Menen, Belgium

No Reservations — in France During the Tour de France

July 2/3, 2012

We left Dijon with no reservations and headed North with the intention of finding some cool French/Champagne experience along the way (since we were in the Champagne region, and all).

What we found on the “freeways” of France was flat landscape, corn (no grapes) in the fields, high tolls (over €40), and roadside stops that combined 7-11 food with gas stations. Blah.

But, at least there were toilettes, men separate from the women! Meanwhile, little did we know that Tour de France was happening at the same time, so the first few hotels we tried were completely booked and uninterested in folks who couldn’t speak French.

We had to find something to do and a place to stay for the day and night, so we set GPS toward our Bruges destination, assuming we’d find something interesting (in France!) within the next few hours…

Finally, we got tired and ended up setting the GPS to the closest Best Western….when we arrived and inquired about open rooms, we should have known that we had landed in a new country. The man who checked us in was so-super friendly. He gave us their last room available and promptly got us two bowls (buckets?) of cold Stella. It was such a welcomed experience after the Sunday in Dijon where no one spoke English and few knew how to smile.

I think I can say, we both loved Menen. It is a real town with few tourists. Honestly, it wasn’t real clean and it really didn’t have new/interesting architecture. But the people…!…. awesome!

Not much was open when we arrived (Monday) so we found a local place and munched on mac and cheese and a ham/cheese toasted sandwich. The town’s bell tower was chiming all the time.

Around the town

I took this picture because I think this is the longest word I’ve ever seen so far…..(I just looked it up: it means the vet in Dutch)…see? Real town even has pets! J


And, yeah! We had no idea when or where we were going to do laundry..after our “lovely” Dijon experience with the local language barrier, we even thought about just buying some additional clothes…but we found this laundry mat! And, a nice grandma-age lady helped us navigate the Euro’s to laundry-tokens exchange and got us set straight.  She even told us through very broken English about her “other friend” in Pennsylvania. So cute!

I love this picture of Greg…he looks so relaxed I just had to post it. J

After laundry was done…we were on to Bruges.


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