Summer Camper Trip – Ypres, Belgium.

Almost a year since our big five month camper trip and here we are staring at a five week summer adventure of ‘home is where you park it’. Like ducks to water it feels like we’ve picked up right where we left off … a little more prepared and definitely more seasoned this time.

Speaking of ducks …

We weren’t the only ones out enjoying the lake we’ve ‘parked up’ at tonight. One of the great joys of campervanning is parking in such beautiful places, close to trees and amongst nature where the kids can roam. Life feels like it’s just us and I can already see my kids reveling in the freedom and time together. It’s night one and we both lamented how wonderful it is that there is no unwinding needed … that’s how it should be! What a change from last year when we took off to let go of a crazy life.

The view from my bed is quite spectacular at €8 per night don’t you think? We’ve hired our van from camper fun. The same company we bought our camper from last year using their ‘buyback’ option. As a family of six car hire and nightly accommodation is not an option for us – especially when we’re away for five weeks.

Last time around we tended to ‘wing it’ a lot, we had the time. This time around we’ve decided to be a little more planned. Ok! At least two days ahead ;) we still kinda wing it. Who knows what adventures may just find us if we leave space for them. Travel flow requires a certain ability to be open to the wind.

Today we parked in the Belgian town Ieper not far from the border with France. We chose this town because of its significance in WW1. There are many historical sites (free and empty) including old trenches and cemeteries to visit. The kids got a real feel of the trenches as they walked through one. Zoë described it as eery. Tom our WW history expert was able to answer many of the questions we all had, like why they are zig zag shaped! Of course life in the trenches was hard and learning about that part of the story (the humanity) is as important as having a truckload of fun playing.

What’s that famous quote?

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Since subbing in a social studies class this past year I’ve become quite interested in developing a broader understanding of who was involved and the stories of the world wars that were lived in these lands. This trench we visited today was from just 100 years ago and the cemetery had many Australian graves.

A one pot meal of gnocchi with passata, basil topped with freshly grated parmesan was a perfect simple first night dinner. We all shared our favourite part of the day as we do at home and the smiles were BIG.

Do you know about the Christmas Day truce? I’m completely fascinated by this story. There’s a brilliant documentary on the BBC based on the war diaries of soldiers if you’re interested.

Camper tips:

We hired the camper without any inventory this time and it was so easy to pack what we needed using our own stuff. Obviously we could given that we live in Europe. Sometimes campers have a whole lot of extras and that kind of defeats the purpose of keeping it simple. Packed cupboards are never helpful! It’s only night one but a bit like the camino simple routines make life easier. We only have six of everything. Dinner was served in the bowls and now they (and the six spoons) are washed and ready for breakfast … the bananas need using so they’re out and ready to add to the cereal. That coffee pot is set and ready for action. Which kid will rise to the challenge of making us coffee in bed?

Yes this kind of life is fairly delicious and somewhat addictive friends.

Buen Camino!

Fran xx

2 thoughts on “Summer Camper Trip – Ypres, Belgium.”

  1. How fabulous
    From the countryside, the history (horrific..the Christmas thing is both wonderful, and weird btw) your yummy gnocchi meal, and general happiness and contentment! What a gorgeous family you are..your two littles, look like twins!
    I am very happy to see an espresso pot in your van kitchen! Winning.
    Janet x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Janet! Thanks lovely one. There are some special photos in today’s post with you in mind :). I probably shouldn’t dress the twinnies the same. They’re not actual twins but I never know which one to buy a top for so I get two! Aaah the espresso pot … it’s the one I use each day at home too. F xx


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