Fortunately I slept well, which was a relief as today I was driving north. We said reluctant goodbyes to Dominique and Tinsel, and left Hour behind, at least for the short term. To avoid driving round Brussels we bypassed Namur and instead followed motorways parallel to the border with France. They were in not such a good state of repair as they’re not toll roads, but given the state of some of the roads in the UK, we weren’t going to complain.

We stopped at Mons for a much needed coffee, and then headed north to Veurne. By now we were both getting hangry, and Rich helpfully started suggesting places where we could stop to eat, after we’d passed them. Fortunately I spotted the t’Molenhof restaurant sign out of the corner of my eye, so did a u-turn and parked up right outside. Little were we to know that we’d stumbled across one of the best places to eat in the whole region, so popular in fact that it’s on the Podges Belgian Beer tour itinerary, hence the deluge of English accents when we entered the restaurant. They were on day one of a six day tour, and much to the amusement of the party of locals enjoying their work Christmas do, were already worse for wear, although jolly with it.

We were presented with a complimentary starter of pickled herring, pate and two types of local sausage, and then our glorious mains arrived – Rich had fresh scampi in a chili and garlic sauce, whilst I had a tagine of chicken and pig cheeks. Both dishes were stunning, and even with a side order of chips and two large bottles of water, only came to 45 euros in total – an absolute bargain given the quality and amount of food.

With full bellies we then headed to our final stop in Belgium – the Hof Van Eden B&B, in the middle of the polder. We were greeted by a dog the size of a small house, and a cat that apprently thinks it’s a dog, and who after having gone missing for a year, had only just returned the day before. My cat attraction powers obviously haven’t waned. We were given a huge room at the top of the house, complete with double bed, single bed and sofa, and whilst Rich napped the French Pyrenean dog and cat took me for a walk down the road. I met the guesthouse goats, two peacocks, and another two cats, before having to submit to the bitterly cold wind and head back to the house.

As the only guests, dinner was freshly cooked and gluten free. Unfortunately, our hostess had forgotten about my allergy to mussels, and I started to panic inside when as she cleared away the soup dishes, she mentioned that the fish in the soup had been cooked in a stock containing mussels. I desperately hoped that it was just one or two mussels, otherwise the night and following day would be a very unpleasant one. Fortunately I didn’t fall ill, although I did become so bloated that it was difficult to fall asleep. Eventually sleep happened though, and after a scalding hot shower the following morning – the shower only seemed to have one setting, we set off back to Dunkirk to catch the ferry home.

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