We slept in a little to help get over our jet-lag. Stephen was sent out to get some Starbucks from the nearby train station. Lunchtime was fast approaching and we arranged to have frites and frikadelleworst with Stefaan. Afterwards Stefaan headed back to work and we boarded a train to Eeklo via Gent.
Magda (Caroline’s mum) and Robert picked us, and more importantly our heavy luggage, up at the train station. The first stop was to retrieve Sterlin from where he had been stored for the last month. Unfortunately Sterlin failed to start due to a flat battery. In hindsight we should have disconnected it. Oh well. Luc soon found a “Quick Start” unit and we were back up and running in short order. We went for a little drive around town to charge the battery up. The electrics have never quite been right on this trip but have never caused too much pain.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
The afternoon was spent removing jerry cans, sand tracks, roof top box and most of the luggage from Sterlin. The jerry cans and roof top box were cleaned in preparation for their return to San Francisco. And then everything was stored in Caroline’s mum’s garage for when we return after our trip around France.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Up super early as Sterlin had a 8:00am appointment with the Land Rover Vernaeve garage in Gent. We got caught in some roadworks and heavy traffic but still made it in time. Sterlin got the standard oil service and air filter replacement as well as temporary repairs to a leaky coolant system. Overall Sterlin was in tip-top shape.
Caroline visited a dentist recommended by Hilde and had a much desired cleaning. As we were running ahead of schedule we were able to see where Hilde worked and have a short lunch with her. So nice to see her again, even if it had only been a week since we had said goodbye in Otaru.
In the afternoon Caroline visited her favorite comic book shop ‘De Poort’ and managed to find a few comic books that interested her. And then we headed to a small coffee shop recommended by Geert and caught up with him. We also went for a very nice walk along the canals and a visit to part of the University that had been recently restored. It was nice seeing Geert again.
It was getting late and was time to head back to Eeklo for dinner. Sterlin seemed to be running exceptionally well after the service.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Eeklo holds its weekly markets on Thursday, which provided enough of a reason to walk into the city center and visit the merchants and their wares. It was not long before we returned to the bar of the previous night to have morning coffee with Erik and Kristin.
Dinner was with Hilde, Moos and Liran in Gent. Hilde’s kids continue to grow-up and it was nice to get to know them a little better.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Stefaan took a day off work and joined us for a walk around Eeklo and down memory lane for Caroline. Dinner was with Erik and Kristin. They shared their photos on Morocco and we reciprocated with photos from our trip.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Huge day of parties. Activities started in ‘t Stekkedooske with Caroline’s mum who was having her birthday with close family. We had a classic Belgian dish: Fondue. There was a huge amount of food and we could not finish it all, and we seriously tried. After the lunch we washed the meal down with coffee and sweets at Uncle Roland and Auntie Alice. Our bellies were full. But the day was just starting. In the evening we joined Geert and Isabelle to help celebrate their 50 birthdays. The drinking and eating went on till the wee hours of the morning.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
We packed up our stuff and loaded it into Sterlin. Time to hit the road again with a plan to spend a month or so touring around Western Europe, mainly France. It will be a bit weird living out of a suitcase again.