Soooo…where were we? Oh yeah, driving out of Amsterdam to a chorus of Hare Krishna (not sure what I’m on about? click HERE) – god love em! Or not…I don’t know, do Hare Krishnas believe in God? Anyway – we headed out of Amsterdam on our way back to Calais and eventually big bad Bethnal Green (where I live, duhhhh) but first we had a pitstop in Belgium in a super fancy hotel.
It took around two hours to drive to Ghent and in that time my boyfriend took THU-REE sleeping selfies of me. I hated him. I was seriously DANGRY when I woke up and realised what had happened. BUT that is the risk you run when you sleep in a car of people that are meant to be your friends and boyfriend. Regardless…for your LOLS only, here is one of those damn pictures.
I know, I think I should dump him too but he’s promised to take me away again to say sorry – HAVEN’T YOU BABE? So I can’t stay too mad at him.
I honestly can’t believe I just shared that with the internet but meh, there must be worse things out there. So yeah, I was mad and grouchy from my power nap but soon we were at the Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof (EVEN THE NAME IS FANCY)…
…and getting a FREE upgrade from our standard room to a DELUXE. Obviously they could see I needed something to cheer me up post ‘sleeping-selfie’ trauma and that I’m clearly more a deluxe than standard kinda gal. So we headed up to our much improved room and I was cheered even further when I saw the wallpaper…
RED AND WHITE ARMY! Obvs the Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof are massive fans of Sunderland AFC – who knew?
After pointing out the wall paper repeatedly to my boyfriend who just shrugged and told me to be quiet, we decided to check out the spa facilities. Donning the hotel’s glorious white robes; me opting for a classic bathroom selfie while my boyfriend preferred a more gangster look wearing his – I had no idea I was going out with such a G – and we made our way down to the Wellness Centre.
We went for a dip in the much colder than anticipated pool – nothing relaxing about being cold. So I moved onto the cosy couch and rifled through the selection of Belgian magazines before coming across an old(ish) copy of ES Magazine which was amazing as I LOVE Grace Dent’s column (follow her on twitter too @GraceDent) and even better, it was one I hadn’t read. SCORE.
Aren’t you loving how super posed I am? Pointed toes much.
We then made our way up to the sauna/steam room and totally ignored/missed the sign saying no swimwear. The other hotel guests did not. And being a prude English bunch of chaps and chapesses we were very embarrassed by their nakedness. Tables were turned later though when the same guests found themselves sat next to us at dinner knowing we’d all seen his dinkle and her boobies.
Sadly the Wellness Centre was fully booked for massages so we were unable to indulge in any treatments, a heads up that you may want to book this a couple of days before your stay, if you’re going. So we headed back up to our DELUXE room and got changed to go for a wander around Ghent.
A 5 minute walk and we were in what I assume was the centre of Ghent. On a bridge overlooking the river we agreed that the town of Ghent is a bit of a looker. It’s basically like the set of Harry Potter – lots of turrets and towers and beautiful lighting. It’s a medieval little number and we loved walking around, almost as much as we love sitting down and drinking beer. So we stopped for a couple of Leffes…
and then had a couple of pictures outside the Castle of Counts which if we’d had more time I would have liked to have a proper nose around…
After the castle we took a picture of this…
…because it looked nice but I don’t know what it is – can anyone enlighten me? Dad?
Then we took a few more snaps of the town…
And spotted an amazing shop window full to the brim with BEER! We set about trying to find the most alcoholic one and my boyfriend couldn’t have been happier with himself when he spotted a punchy 11.1 percent-er!! Pretty bloody punchy indeed. So we bought a couple of bottles and then headed to the BIER HUIS to get some on tap.
However not being a BIG beer drinker, I wussed out and ordered a fruity little number, with the help of the very knowledgeable and friendly staff, that was only 2.5%. L.A.M.E. but I’ll have you know it was utterly delicious and more like a cider. The rest of the booze hounds had a couple of 8-9% tipples which we worked out was nearly, sort of, almost the same as having TWO PINTS OF WINE. Yup, imagine downing wine by the pint. Talk about smashing it. So after a few jars they were all well on their way to being hammered whereas I was still feeling straight as an arrow thanks to my shandy lightweight beverage.
We made our way back through the centre of Ghent and posed for a couple more pictures by the river. My boyfriend and I trying to grab a romantic shot that kept being ruined by the town drunk/village idiot.
Oh no…that’s just Bradley.
We made it back to the hotel where we had reservations at Lof – a very posh and loudly decorated restaurant – in the hotel. I’m not sure they were expecting this beered up bevvy of Brits so it might have been an idea to eat first and then crack into the 9% beer but ahh well, live and learn. We took a booth and set about ordering our starters and mains.
First though came the Amuse Bouche. The first indicator that we were in a very classy restaurant. When they give out samples for free in small, glass dishes you know it’s a posh one. Ours amuse bouche was some sort of posh prawn cocktail that was okay but a bit gooey for my liking. I’m not a prawn-gal at the best of times so it didn’t really hit the spot from me but the rest of the table loved it.
For starter I went for, shock, the goats cheese salad – the one I’d had in Amsterdam was so delectable that I was hoping for more of the same and I was NOT disappointed. It came with Granda Ham, honey, pesto, pine nuts and beetroot. Just look at the size of the goat’s cheese on my plate…
My companions went for something equally amazing that I can’t remember the name of or even begin to tell you what was in it other than apple and sorbet. Possibly some sort of meat too. Either way it blow all our minds and mouths. It’s just that genius sort of combination food that makes you go ewww no way when you hear it and then holy-mother-of-god that’s DELICIOUS when you taste it. The stuff you could never have thought of putting together in a million years. So yeah…our starters were pretty a-ok.
For main I snubbed my absolute favourite of steak with bearnaise sauce for the duck with mustard sauce and corn-baked potatoes. It was good but I’m starting to have that funny vegetarian feeling about meat that is cooked medium, rare. I used to love it the most but recently it’s been tasting all a bit too fleshy in my mouth and it’s really putting me off. I’m still fine with bacon rolls and the like but there’s something about the tenderness and pinkness of just cooked meat that is sadly starting to turn my stomach. So although the dish was super tasty (my dinner dates informed me of this after all sampling a little of mon canard) I was feeling a tad queezy by the end and didn’t end up finishing it.
Feeling like we all might explode at any point, we retired to a different table by the bar where we indulged in a Baileys before the thought of our big warm, comfy bed up in our DELUXE room became too much to ignore. We dragged ourselves up to bed and made the final leg back to London early the next day.
Stopping off in Ghent on the way back from Amsterdam was a great way to break up the journey and it felt like we really made the most of the trip visiting more than one place. Driving the journey itself also wasn’t as bad as I’d have thought. Admittedly if there is any kind of traffic or road works or problems that delay you this is very annoying but flights get delayed all the time too! And if you think about it, by the time you get to the airport, check in, fly, check out and get to your hotel…you’re probably looking at a similar amount of time. The luxury of the car means that you can leave at your own pace too.
Have you done any driving holidays? Where would you recommend driving to next?
Thanks for reading! 🙂