Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Moto France (via Belgium) - Day 2.

Today our Belgian and French 'adventure' takes us to our accommodation at Tigny-Noyelle. Mr MF has booked us at Le Moulin for three nights. We aim to enjoy the ride with a few stops en route arriving at Tigny around 16:00.

All maps adjustable.

Zeebrugge - Nieuwkappele in a larger map

We made our  rendezvous (someone on this trip said, "I wonder what the French is for rendezvous?"), adjusted our underwear, earplugs, goggles, leather helmets and gauntlets and rode 100 metres to Passport Control. Here we took everything off again (nearly) and all managed to convince the Belgian authorities to allow us into their country flowing with milk and honey but mainly with our money.

Finally we were through passport control and customs and immigration and on our way. We were going to travel on the quieter country roads avoiding the major highways.

The plan was to ride via Aartrijke and Diksmuide to Poperinge and stop for coffee. But at Nieuwkappel we espied a welcoming roadside cafe. We were all of one mind. We pulled up and parked the motos. It was time for a coffee in the lovely sunshine.

 Note the beautiful cobbles.

Mr PG is saying, "What's not to like?" with gritted teeth I think!

It's good to stop often and have a pow-wow. I had to make some adjustments to my clothing (ahem). I think I looked like an arthritic Watusi performing a particularly half-hearted war dance. That's old age for you.

MR BG. You can tell that BG is a veteran from his sartorial Fruit of the Loom T-shirt. Zoom in if you like.

This is MR TE. He is also a veteran. He recently motorbiked in South Africa and Namibia - and Aberdovey.


................ ruins the art of motorcycling.

We're not great at riding but hell we are good at parking.

After refreshments - my cappuccino was the best I have ever had - we had to get back on our motos. The next leg of the route took us via Poperinge, Steenvoorde and Cassel to Saint-Omer.

These maps are adjustable!

Nieuwkappel - Saint-Omer in a larger map

We soon reached the busy town of Poperinge. It looked very interesting and the centre was picturesque. Actually the intention was to only go there once. Poor navigation by the pathfinder. It was not possible to spend time exploring because we had a reservation at a restaurant in Saint-Omer for lunch.

Cassel is a very pretty town with beautiful buildings and extensive cobbles. I have made a mental note to return there soon and spend some time exploring the backstreets.

At around 13:15 we entered Saint-Omer from the northwest alongside an impressive canal.

The Spey River Restaurant is to be recommended.

After an excellent lunch and terrific service we started up our motos for the last leg of the ride to Tigny.

Here is Mr JA with his lovely "Kwakka" and his moto.

 Place Marechal Foch Saint-Omer.
(Note: There should be a thingy on the e of Marechal. French people will have to try and improvise.)

A brace of Beemers. That's Mr and Mrs JA with their beautiful BMW1200RT in the background.

On the road again! Mr MS and his missus Mrs AS.
EDF's power source in the background. A wire goes directly to the UK grid from here.

I'll try to insert another map here:

Saint-Omer - Tigny in a larger map

Fuel stations are few and far between in France. One or two of the motos needed fuel. The BMW GS tanker pilots offered to sell them petrol (and rent the siphon tubes) but they preferred to continue on fumes until suddenly an Elan appeared in the blurry stuff called the scenery.  

Refuelling with panache at the Elan. Looks like a couple of Harleys have been here before.

Only joking about the fuel range. I could be tempted to change my Massey-Ferguson machine for one of those smooth, fast, beautiful rockets IF I had the skill of their moto pilots.

Anyway, refuelled we are once again zinging along the pleasant French highways heading for Hénoville (I found the little thingy for the e this time so our French cousins should have no difficulty). Then Neuville-sous-Montreuil and Nempont St-Firmin. We are nearly at Tigny. Hooray!

 Final approach.

 Turn left just ahead.

I think this is right. But those coordinates don't match up!

We park the motos.  No mishaps even for those who don't do off-road. M. Raymond Wartel kindly provided square tiles for our sidestands.

Our two agents arrived as advertised, but via Rouen. 14 motos all present and correct.

Le Moulin is situated on a pretty river. Pics of the bridge later.

Here is the dining room.

This is a typical bedroom. Looks like AM is already in bed!

Le Moulin is situated in a beautiful spot.

Soon after arriving we gathered for a drink in the garden.

A sundowner before dinner. L - R: Mr MS. Mrs AS. Mr NM.

It had been a good day motorbiking through Belgium and a little part of France. Le Moulin is just the place to relax and unwind. Soon it was time for dinner. Raymond and Sabine own and run the place and their cuisine is excellent.

 L-R: Mr JA, Mrs SA, Mr BG.

 "Should you really be showing me that?"
L-R: Mrs AS, Mr GW, Mr TE.

"Pssst - she's showing him THAT!"
Mr MB, Mr MS.

 Sabine & Raymond joined us for dinner.

Tonight we drink. Tomorrow we ride.

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