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Published: April 5th 2008
Day Three: Bring on the Waffles! Sunday 23 September 2007
Wake up call: 4:15am Bags and Breaky Box 4:45am Lobby 5:50am Leave 5:45am
It was a very early start. Breakfast box was a ham and cheese roll, croissant, yoghurt, apple, juice and water bottle. There were about 4 tour groups leaving so it was a little hectic. We met Gary, our tour director, who directed us down to the bus. As we drove through London in the dark, he explained a few things about the tour and how it would work.
It took us around 2 hours to reach Dover. The white cliffs were huge. It is a sleepy little town. We were stopped at the border by a very attractive French policewoman. She boarded the bus and checked and stamped our passports. This was our first French encounter and first chance to practice our Bonjours.
Our bus was selected for random screening. 6 bags were selected for xraying. We drove onto level 5 of the huge ferry and went up to the top. As we pushed off towards France, we took many photos of the cliffs as they faded into the distance. It took us
about an hour and a half to cross the chanel.I had a mochachino and some Tyrell hand fried chips (awful.. where’s the salt???) I soon got a queasy tummy and I did not cope well with moving around. As we approached Calais, we could see little “squares” all over the grey, dull ‘beaches’. After asking some French people nearby, we found out they were much sought after beach huts. Very plain.
We hoped back on the bus and drove off through FRANCE.. on the right side of the road.
Gary explained more about the itinerary, toilets etc and a bit about the history of WW1.
We approached Bruge at about 12:15pm. There were massive markets taking place, so we had to drive around a bit, before hopping off the bus.
Bruge was a delightful town. No picture does it justice. The chiming bells and horse drawn carriages were everywhere. We quickly scoffed down a chocolate waffle. £6 each!
There were chocolate shops everywhere and we brought some nice Belgium chocolates. There was lots of lace for sale. Very intricate. I could have walked around the beautiful village streets all morning!
We met again at 2:15pm and drove on through
the Belgian countryside.
When we arrived in Brussels we were in for a surprise. It was a special day. One Sunday a month the city is closed to all traffic. There must have been a special event on also. The streets were FILLED with bicycle riders in every direction, and off all ages. An amazing sight.
The Marriot is a gorgeous hotel with all the amenities. Lovely huge twin beds.
We had our welcome drink in the bar at 6pm, then went out for a walk. I was very surprised with Brussels. It was not at all what I expected. Very hip and cosmopolitan. We saw the Mannequin Pis. He was dressed in some sort of French costume then made our way to the Grand Place. It was amazing. Once again, a picture can’t compare to being surrounded by those amazing buildings.
We walked up a wonderful restaurant alley, where everyone was vying for business. We settled in at one place with another couple, before being joined by more of our group. We had a free drink, quite nice, kind of a rose.. Kirr?? The meals were a rip off. Mine was a bland chicken in a watery cream sauce.
£17 Rob had muscles and a sample plate £25.
We went back to look at the square lit up and found “Little Julian”to now be naked. We went for a walk and found lots of gay bars. We bought another round of drinks, some Turkish delight and drinks and enjoyed the night. Home again by 10:30pm
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