Day 14, 31st May 2011, Veurne to Zeebrugge

As we rode towards Veurne lat night the weather changed quite suddenly.  The temperature dropped 10C in an hour and it started to drizzle just as we rode into the town.

Veurne has some special significance to me, which I have written about in our book.  This was the first classical European market town we rode into on our first trip, and it was the experience here that sold me on bicycle touring.  So when Veurne appeared on our route, I thought it was a good idea to stay here, and see what four more bike trips had done to my idea of the city.  It could not have been more different.  When we were first here it was a glorious summer’s evening, and the square was alive with people settling into the restaurants and cafes, which were all sporting the usual colourful umbrellas.  The buildings glowed in the twilight.

This time it was cold, drizzly and the umbrellas were stowed.  There was noone around and the buildings looked drab without the light.  Nevertheless, Veurne has the quintessential charm of a European market town.

Our day’s ride today was really just a transfer to the ferry port of Zeebrugge.  For most of the day the wind was behind us, and the weather from last night had blown through.  The towns along this route, Neiuport and De Haan amongst others are attractive, but the countryside is primarily flat canal country, easy to ride through and pleasant enough but without the charm of the last few days.

There are some appalling tourist developments along this North Sea cast, but the Flanders route thankfully avoids them.

This was a very straightforward ride of 73km, although we noticed again that the guide we bought when we first rode through here in 2005 is now occasionally out of date.  It was nice spinning along the beautifully-made canal-side path with a solid tail wind.

We arrived at Zeebrugge, as seriously ugly as any ferry port town around 3.00pm, bought tickets for the passage to Hull and came on board around 5.00pm.

We rode this western section of the Flanders route as much as anything because the weather in Scotland when we were in Brussels was appalling, so we were in no hurry to get there.  This is how things should work.  We have had a great, more or less unplanned week.

View 31 5 2011 Veurne to Zeebrugge in a larger map


On to Day 15                                   Back to the trip diary