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Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003

Posted by Thom Aikman on 05/12/2003 07:26:48 AM

Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003

We had a quick visit to Belgium and France this past weekend. There was a Eurotunnel deal for £35 (£31.50 for Points Plus members); depart after 12noon Saturday, returning by 3pm Sunday. We were staying at the ein huis “tussen tag and morgen” hotel on the Watouplein in Watou, right next door to the Hommelhof restaurant. As time was relatively short, we had planned a couple of café visits and a meal at the Hommelhof that night.

We had a good journey through the tunnel and through France and arrived in Watou at 3:15pm, picked up the keys at the Korenbloem restaurant and after a quick Hommelbier, dropped our bags off at the hotel. This hotel is an excellent place to stay in Watou. It has 5 rooms; our room was in the attic conversion with a great view over the square. The entrance has some lovely old furniture and chairs, which is in contrast with the more modern well-designed and decorated room with simple furnishings. There was black out blinds on the windows, which meant for a good night’s sleep.

We had decided to follow up one of Podge’s recommendations; the Rohardushof in Roesbrugge, 5 km up the road. This bar has a good-sized list, but we had gone to sample the Forte Bruin on draught. This is a great place to visit; café, art gallery and off sales all together, and during our stay we noticed the posters for this year's Bob Hendrickx book; bought it and got our first stamp of the year. We also bought 12 bottles of the Oud Bruin; handed over a 50 Euro note and got change of 45:20, making this the bargain of the year at 40 cents a bottle.

We drove back to Watou and dumped the car. We then walked to the Hellakapelle bar, as we fancied stretching our legs during the evening sunshine. It took us 50 minutes to get there and found it the busiest we had seen it. There was a group of 12 lads, who were being driven around on horse drawn carriage around local bars.

After our walk back to town, we were ready to eat. The Hommelhof was busy but we managed to get a table in the left side room. We both went for the Brewers menu as usual. Each time was have had this it has been excellent and very varied and superb value at 23 euros for 3 courses.

As Paulette was still feeling the effects of a virus infection, we headed back to our hotel, next door.

Next day

Although we had forgotten to bring the alarm clock, it was unnecessary as the bells of the Watou church began ringing at 8:40 for the next 30 minutes. It felt great looking out onto the square that morning, as the day was breaking. We got ourselves together, and walked across to the Korenbloem in the Kleine Markt for breakfast. Breakfast was superb; 4 meats, pate, 4 cheeses, many different pastries, breads and yoghurts and boiled eggs.

Wonderful value at 65 euros a night/room.

We had taken a carload of empty bottles and so we headed off down Trappistenweg to Noel Cuvelier’s to get rid of them, and fill up the crates. I spent a pleasant hour filling up 2 trolleys with beer, while Paulette filled up another with cheese, pate, chocolate, and a bottle of Chouffe liqueur.

I had just intended to buy what we needed, but I knew that this would never happen. Some of the highlights were:

1.5L of Abbey des Rocs Grand Cru

2 Bottles of St Bernardus Bok Bier (never seen or heard of this beer before).

Range of Ellezelles beers

Range of Dupont beers

Quelque Chose

About 100 bottles in total; 15 of them 75cl.

After leaving Noels, we still had around 2.5 hours to kill before we needed to head back to Calais, so we drove south from Abele into France. The 2 main towns in this part of French Flanders, Boeschepe and Godewaersvelde, are barely 5-10 minutes away, but the contrast is striking. The scenery changes although the architecture is very similar. We drove to the top of Mont de Cats for a wonderful vista, looking out across France and Belgium.

We then headed back to Godewaersvelde and dropped into the Blauwershof cafe, just as it was opening. As Paulette was still suffering from the after effects of the virus and the medication, she had a coffee and water, while I tried the Zannekin blonde. I enjoyed this very tasty blonde beer and then we visited the shop next door that Matt had visited some time back. We bought some Zannekin Noel, as well as some interesting lemonades and soft drinks.

Suitably ready for the journey home, we headed home to Calais and got back to London by 3:45pm. We would both try the overnighter again, as the total travel and accommodation costs were less than £100 for two people.

Only 11 days to go until the next trip!

Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003 - Thom Aikman, 05/12/03 07:26:48 AM
        St Bernardus Bokbier ???? - Filip Geerts, 05/13/03 01:45:51 AM
                Re: St Bernardus Bokbier ???? - Thom Aikman, 05/13/03 03:22:28 AM
        Re: Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003 - Jeremy Gray, 05/12/03 03:05:17 PM
                Re: Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003 - podge, 05/12/03 04:26:21 PM
                        Bob H's book - Jeremy Gray, 05/12/03 04:31:49 PM
                Re: Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003 - Thom Aikman, 05/12/03 03:55:51 PM
        Re: Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003 - podge, 05/12/03 02:09:55 PM
                Re: Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003 - Thom Aikman, 05/12/03 02:40:24 PM
                        Re: Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003 - podge, 05/12/03 03:45:29 PM
                                Hendrikx book - Ian, 05/12/03 04:03:32 PM
                                        Hendrikx book in the UK - Thom Aikman, 05/13/03 03:32:46 AM
                                                Re: Hendrikx book in the UK - Ian, 05/13/03 05:37:21 PM
                                                        Re: Hendrikx book in the UK - Jeremy Gray, 05/13/03 06:04:22 PM
                                                                Re: Hendrikx book in the UK - Ian, 05/14/03 06:08:49 AM
                                                                        Re: Hendrikx book in the UK - Jeremy Gray, 05/14/03 04:14:39 PM
                                                                                Re: Hendrikx book in the UK - Ian, 05/14/03 05:47:19 PM
                                                                                        Orange brewery - Jeremy Gray, 05/15/03 02:19:29 AM
                Re: Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003 - Thom Aikman, 05/12/03 02:39:42 PM
        Re: Watou and French Flanders: 10-11 May 2003 - VENOM, 05/12/03 10:25:21 AM
        Sounds wonderful. You folks are so lucky to be able to do that! nfm - Cornelia, 05/12/03 10:15:15 AM

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