Belgium Tour 24th – 26th April 2015
A bright and early start for some to get the Eurotunnel crossing on the Friday and a slightly later train for others. 4 Cars meet on the 7.20am train at Folkestone with the following 4 cars meeting on a later crossing. David and Elaine Battle followed another Aston on to the train, the owners were on their way to a dental conference; they were envious of our plans for the weekend ahead.
Our first stop and rendezvous was in a small walled town called Bergues, where coffee and croissants were enjoyed in the town square. This was followed by a sightseeing tour of the town in the tourist road train, with an excellent commentary given my Mick Newson, aided by a crib sheet supplied by the tourist information Centre. We then headed off for lunch near the square; by this time Keith & Larraine had joined us making a table of 10.
We then travelled in convoy to our hotel in Poperinge. The owner of The Hotel Recour welcomed us with a well-presented garage for the Astons, of which we were given sole use. Following check in, we relaxed in the Hotel garden, where we were joined by the remaining members of the group for a cool liquid refreshment in the warm sun. The slightly later arrival group also all had a good run over; meeting up in Bergues having a later lunch and travelling in convoy together.
All area 16 members met for pre dinner canapés and drinks in the hotel lounge, which was followed by a superb 3, 4, 5 or 6 course meal (depending of individual’s choices). The Hotel provided the dinner in our own private room around one large table, with each course being announced by our lovely hostess. It was a real treat and a good evening was had by all.
Saturday morning started bright and early, firing up the Astons in the garage to drive off and meet the AMOC Belgium contingency. We arrived for a 09.30am meet at a very interesting Beauvoorde Castle, where we were welcomed with coffee and cake prior to a pre-arranged tour of the castle.
Each driver was presented with a road book for the tour of the Westhoek region, all 22 cars left the castle with suggested stopping places. This was a great chance to take in the local history of World War 1 and pay respect to all those who lost their lives during the conflicts.
Saturday’s lunch was a stop at Bossaert, the old timer museum, where we were provided with a welcome sandwich before an insightful tour. There were certainly some interesting models, many which could have done with a good polish!
After a quick turn around back to the hotel, we parked up the Astons safely in the garage before getting a mini bus to take us into Lepar. On arrival we were given a champagne reception with canapés before heading off for a short walk round the corner to the Menin Gate for the very moving last post. As this was also ANZAC day a special ceremony was held with contingents from Australia and New Zealand.
We then headed back to the Novotel in Leper for an evening with the Belgium AMOC, they have about 90 members so the percentage turn out for the day was very good. It was a lovely evening and we even exchanged gifts with the Belgium club; they gave us gifts of local produce and the Aston Martin representative presented all with a Flemish Virage Magazine.
The journey back in the mini bus was of great entertainment to our driver who could hardly contain his laughter at all of the singing and banter going on.
Sunday was a much more subdued day, with the weather turning slightly cooler. We headed to Brugge, eventually all meeting up. Some, mentioning no names or registration numbers, reaching 145mph!! After all the excitement a traditional Flemish lunch was enjoyed before having a wander to some local chocolate and beer shops.
I can safely say all attendees had a fantastic time and we will definitely be looking into another area 16 tour in the hopefully not too distant future.