And on Friday 29th Sept we left our lovely mooring at Portus Ganda – we had to go through Ghent as the way we had come up was now closed. There are ‘open’ locks around the Ghent Ring Vaart (ring road!) which can be closed to protect the city in times of flood and this particular lock had now been closed for the winter. So through Ghent we went and very interesting it was too! We passed Bella Fortuna and Andy was out to take pictures of Piedaleau so I took pics of him taking pics of us…… you get the picture?
Knowing that there are still issues & delays re the dredging at Flandria (our winter mooring in Bruges) we decided to take the scenic route down the river Leie. So we crossed the Ring Vaart, avoiding a large fast moving commercial barge coming round the bend. Luckily, Adrian was going very slowly & I was up on the bow peering in both directions to check all was clear……. Phew!
We then meandered down the Leie – literally meandered because it sure is twisty and turny – but beautiful and the HOUSES! Absolutely stunning real estate.
We moored at Sint Martens Latem for the night which my ‘I spy book of Belgium’ describes as having been ‘adopted’ by a number of artists who became known as the St-Martens-Latem school.
Unfortunately the museum was closed but we found a fabulous gallery, we could both have come away with several items in our bags! Would have had to be BIG bags, mind!
Sint Martens Latem is a delightful village / town but obviously caters for the seriously rich! We decided against eating out when we saw the price tags just for the beers! But we thoroughly enjoyed walking around, looking in the shops & estate agents’ windows. The Church, which is seen in many paintings, was interesting, quite simple, but obviously had sculptures from local artists.
Onwards next day hoping to stop alongside one of the restaurants with moorings along the way. We stopped at one such establishment but were told we couldn’t stay overnight – basically ‘eat your dinner and go’! So we went – without having dinner – and headed to Deinze. There was one lifting bridge to negotiate and I discovered the guy there is a Brit! Keith came down to talk to us when we got to Deinze. We also met up with Chris on Laura Marie so we had quite a jolly time and went off to dinner at Bruno’s across the way with Chris. Busy place, friendly staff & really good wholesome food at reasonable prices. Great.
Sunday saw us shopping and then wandering around the town, visiting the museum and watching the Brabants Trekpaard (like our shire horses) championships which was taking place in one of the main shopping streets.
Keith and his wife Lucrèze stopped by and we ended up going to a locals’ café / restaurant on the outskirts of town. A tourist would never find such a place. Unfortunately I couldn’t try their apple cake (too late, all gone!) but we all enjoyed the smoked ham platter. Keith and Lucrèze invited us back to their house where we met their daughter Charlotte. What an interesting young woman! She works with young mothers who are under supervision by the courts. But animals are her passion! She has 2 pedigree horses, 4 pedigree whippets and 200 pedigree sebright chickens – yes, 200! She breeds them, shows them, wins lots of prizes with them and sells them all over the world! Apparently someone in Saudi Arabia wanted 100! Never seen such beautiful, calm, stroke-able chickens.
She also breeds whippets and is due to come to UK, to Soham in Cambridgeshire, for Olivia to rendezvous with a rather gorgeous looking male whippet! So we hope we can see them when they come over.