In the past we used to take the ferry from Hull to Rotterdam, an easier drive3, but recently this ferry got really expensive. We have neither too much time, nor too much money, so deciding wasn’t easy, but in the end we went with the cheaper option: going through Dover to France. This option was much cheaper than what the ferry we used to take costs now, but the drawback is that it involves two whole days of travelling (driving from North West England to South East England, then taking the ferry to France and then driving through Belgium and the Netherlands into Germany (driving through four different German states. Bavaria for example is more than twice the size of Belgium, but within a country there usually isn’t much variation, so there aren’t too many new things to discover, compared to driving through another country. Saying that, there was a new part of the motorway in Germany which was quite nice. On the side of the motorway you can see all the ‘trees of the year’ from the previous decades and a sign showing the name and the year for that tree.).
Well, it’s a little adventure that, as an added bonus, contains the opportunity to buy cool stationery and other items I can’t get in the UK or Germany (except stationery this was mainly caramel tea and flavoured Perrier).
So here’s a mini blog post about a visit to a Belgian supermarket: Carrefour, a French chain that is present in many countries. They used to sell their own Rhodia clones, but I haven’t seen those in recent years anymore.
This being Belgium the main attraction was to stock up on Atoma style notebooks – and the Belgian supermarket didn’t disappoint.
They also had a surprising amount of retro video game hardware. I found that very cool as I used to collect retro video games. I did/do have an interest in this: Fifteen years ago some friends from Singapore and I were running the biggest Gameboy web site at that time (called EAGB)4.
There was also a great choice of Lucky Luke comics. A big proportion of German shops selling magazine will sell Lucky Luke comics, but you wouldn’t get the choice you got in this supermarket – unless you go to a specialist shop. The photo I took on the day was blurred, so I’ll just skip adding it to this blog post.
…and finally: flavoured sparkling water. In the UK flavoured water has sweetener in it, basically making it lemonade, but in Belgium you can get Perrier with all sorts of flavour. Nice. I know these from Shanghai, but in Belgium they are much cheaper.