Camping at VW was a cold affair, we had no 240 supply so couldn’t plug our heater in. I hope I win the VW heritage comp as in my wish list is a heater that runs off camping gas!

We made some tea, handed the keys to the van over and rose into Bruges for breakfast. We had breakfast at an Indian restaurant that does either full English or continental breakfast, we choose one of each and they were both lovely, halfway through munching the garage called to say the van was done and we should come and get it, a short trip back and we were in the van headed to our campsite.

Finally we are where we’re supposed to be, camping memling, nice little campsite with brand new shower and toilet block, they also said we can have the day we didn’t make it here as a credit to use any time in 2016 which was a nice thing for them to do.

The most important thing about today is its Lollys birthday so our schedule is in her hands.

Our first stop was to have a gander at some windmills, there are only four left, one still works and they sit on the bank of the canal.

From there we went to a museum called Olv ter potterie, a historical hospital complex with its own baroque church and the body of Islebad that after being exhumed after 400 years still smelt sweet, there are lots of historical relics and the church is stunning.

The hospital was run by seven brothers and seven sisters, that changed to just sisters and to this day there are always seven sister resident.

Next stop was my least excited about place which actually turned out to be really cool, the lace museum. Lace was a way the very poor could make a little money, one quote went something like “I’d rather work my fingers to the bone making lace than ask the church for a handout”.

I’d never considered just how difficult lace making is, especially bobbin lace, we watched a video about the history of lace making, how important it was to Bruges and how modern methods can’t copy some of the more intricate designs, there are then examples of different types of lace and the final leg of the tour involves watching some ladies making lace using the traditional bobbin method. The ladies up there most have had a collective age of about 500 but in the corner was one of the ladies from the video, I was going to ask for her an autograph but she looked quite busy.

The last destination was the Jerusalem chapel, it’s next door to the lace museum and is owned still by descendants of the the family that built it in the 15th century. It’s an interesting story of how it came to be, the life and death of Anselm who completed the chapel and why his body is buried in Scotland but his heart is buried here in the chapel, there is also a slightly weird effigy of Jesus tucked away at the back of the chapel, the whole thing is based on jerusalems holy church of the sepulchre which is allegedly built above the tomb of Jesus.

We stayed there till it shut and then went for beers.

This was at a bar called ‘t poatergast, which means monks hole in the local dialect, it’s like a vaulted cellar with 150 beers to try and in this occasion an awesome 80’s soundtrack. We had at least 3 beers and unexpectedly picked up a present for one of our friends back home.

Belgian beer is quite strong, the last one we had was 10%, the Christmas chouff, it was lovely but by the time we left the 10% was working its magic and we both felt a bit sideways, should make riding the bikes interesting!

Our last stop was a restaurant lolly had read about which was part of a hostel called gran kaffe de passage, she wanted to visit as they cooked food in beer, it was heaving when we arrived, we were hungry, we didn’t get to eat anything till about an hour and half after we arrived and the food when it did come was ok. Lolly tried another beer but didn’t really like it, I’d drunk so much beer I couldn’t finish it for her and if I had it would have finished me off.

As you can see by my eyes in this last picture I was well on the way.

We rode back to the van without incident and turned in, one thing I have learnt this trip is lolly is awesome at reading maps, I’m not.

Lolly also assures me she had a great birthday, mission accomplished.