A long overdue update, which is long

It was certainly not our intention to go this long between posts, and I pinky swear not to leave it this long again. Boy do we have some stories for you from our weeks of absence.

Mysterious introduction and synopsis

When we last heard from our dashing young hero and heroine, they had just arrived in Louth (Lincolnshire, rural England), where they were feeling all bright eyed and bushy tailed after having purchased a beautiful 2000 Mitsubishi Shogun (that’s a Pajero for our Antipodeans). Several weeks later, we find our protagonists sitting in a cosy campground pub in rural Belgium, a new 2004 Shogun set up for bedtime nearby.

Turns out we were swindled into buying a beater. It’s a long story, and we’ll probably go into in another post when we’re feeling more energetic. Anywho, with the legal prowess of our friend/host Nick, my overly polite negotiating, Luke’s understanding of cars, and our friend/hostess Louise’s understanding of everything, we were able to have the car returned to the dealers for most of our money back, and purchase a car that is wonderful and actually works. Yay!

This is boring, but necessary for our dear readers to stay with the plot of our story: A quick synopsis of our adventures thus far. In the future, I’ll create a section on the right hand of your page (or the bottom for mobile readers) entitled “Keeping up with the Shingle to Boggians.” This will have ongoing and frequent short updates on our whereabouts.

  • 6-20 May: staying with Nick and Louise in Louth. Including a few lovely days in Liverpool, but mostly experiencing charming Lincolnshire, sorting out our car(s), and setting up for the trip.
  • 20-22 May: Camping in the Kent Downs in southern England, fussing about and obsessing over the wittle lambs, goats, chickens, and horses.
  • 23 May: Crossed the Channel from Dover, UK, to Dunkirk, France. Camping and touristing in Bruges, Belgium, a medieval town with lovely canals
  • 24-25 May: Two nights camping in a funky campground in the sketchy/trendy/derelicte Eastern Docks area of Amsterdam, including a day of super intense walking tourism in Amsterdam
  • 26 May: Camping in Giethoorn, Netherlands, a little village accessible only by boat. Putted about on one of said boats the morning of the 27th, and took a 30k bike ride that arvo.
  • 27 May: Stayed with Zsofi, Eve’s college roommate and lovely person, in the heart of Brussels, Belgium. Touristing ensued.
  • 28 May: Camping at a campsite by a river near Bastogne, Belgium, a small town famous for the Battle of the Bulge

I’ll tell you about most of our travels through photos, below. Just a few stories to highlight.

Lincolnshire: We almost stayed forever

We went to Nick and Louise’s house begging for three, maybe four or five days of their hospitality. It turned out to be 14. Yes, my mother did teach me better than that. But I can explain. Our time with Nick and Louise consisted of:

  • 17 different pubs
  • More different types of real ale than that
  • 6 or 7 new meat products? The English have great meat products. (Eg: Lincolnshire stuffed chide, black pudding [don’t be scared, it’s yum!], haslet, pork pie, scotch eggs)
  • 3 days in Liverpool, in the West of England
  • Visits to every hardware store and car part store in Louth as we set up our vehicle. Gratitude is owed to Louise for taking on the role of hardware tour guide.
  • Daily changes of plans while we dealt with the ridding of the rust bucket and the purchase of our brand new shiny Shogun
  • Incredibly delicious home-cooked gourmet meals. These folks know how to cook.
  • General admiration of Nick and Louise, who are good humans, and not just because they didn’t murder us. They are hilarious, kind, and ceaselessly helpful, and we miss them.

Intelligent and never-before heard insights about the Netherlands

And now, a list of Netherlands stereotypes that we found to be reality:

– Amsterdam smells like pot about 15% of the time. I feel that this is a lot for a major city. There were dreadlocked white dudes playing bongos and smoking the ganja in our campground. Living the dream, white dudes, living the dream.

– There was an manure-smeared actual farm guy WEARING WOODEN CLOGS in the grocery store in a small town a couple hours east of Amsterdam. They looked and sounded impractical. We do not understand.

– There are windmills everywhere. I got 74 in one view once, just turning my head. But of course they are the brand new ones, not the old little wooden ones. We didn’t see any of those.

– I personally believe that there are more bicycles than chickens, and apparently there are 10 chickens per Dutch person. Anyway, there are a lot of bicycles. Our dear Hindmarshes – we have found your utopia. Pedestrians apologise when they realise they are standing in your way, and cars always yield.

I just can’t help it

Let’s talk about toilets again. They charge for them in Europe. (I’m sure this is no revelation to most of you.) This was annoying at first, gathering a 50cent coin (and watching Luke fumble for change as he is “stinging for a piss” as he says), until I realised that many of the toilets have nice friendly ladies who say “thank you, goodbye!” after you pee. I like that.

Not actually jokes

We saw a refugee camp in France, we think. It was next to the freeway near Dunkirk, where ferries go to the UK. The tiny dwellings, arranged in neat rows, were made from what looked like unpainted plywood, and there were people sitting around on boxes. People asked us before we left whether it was wise to come to Europe during the refugee crisis; yet other than this one sight we’ve seen nothing. After all, we are going the opposite way than the flow of refugees and immigrants, generally. Our friend Louise tells us that people wait in Calais (30 minutes from Dunkirk) to get from France to the UK; apparently Britain has a better reputation amongst some immigrants, and of course it is an English speaking country.

I’m sure you all know about the terrible attacks on Brussels in March. I’m sure they are felt strongly in the psyche of the residents and those who were visiting at the time, but they were only visible to us by the uniformed, machine-gun toting military personnel patrolling the streets. They are really quite omnipresent, from what we saw. Our friend Zsofi, who works for NATO in Brussels, says they were first stationed there after the Paris attacks, then were drawn out slightly, and after the March attacks they came back with a vengeance. We are not sure what they are actually planning to do, and it’s difficult to find anyone with a machine gun comforting.

That’s all the writing I’ll do for now – instead I’ll give you a few photo essays below. Click on a photo in any of the galleries to view a slide show of that gallery.

Around Lincolnshire 

Setting up the car

Liverpool

Our first night camping: Kent Downs, Southern England. Plus a ferry crossing into France.

Bruges, Belgium

Amsterdam

Giethoorn, Netherlands

Brussels

8 thoughts on “A long overdue update, which is long”

  1. I really enjoyed reading about your travels and adventures, and the pictures and captions were beautiful. Keep them coming and happy travels to both of you. Love, Grandma Marge

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, you’re forgiven for waiting so long to post! Absolutely stunning and funny photos, just when I thought I had a favorite I saw another. And you’re such an incredible writer. Yes, I’m your Mom, but it’s all true! Live your dream!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Best coming home present for me. First I get to spend night in your room with your parents making me dinner and breakfast and then you call on the phone. And then Carol and I took your and my hike down Dos Vistas. And then I get my first posts from your blog. Tim set it up for me. Moochas Smoochas, aunt gak

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No we didn’t murder you. Actually we weren’t that close to murdering you either. We thought you might want to murder us – being captive in rural England (with pubs, real ale and food of course) with a pair of Brits and all those British rules and regulations. ‘No you can’t eat that with that, and certainly not at this time of day. No you can’t eat that hot, and don’t use your fingers!’
    You did leave an impression in Louth. Just this weekend you were both missed the beer festival at the Brown Cow, and at the White Horse they asked how you enjoyed the pork scratchings. We haven’t seen Rodney this week, but I’m sure he won’t forget you two!

    Really hope we can meet up in Spain (to hand over a boxful of post!) in a few weeks.
    Louise x

    PS if you ever need references for future cleaning jobs (inside or gutters) we’d be happy to provide them.

    Like

  5. Love your post so much! I laughed! I cried! I love your bed set up, and Luke is making this for us when he gets home! 🙂 Love you!!

    On Sun, May 29, 2016 at 4:27 AM, Shingle to Boggie wrote:

    > feliceelena posted: “It was certainly not our intention to go this long > between posts, and I pinky swear not to leave it this long again. Boy do we > have some stories for you from our weeks of absence. Mysterious > introduction and synopsis When we last heard from our dashing” >

    Like

  6. Great post and beautiful photos! I have to know – is that a real stuffed dog’s head at Nick and Louise’s, behind Luke with the cheesy bread???

    Like

Leave a Reply to Grandma Marge Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s