Arrived in Eeklo

Saturday, August 16, 2014

And then it had arrived, kind of faster than we’d expected, and bitter-sweet: the last driving day of our ‘Overland Adventure’. Sure, we’d still planned to go places before going home to San Francisco, but, as far as the ‘Sydney to Eeklo’ part was concerned, this was it: the day we’d arrive in my hometown, Eeklo.

When we started planning the trip in earnest, one of the big decisions was which direction we’d go in: Europe to Australia or vice versa. Somehow I always envisioned arriving in my hometown, so that was that.

Before getting to Eeklo we stopped in Oud-Turnhout to have lunch with friends Helly and Willem.

Lunch with Helly and Willem.

And then we were there, in Eeklo!!!
First we made an ‘unofficial’ stop at my mum’s place….

After a quick visit to Caroline’s mum…

…. before arriving on De Markt in Eeklo, where a special reserved parking spot (it helps to have friends in high places 😉 ) was waiting for Sterlin, right in front of Café De Kabouter. Friends joined us for a lovely homecoming celebration on a lovely sunny day, on the terrace of De kabouter. We were delighted by a live accoustic performance of Peter ‘DeeZee’ De Zutter and our hosting waiter was Stefaan, my brother. Some friends stayed for drinks, some joined us for dinner in Cafe Leffe, also on De Markt.

…We arrived on the Markt in Eeklo where a a spot had been reserved!
Geert, Mieke, Nils, Ilse, Gina (front), Erik, Kristien, Jan, Robert, Magda (mum), Katrien, Stephen, Sven.
Carlo, Mieke, Siska, Caroline, Peter (thanks for the music!),
Erik, Gina, Stephen.

Sunday to Tuesday, August 17-19, 2014

The next 3 days we spent seeing family and friends and re-organizing our luggage for our upcoming trip, and Sterlin who would be parked for the next 4-5 weeks.

Would you believe that Eeklo also has a UNESCO World Heritage site? Its Belfry is on the list ‘Belfries of Belgium and France’.

Stefaan, Stephen, Caroline and Koen in De Kabouter.
Eeklo at Sunset met de Herbakker.
UNESCO World Heritage.
Eeklo by night. With the Belfry / Belfort left.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Originally we were going to leave Eeklo for Japan on August 19, but a few days prior we’d received the sad news that Caroline’s Tante Aline had passed away and we decided to stay so we could say goodbye and attend her funeral on the Wednesday.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We said goodbye to Eeklo for now and took a train to Brussel. We’d never visited Brussel together before so we decided that after seeing lots of new and exotic places a visit to Belgium’s capital was in order. We spent the afternoon wandering around Brussels with the highlight being a visit to the King’s Residence. We finished the evening enjoying a drink with Stefaan on the Grand Place.

We booked into the Ibis hotel on the Gansemarkt, ideally located 1 minute from Brussel Centraal train station, so easy enough to catch the train to the airport the flight the next day. The hotel was very convent, so we may be staying in Brussels this more often before flying out of Zaventem!