Day 20 – Saturday 23rd July (Aalst, Home)
Moose count = lots of pictures of them!
We left Aalst after yet another very good hotel breakfast and scooted straight to the nearest branch of Delhaize, my favourite Belgian supermarket chain. While Lynne stayed with the car, I hit the wine department, stocking up for the next few months at home.
There followed a brief flurry of car repacking, followed by a stop about 20 minutes later to stop the sound of bottles rattling against each other. A 3 hour drive to the Eurotunnel and another 2-3 hours home from there meant it would drive us nuts if we couldn’t make it stop. Not only that, but last time we did this one of the bottles cracked near the base and redistributed Madiran all over the car. It stank like a pub for weeks afterwards and only a full valet finally sorted it out.
Anyway, the clinking finally contained, we had a relatively quiet drive to the terminal, though it got busy in France as we were there on the halfway point of the main French holiday season. The train was on time, we were home on schedule and all we had to do was fight our way round the M25 to home.
By 16:00 we were in the door, the car was unpacked and the kettle was on! It only remained to amass the various spoils of our trip. There was wine, as you have already seen, and there was port!
There were moose souvenirs (of course there were).
There were mugs, only one of them from Iittala.
There were typical Finnish foodstuffs including cheese (not squeaky cheese I’m afraid), pea soup, cloudberry jam, chocolate bars, salmiakki, and lingonberry jam.
There were bits of dragster (even if normal people bring back chocolate, or so says a friend of ours).
There were also all sorts of other bits and pieces. There seemed to be half a tree at the very least. It had started so well, with just a few leaflets, brochures and booklets when we left Helsinki:
By the time we left Haikko it had snowballed out of control:
And just for good measure we brought some guidebooks back from Lübeck as well:
Still, paper from Finland is at least appropriate. And that was the end of that trip. Is it wrong that I’ve almost immediately started to plan the next one?