Sunday, 30 August 2009

Invasion of Francorchamps

Last night we walked from our campsite out in the sticks into the center of Francorchamps. Francorchamps, you understand, is a small town of maybe five bars, so center is a relative term. It nestles near the top of a valley, surrounded by forest and fields. The race track is laid out below it, hidden in the trees but well within audible range.

We'd targetted Francorchamps as the only cafe near our campsite sold nothing but omelettes and we'd had some of those already. We werent expecting great things, having already grown acustomed to the unvarying diet of sausage-in-a-bun and waffles at the track, but Francorchamps still managed to disappoint. The steakhouse had a special menu on for the grand prix, seemingly consisting of lukewarm mechanically reclaimed chicken 'stuffed' with ham and cheese in various mushroom sauces (a 'ham and cheese fricasse' according to Rich, almost inedible to Jelte and I). It is fair to say that Belgium hasnt yet impressed us on either quality or diversity of cuisine.

My strongest memory of the evening is of the walk back to our campsite. As we started up the hill the town spread out below, lit by the setting sun and covered in a pall of smoke. The smoke came from the hundreds of barbeques littering the campsites that completely surrounded the village, and was complemented (if that's the word) by a mixture of 70's rock and 80's pop. The opening scenes of Gladiator sprang to mind, armies massing for battle (but with more ACDC).

As we neared the crest of the hill we passed the Germans. They seemed to have been segregated into a field all of their own, in which they'd pitched a big tent and built a bonfire out of pallets they'd brought with them on a truck. They'd also set up a pair of 4 foot speakers and some form of bar. Some prior planning here, clearly. As we passed Iron Maiden was playing (followed by Deep Purple) and one guy was leaping about in front of the fire playing air guitar using a burning log. Another was supporting on inflatable guitar while a third threw more fuel on the fire. The others were falling about drunkenly. Opposite a small crowd of inquisitive campers from the neighbouring site had collected, possibly curious as to when the Germans' tent would catch fire. The music was so loud we could hear it almost back to our campsite.

It was a beautiful sunset. Apparently the locals hate Grand Prix weekend, cant understand why.

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