It has been over a month on the road since leaving the daily comforts and ease of everyday life in England. I set off from Dover with my good friend Rachel, our hearts set on traveling East. In France, fresh off the ferry, things got off to a shaky start. It was late at night in the seedy port town of Calais, an awful place - full of neon-boarded and dodgy looking casinos. Without a place to stay, we pitched the tent in the town's park, and made a rather ealy start the next day, keen to get out of the place.
The north of France passed quickly out of our lives, an we started making headway in Belgium, only to be stopped about 15km outside Bruges by a young lady and her slightly less young, but equally friendly husband. We were welcomed into their house as if we were old friends - food, drink and animated conversation a definite improvement on Calais and a good welcome to Belgium.
The usual touring deeds were undertaken in the beautiful towns of Bruges and Gent th next day. Germany was at the forefront of my mind, so we followed the horizon-straight Albert Canal through the heart of the small country to Maastricht, and the Netherlands. We met another couple there, and they showed us the magnificent sights of this ancient and well-conquered(14 times, I recall) city.