of lightening and set off for the 2 hour drive to meet Andre our saviour (hopefully).
Now if you look at the website for V.E.E in Varentstraat you see a mass of motorhomes for sale and a huge operational site. We arrive via our trusted Motorhome Sat Nav to find a huge site that looked deserted with around 5 Motorhomes for sale and no life. It didn’t look promising. David ventured inside and afew minutes later I met Andre, a Belgium man in his mid-sixties. He works with his son who also makes parts for F-16 aeroplanes no less. We tell Andre what has happened so far and he gets to work after making coffee for us and piling us with loads of Belgium chocolate. No good for the diet ! Andre changes the pump quite easily but then he comes into the office shaking his head saying that it is a bigger job than he thought, as there is a blockage in the system. Could it get any worse, oh yes. It turns out that we didn’t need a new pump, there was just a huge air lock in the system.
So with a new pump fitted that we didn’t need, nearly £700 lighter in our pockets after two trips to garages, we are now sitting in our motorhome roasting. Andre was our complete saviour, it just goes to show never judge a book by it’s cover. If we had found Andre before going back to the garage we bought the Motorhome from we would have saved ourselves a new pump, money, time but more importantly less stress for David. We are now sitting in Andre’s yard drinking alcohol again.