Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Tuesday 6 June: Kortrijk, Belgium

Where’s Bertie? He’s in a paid-Aire in the centre of Kortrijk. It's €10 for 24 hours including water, waste, electricity. There’s free wifi available too.

Two months ago we made an appointment for today with Campirama, from whom we bought Bertie in January, to have some warranty issues sorted.

Then, three days ago, we received a phone call to explain that the company was having a staff crisis in their workshop and was having to cancel all work. Given that we're not in a position to just reschedule for another time (being just at the start of a three-month trip, and distance being an obstacle to just 'nipping over' when we're home), and with Campirama not able to predict when their crisis will be sorted, we agreed that we would pop by today anyway to come up with a resolution as to how we would get our snags unsnagged.

We thus entered the Campirama building this morning with the expectation of being there about an hour. As such, we didn't go armed with a packed lunch and books and plans to go out for a walk in the middle of the day. That turned out to be an error, as having talked through Bertie's issues they took him into the workshop and said that they could fix most of them there and then.

We did manage to sneak into the workshop to liberate a couple of croissant, a six-pack of crisps, some jelly babies and some bottles of water (healthy day!), but didn't think to also grab our books. Approaching nine hours after we had arrived, I was climbing the walls and desperate for some real food and a cup of tea. Of course, if we had known we would be there so long, we could have gone for a walk into the town, but in our perpetual state of expecting Bertie to be released back to us at any moment, we variously sat or paced back and forth.

Shouldn't grumble, I suppose - we did come away with all bar a couple of the issues fixed (one of which nearly diverted our trip from Scandinavia to the Hymer factory in southern Germany, but we decided we'll live with the bed as it is for now and take a separate trip to Germany at a later date).

It was 7.15pm when we finally got away, by which time we didn't fancy a drive, so we asked to spend the night in their car park. They suggested that the Aire in the town was a much nicer option.

It is indeed nicer, but being so desperate for food and drink, and not being a speaker of the local language, the trials we had trying to understand how to gain access to the motorhome area weren't entirely welcome. Thank goodness the man on the other end of the car park's help button was so helpful and spoke such excellent English!

Within a quarter of an hour of parking up I had the first course of a three course meal on the table. My hunger even overrode my inbuilt thriftiness and thus a gas ring was brought into play even though we had electric (usually if we have electric I spend longer cooking so that everything can be done on our one electric ring).

It was gone 9pm by the time we nipped out for a quick recce of the local area. First impressions were of huge amounts of demolition and construction work, suggesting that this may not be the time to see the town at its best. We'll reserve judgment until tomorrow, though, when we will look around properly.

(Postscript: it seems that three courses weren't enough for tea. Quarter past ten, a good while after my usual bed time, and I've just got us some supper of bread and jam.)

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