Bruges (West Flanders), Belgium June 2022

Earlier today we began our 6th European Tour in the Van. It is 29 June 2022. It is late at night and we are back in the Van (at Camping Memling) on the outskirts of Bruges having enjoyed a very pleasant evening wandering the town and sampling the local beers. Well, I tried the local beers while Vanya stuck to a couple of French wines.

The events of the day prior to our arriving at Camping Memling are best forgotten but, regardless, I am going to summarise them here. That way there is always a chance I might at the start of our next tour look back on the events of this morning and not repeat them. I wish.

Our first mistake was to take the coast road from Brighton to Folkestone. We left at 08.45 and arrived at the Eurotunnel Check-In point at 12.50. The more circuitous route via the M23, M25 and M20 would have been at least an hour quicker. Our second mistake was to assume that the dog’s Spanish Pet Passports (absent the Rabies jabs) would be read in conjunction with their old UK Pet Passports (which confirms that the dogs current Rabies jabs are valid until the Summer of 2023). Silly mistake. The authorities politely but firmly informed us that they are not interested in the contents of the old UK Passport unless the passport is accompanied by one of the new Animal Health Certificates and that the Spanish Passport could not be considered valid until such time as the Spanish Passport contains a record of the rabies jabs having been administered within mainland Europe. With our scheduled train due to depart for France within the next hour we were told that we could not travel without first getting a local Vet to issue Animal Health Certificates! Okay, so we got them but, it did entail some considerable phoning around before we found a vet in Folkestone willing to issue the required certificates and; it cost us two hundred and thirty quid for the vet to copy the certificates we had bought last February (and that were out of date by just 7 days) and; the delay led to us missing our scheduled train at 12.50 and not getting another until well past 17.00. Next time, we will be phoning Eurotunnel and checking these matters out well in advance of travelling. As it is, we arrived in Bruges some time after 20.00 hrs (19.00 hrs GMT) to find all the local supermarkets closed but, hey, we got here and it all could have been so much worse.

We’ve decided to stay on in Bruges for another day and I will therefore continue this blog and tell you something about Bruges tomorrow. In the meantime, it will suffice to say that the local beer is jolly nice.

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