Blogs from West Flanders, Belgium, Europe


Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges September 7th 2019

I toured the city of Bruges today and it was just as I pictured it: cute, scenic, and full of tourists. Bruges has cobblestone streets and tall towers, pretty canals and old churches. It has great old religious art and the only sculpture by Michelangelo to leave Italy in his lifetime. I think this statue of the Madonna and Child was featured in the movie The Monuments Men. It was a satisfying experience to finally visit this town that I have heard and read about for years. I was prepared for it to be crowded, so the number of tourists didn’t bother me (as it has in some of the places I have been on this trip). I guess it’s all about expectations. I don’t usually travel in the summertime because of the crowds, but this ... read more

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders August 13th 2019

We travelled through some heavy showers but most of the journey to Zeebrugge was dry. Shard a lovely brunch with Hannah and Michael in Oxford before heading to the coast. We arrived early at the ET Terminal and crossed sooner than planned - making up for the lost hour as we crossed into mainland Europe. The road to Zeebrugge was quick but a couple of pit-stops reminded us that public toilets on the continent can be rather basic. ... read more

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges August 13th 2019

Set off from Zeebrugge-Strand station at 9am and arrived in Brugge 20 minutes later. The weather forecast was not brilliant but we were blessed with more sun than rain. What a beautiful city with new vistas round every corner. We enjoyed a late breakfast in a beautiful old cafe before embarking on a lengthy tour by foot. ... read more

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges August 8th 2019

We are both excited to be leaving Calais - M navigates us into Belgium and on up to Bruges - 116 km Bruges is a canal based city - the Venice of the North - a medieval town virtually untouched - surrounded by gingerbread houses, cobbled alleys (creating a maze of one way streets) giant white swans and many varieties of ducks. Bruges was occupied in both WW I and WW II but neither the Allied nor German armies had the heart to raze it. In WW II German commander Imma Hopman even refused to carry out direct orders from his superiors to do just that. Bruges was liberated in WW II by Canadian troops on September 12, 1944. Bruges’ population is just over 117,000 - only 19,500 live in the small canal city centre. Over ... read more
Canal shot
canal shot
And another

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges August 5th 2019

Danielle and I wake up early on the 30th. Today is a travel day - on to Jumièges - still in France - near Rouen. We are more or less following / stopping at key cities / points of interest related to the Maple Leaf Route (thanks Nancy for lending me the trilogy). I am not exactly sure of Doug’s route taken but I am assuming he more or less followed the Maple Leaf Up and Down routes. Maple Leaf Up postings were staked along the fractured highways that pointed the way to the ever-shifting Canadian front lines in the ground battles for Northwest Europe. These routes were crucial logistic arteries extending from the Normandy beaches deep into Belgium, the Netherlands and eventually Germany itself. Scores of supply trucks (one/ or more of which Doug would ... read more
Doug’s standing orders
WW2 motorcycle
Doug in a ?

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Blankenberge May 5th 2019

Breakfast this morning was another chance to meet old crew members, our waiter had served us breakfast on our last cruise too. He remembered everything, right down to Gary loving eggs Benedict. We decided this morning to take the shorter trip to blankenberge rather than spend time travelling to bruges. Really glad that we did because it's a fantastic town. The weather, initially, left little to be desired. Very cold and the icy wind was funnelled between the buildings and right into our faces. It warmed up though and, right now, I'm writing this whilst sat outside a small cafe drinking a coffee. I had an Irish coffee and Barbara wanted to taste it.... she ended up just planting her entire nose and face in my drink... pictures will be submitted for proof. We have already ... read more

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders December 2nd 2018

Nasi odisli skoro rano, ja som potiahol planovane do 9.00. Takze teraz ide dennik uz bez zamlcovanych skutocnosti :) 3x po sebe na ranajky to iste a za mierneho mrholenia smer stanica brusel midi. Pred stanicou trhy. Tam zvacsa oblecenie. Dnes maju byt v bruseli opat masivne protesty, tentoraz proti oteplovaniu. Zacat to ma o 11.00. Kupujem listok na vlak v automate co bola chyba, bo po prichode do gentu mi jedna z cs spolubyvajucich vravela, ze kvoli protestu dnes dali zeleznice specialny listok za 5€, ktory platil cely den a dalo sa nim cestovat hocikde po belgicku. Cesta ubehla rychlo, bo ziadna zastavka avsak vlak bol natotalku napraskany, som celu cestu stal. Pesibusom do bytu cs cez centrum a popri kanalu. Prvy dojem z gentu zatial velmi pozitivny. Ziadne zatarasy, zebraci, drogovy dileri. Pekne male ... read more

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders November 22nd 2018

Rano ma postupne budili odchadzajuci spolubyvajuci. Nakonec som sa vykopal na bufetove ranajky. Tam to vyzeralo ako v neakej tackarne. Syry, salamy, sunka, chleba, kopa natierkovych syrov, corn flakes, hrusky, jablka, stroj na dzus a dalsi na kavu (vsemozne verzie) z automatu si davam kapucino. Balim si na obed aj jeden chleba, berem aj jablko a hrusku, no a vajicko na tvrdo. Idem spravit check out. Na recepcii uz ina baba. Tez mlada, mozno este studentka na vs. Uplne nic po ang nevedela, musela zavolat chlapika z kanclu. To uz co je, ked mlady lude v zapadnej europe co pracuju v hosteli nevedia ang. Nuz nechavam si tu batoh a prieskum mini mesta. Ono stare mesto prakticky len dve ulice. Ako kazde europske mesto nesmie chybat kostol, nakupne stredisko, trh, restiky, obchody, renesancne domy, poulicny muzikanti, ... read more

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Zeebrugge August 30th 2018

The final port of call on this mini cruise was the port of Zeebrugge. This port is on the north Belgian coast in West Flanders. It is not possible to walk in the port area therefore a shuttle bus had been provided at a premium of €10 per person for one return journey. The shuttle dropped off in nearby Blankenberge where it was possible to take a train to Bruges, a historic market town that lies only 15km south. If Bruges wasn’t your thing, you could explore the narrow streets or stroll down the wide promenade of Blankenberge but from experience, even on the mildest of days, there can be a chill wind that whips off the North Sea and across the sea front. We were not sure why one is not allowed to walk out ... read more
Sorrentos Pizzeria
The Climbing wall - Independence of the Seas
The Flowrider - wave making machine

Europe » Belgium » West Flanders » Bruges July 15th 2018

On 21 June we got up and had breakfast very early in the morning, and left for the station. Mark had purchased the tickets for InterCity Rail for us to travel at the specific time. Amsterdam Centraal station is one of the major stations in Europe. Eurostar is scheduled to arrive at Amsterdam Centraal Station in 2019 and we could see the construction of the new terminal from the platform where we were waiting for the train for Brussels. The InterCity train, ‘Thalys’ looked very impressive and it offered us a comfortable ride between Amsterdam and Bruxelles-Midi. Upon arrival at Bruxelles-Midi, we realized that the language had been changed. Mark asked the station staff which platform he should go to catch the train for Bruges; the station staff replied in French. The train for Bruges departed ... read more
my lunch
view from cruise

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