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Le Tour - Part Two

Dunkirk to Gent

semi-overcast -17 °C

We woke early on Monday morning and packed up camp. Now it’s important to note here that Jen and I purchased an excellent tent, which is produced by Quecha. It has a permanent frame, which is able to be packed down to a reasonably small size, and weighs only 1.5kg. This means you can, essentially, take it out of its bag … shake it a little… and it sits fully set up needing only to be pegged down. Fantastic! Perfect for someone like me. The instructions state that it can be setup in just 2 seconds… and it can. The instructions also state that it can be packed away in only 20 seconds. Suffice it to say that after a somewhat protracted period of folding, bending, pushing and squashing bits it was in its bag again. This was to be an on-going challenge for us and, as we observed throughout the trip, so too for many other campers following the tour. Anyway more on that later…

We drove down to the port at Dover and, after purchasing and fitting some headlight deflectors, we boarded the ferry and were on our way across the channel to Dunkirk. The previous evening had been a little cloudy however today the bright morning sun was shining on the cliffs and they certainly lived up to their name. We imagined the relief those young soldiers must have had upon spotting them in the distance and knowing they were soon to be back on home soil again. We took the mandatory snaps from the deck before settling in for a coffee at one of the lounge bars. The trip was over in a couple of hours and we were through customs and on the road… in France! Now we felt like the trip had truly commenced. Adam was at the wheel and had no problem in converting to life on the other side. I assume it was due to the time he spent in Sydney. We let out a collective “woooo”, exchanged high fives and we were on the road.

We would only be in France for a short while. From Dunkirk we headed across the northern tip of France to the Belgian border and about 150km further East to a town named Gent.

On route we stopped at Ieper and then walked further along the route to see the race pass at a little town named Boezinge,



Our spot

The Peleton passing

Boezinge Statue

pronounced Boo-zing-err which seemed somehow apt for Australians, then drove to Villiers-Brettoneaux. This is a place of enormous significance for Australians as a great many of our soldiers lay at rest there.



The area owes a great deal to the young men of the Allied forces who fought to protect the town. We visited the Franco - Australian museum which housed memorabilia including items donated by a Mt Eliza family. It underlined the link between this small town on the other side of the planet and a place so close to those at home.

We travelled a few kilometers to the allied war memorial before continuing to the finish line in Gent. Appropriately, Australian rider Robbie McKeon won the stage. We battled the massive crowd to catch a glimpse, and a few snaps, of him before searching for a place to camp. We eventually found a campsite in emmerang, or something like that, donned the Gilligan style promotional Skoda hats thrown to us from the carnival cars, had dinner and turned in.

Posted by StephenJen 04:16 Archived in Belgium

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