Monday, February 2, 2015

Belgium: Van Hercke Bed and Breakfast Laarne

 Plan to fall in love with this bed-and-breakfast. You won’t be the first to do so, as the journals in each of the cottages attest.

Ingrid came out to greet us as soon as we pulled into the driveway. For first-time visitors, this may be a little hard to find, but look for the wrought-iron sign with the water witch. Accommodations are provided in typical Flemish cottages. One is attached to the back of Ingrid and Daniel’s house, and the other is free-standing. We had the Blue cottage, and Joe and Bob had the Green cottage.

The cottages have an open floor plan, with tile floors and beautiful wall hangings as headboards. Each of the king-size beds can be separated into two twin beds quite easily. There is a romantic fireplace, a sleeper sofa, a dining table that seats four, a LCD TV with DVD and cable channels, lots of tourist information, and plenty of storage space in a large oak armoire. Wifi is also available for free.

The main reason we love this place, besides Ingrid’s breakfasts, is the small but well-equipped galley kitchen. With two burners and plenty of pots and pans, we were able to have home-cooked meals every evening. There is large grocery store in Destlebergen, which is less than 5 miles away. If you don’t have time to stop before you arrive, the fridge is stocked with orange juice, soda, and an excellent selection of Belgian beers.

Every effort is made to make your stay one that you will remember fondly for years to come. Arriving in January, we are less apt to enjoy the wonderful garden and greenhouse that adjoin the cottages. In the warm weather, Ingrid will serve breakfast in the hothouse. 

Every morning, precisely at 9 a.m. (the time we choose), Ingrid would bring over two loaded trays with museli cereal, milk, fruit (bananas or oranges), a platter of cheeses and meats, butter and jelly, and a basket of rolls and bread that varied from day to day. We had our choice of hot chocolate, tea or coffee, and orange juice. Needless to say, we never went off for our day of sightseeing on empty stomachs.

The bathrooms are bright white and equipped with a shower and blow dryer. There are plenty of nice fluffy towels and a towel warmer (which doubles as a clothes dryer).

If you want an accommodation that has plenty of room, the ability to cook and all the comforts of home and then some, I can not recommend this place enough. We used it to launch our visits to all of Flanders except for Antwerp and then on to Brussels. But for Ghent, Bruges and more this is perfect.

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