21st June – 28th June 2020
[the bits in italics are added by Captain Stu]
Yes, it wasn’t until 21st June that we could return to Calliope and start the summer aboard! Of course it was all due to the Covoid-19 coronavirus pandemic and it was absolutely essential that we neither spread the virus ourselves, or were ill in a foreign land – Belgium.
So we sat tight until the authorities on both sides off the channel deemed it safe for us to travel from UK, through France, and into Belgium. Our original April 1st Eurostar tickets to Lille had long since been exchanged for vouchers. On rebooking we found that the train was not currently stopping at Lille, so, masks fixed as required, we went to Paris, then back to Lille, and finally to Kortrijk. Phew!
We left the UK part way through the easing of the three month lock-down; no bars, restaurants, cinemas etc open amongst other things like hairdressers and gyms. We were therefore delighted and slightly shocked when leaving the station at Kortrijk to see our favourite bar open with plenty of customers! As long as it is safe, hooray!
No time for bars that day; more important to get to our boat and relax, which we did with beer, luckily left in the fridge from our February visit!
I just had to have a quick late evening walk to see the river, the city, and the quite amazing skies. The colours here are somehow extra vibrant.
Next day was about starting to get shipshape. We had returned to a very dirty boat due to a mix of sticky sycamore sap and builders dust from nearby developments. It was also time to re-varnish the wheelhouse and repaint the roof so ….. here we go ….
In amongst the days of work we took lovely walks around Kortrijk, both sides of the river. I cannot avoid taking photos when there are so many interesting shapes and colours. Here’s a taste of this fascinating small city.
There are many more photos of Kortrijk in other parts of this blog, both Summer and Winter, so I have not repeated them here.
And we continued to enjoy the fact that bars were open! One of our favourites is under the trees in the park at Plein, only 5 minutes from the mooring. Coronavirus had instituted a new ordering method – sending your table number and order by SMS, in Flemish! We did manage, but only after I had apparently sent our order top some unknown unsuspecting person in Eire.
Most evenings ended up on the back deck appreciating being back afloat, looking up, through the tress to the sky, down into the water, and along the river at the constantly changing view.
One of the things I like best about the mooring in Kortrijk is the birdlife on the water. Ducklings are always engaging and I have the chance to watch the way their mothers’ herd them and talk to them.
The moorhens were building a nest, the coots were visiting to ask for food ……..
…and the heron made evening visits, with a roof roost across the river.
After several days of blazing sunshine and temperatures into the low thirties we had a couple of days of rain and showers, and a thunderstorm.
Once that blew over it seemed a good time to get on the move and continue our exploration of Belgium, its beers and its waffles – and maybe on into the Netherlands!
Bye bye Kortrijk, until the autumn.