Blog2018 ≫ I will probably not write out holiday up chronologicaly

I have spent some time captioning all the photos and video I took, so if you go to the usual place you can hear all about the holiday there. I will add some comments here with things I particularly liked or noticed or got annoyed about. Not many of them!

I may not write this up chronologically but may well reorder it later so by the time you read this it is as things happened.

Up quite early to head on holiday, and no problems with the Eurotunnel. Went to Carrefour first to get some extra supplies, looking mostly for some cheaper booze and interesting snacks. Exchange rate works against us these days, not many bargains to be had.

I bought six bottles of wine as that's all we really had room for in the car, we were piled quite high. I thought we have them in the first day and end up buying more at an expensive on-park mini-market but no, they lasted until the last night.

Drive from there to Centerparcs was quite bad, road work type delays all the way meant the journey took about five hours. Didn't actually see any roadworks, just the cones and the delay. We got to the site in time for allowing us into our lodge at 2 or 3pm or so, so all good.

The lodge itself was much better than expected. We had in mind that the UK Centerparcs were a lot swisher and the Euro ones a bit rougher round the edges but we got lucky here. I assume this one was recently renovated, as it was to a high standard. We had three bedrooms, three bathrooms and lots of nice touches. The sauna was outside, and I couldn't get it working at all. There was a wet room and a jacuzzi bath and they worked just fine. We also had more fresh bread delivered each day than we could manage to eat.

We didn't go to the pool on the first day but we did every other day. While the lodge was better than the previous French Centerparcs the pool was not quite. It was good, three water slides and the rapids that the boys were so keen on. I got so bruised on these but the boys had lots of fun. My favourite part was the more gentle middle slide that took you to an outdoor jacuzzi pool. I do like that the pool is part indoor and part outdoor, feels more adventurous. I also liked the solarium and the wave machine. My plan for this holiday was lots and lots of sitting in the pool, spending about 90% of my time here. Ideally staking a claim on a poolside table and staying there all day. This was not to everyone else's taste, so I didn't quite manage this. I nearly got there on the Thursday when it was just thing two and myself for the day, the others had gone to Efteling. We took drinks and books and left them with our towels on a pool side table and I made him get out with me and sit and relax for five minutes, before heading back in. One time I will execute my plan properly.

The boys got lots of activities in, spending their holiday money on climbing, a jeep safari, bowling, a trip out to a theme park, and more.

We had a few upsets over food, partly me getting a bit defensive about my eating choices and how difficult this was here. Also thing two is a very bad eater and we had some tearful standoffs. The site was not good for vegans. The shop was great, I bought some vegan burgers and cooked them back at the lodge one day. Also the Evergreen buffet was OK, but a thirty euros ahead I would expect more. We ate at a disappointing Nonna's pizza one day. It was probably fine for everyone else but not good for me. Also the main restaurant we ate on the first day was fun, but no food choice for me. I had chips and lager.

I didn't do the activities I thought I might. I didn't even run, though I had taken my kit. We planned on doing the escape room, but it would have been a hundred euros, too much. Also we didn't manage to get a golf buggy or anything, everything was booked up. In theory I saved money by not getting the buggy but I do feel like I spent a lot on this trip.

We had extended our stay with a night in Ghent. We picked this more or less randomly, just wanting somewhere we had not been before. Ghent (Gent) is awesome, old and interesting but lots of bars and cafes and a lively scene.

We were staying at the Novotel, which was lovely. We had a big old suite with all sorts of nice extras, bunk beds for the boys, and Nespresso and free mini bar for us. They had a pool but we had no time to use it really.

Parking was hard, I'm sure our original comms said you cannot drive to this hotel it's pedestrianised so we were confused about where to head. In the end the parking was in the basement of the hotel, and it cost us an extra thirty euros for the night. I possibly drove through some pedestrianised places I should not have done.

We headed straight to Gravensteen as it was something I had read about. It's a castle dating from approx 1000 years ago and slap in the middle of the town. We had a good look round and took many photos, then went for a sit in the sun. We sat outside a quite expensive place I think on Sint Verleplein were we still had a view of Gravensteen and made plans for later. We struggled to investigate places that we could all eat together, we are a very fussy bunch.

In the end we had the marvellous idea of feeding Grandpa and the boys and then leaving them! They were all amenable to this, they had a Quick Giant burger each and we took them back to the hotel. Then we scarpered for more sophisticated fun. We had a beer in the cosy and quant St Jorishof. It was so crowded in there with decoration it looked like one of the hidden object games we used to play on the PC. I can't remember what beers we had, a lot of these styles do blur together, but I think we went for a St Jorisbier Bruin and a St Jorisbier Blond, two of their own beers. Nice place, atmospheric, I don't think we quite fitted in though.

We went from there looking for vegan food, first heading towards Le Botaniste but then realising it would be closing too soon to be relaxing we went to Lekker Gec. This was great relaxed weigh-and-pay vegan buffet dining, so got to try lots of tasty things. I had a vegan stout too.

From here a nice walk around looking for something else suitable, we went in a semi basement bar for another beer while Clare ate a waffle, then to one more bar that was a bit trendier I think. Walking around the town at night was great, everywhere was busy. We were possibly in a studenty area, there were lots of people sitting drinking by the river.

I really liked Ghent. Even though it was only one night, this was my favourite part of the trip. If I went again I'd like to get a boat, and the seemingly free Wandelbus tour bus.

The next morning we had quite a good hotel breakfast, then another mooch around this lovely town. We bought some expensive hand made chocolates, but then they all melted in the car...

Crap drive again, each driving bit took longer than expected.

We bumped into Dom and Jen and family at the Eurotunnel terminal at the other end, they had also been on holiday in France.

Good holiday, felt too short.

I will probably be back with more points as I remember them. I may find a way to embed my photos in this, but that means me coding some solution I think...

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Paul Clarke's blog - I live in Hythe in the far South. Married to Clare + father to two, I am a full stack web developr, and I do js / nodejs, some ruby, other languages ect ect. I like pubs, parkrun, eating, home-automation and other diy jiggery-pokery, history, family tree stuff, Television, squirrels, pirates, lego, + TIME TRAVEL.