A Travellerspoint blog

Belgium

Day 15 – A sad day for us blues

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View Following in the Family Footsteps on Neileeann's travel map.

Well not much to report today.

First priority was to try and fix the computer. Turned out to be frustrating. Took it to 2 places and in both instances the computer worked fine. Took it back to the apartment and in both incidences no go. So, at least I know it is not hardware and hopefully it will self correct itself when I get to Paris. I am not looking forward to trying to explain the problem in my broken French.

After that I went to watch the State of Origin game in a Sports Bar. Unfortunately the satellite was down, so no cigar for me or NSW.

After that I went for a walk around Brussels and in particular the UN Building. Not particularly inspiring given its role in world affairs. Didn’t see K Rudd with a begging sign, “please give me a job”. God help us all if that happens.

On the bus going back home went pass some seriously impressive buildings, but I am starting to get a bit blasé about some of these buildings. Serious craftsmanship, but they all start to blend into each other after a while.

Brussels put on a good show today. Nice weather and plenty of people out walking around the town. Like all places previously, can’t believe the amount of food on display and eaten during any given day. All those beautiful chocolates just need to be eaten.

Do I still have my love affair with Brussels and Beligum? It is still a daggy place and apart from Bruge I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to people for a visit form more than 2 days. I doubt they have ever been a wealthy country and it looks like it has taken its fair share of migrants from the arab countries, so it has lost o bit of its dagginess and replaced it with a bit more down and out. If anyone ever watched "Keeping up appearances", Beligum is like the character "Onslow" being the drunken bum to the refined Hyacinth (France).

Relatively short train trip to Paris tomorrow.

Posted by Neileeann 07:12 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

Day 14 - Wonderful Bruges

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View Following in the Family Footsteps on Neileeann's travel map.

Today we caught the train out to Bruges. Originally we were going to try and also fit in Ghent into our outing, but the attraction of Bruges was too much.

Like a lot of places in the lowlands, it too had canals aplenty, but it also had many of its historical buildings intact. All of which made for photo opportunity after photo opportunity, all of which may seem quiet dull upon my return, but in person it looks and feels spectacular. Did the oblatory canal tour and then pounded the streets for a few hours, eat and drunk some more, before hitting the streets again.

Arrive back in Brussels around 17:00. After a little rest we went out again for, yes you guessed it, more food and drink, This time at the nearby hotel. The Belgium’s are famous for their beers and it would take you years to get through all the beers they have on offer. Just this little hotel offered some 70 types of beers to chose from. Where to begin?

Today had computer problems that appear to be hardware issues, which prevented me from gaining wireless access. So hopefully I can find someone who can repair it.

Posted by Neileeann 07:05 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

Day 13 - Beer and fritzs

Down and out with those funny Belgians

overcast 17 °C
View Following in the Family Footsteps on Neileeann's travel map.

Well someone is a tired little vegemite! Travelling is often tiring and just the act of getting from A to B, no matter how soft the journey, can take a toll. And so it was today.

While the train trip between Amsterdam and Brussels was only 3 and a bit hours, it did have some minor hiccups along the way. Firstly, 5 mins before our train was due, it was announced that it was cancelled. Normally not a problem – there is always another direct or connecting train within 30 mins. So it was a train to Rotterdam and then another train to Brussels. Well the first train we had to slum it in 2nd class and it was hard jockeying for positioning and baggage space, before the dance of seat reservations begun. So the next 30 mins was spend moving between seats before settling down. No sooner than that and Rotterdam Station popped up, unannounced, so it was a quick exit and then a connecting train to Brussels. An uneventful trip. We were rightly returned to our correct status in 1st class.

Along the way some coloured Africans were taken off the train and questioned by the police at the station and eventually they were left behind. I suppose the immigration problem is more in your face here. This was one example, but I saw another example in Germany. The police were conducting a car stop and instead of doing the breathalyses – they were searching people’s cars and baggage and in some instances taking photos of the passengers. All very heavy handed when you think of needing probable cause. I had to asked for directions, so I also asked the cops what was the searches for and he gave a feeble excuse of this is a known speeding area (not that these cars were speeding).

Anyway, back off the high horse, and back to the subject at hand – our grand tour of Europe. Once arrived, I had to go to one place to get the keys for our accommodation, So I left Lee-ann at the station. 1 hour latter I came back to pick up little precious and she was all but falling asleep.

Arrived at the accommodation (and we are back to space), but it was a 3 storey walk up some very narrow stairs with tiny steps. Sensing the horns of rage growing out of Lee-ann’s head I sent her up ahead and carried the bags up. Not feeling particularly brave, I said that she should stay here and I will go do a laundry wash and bring back some wine and pizza for dinner.

And so it was, a relatively minor day with nothing much happening.

As for Brussels, I had fond memories of this city. Mainly because of the people I meet here last time and the generally dagginess of the people and their lives. No flash clothing here. It is a working man’s town (apart from K Rudd and the UN crowd) where the national food and drink is chips and beer. Still hasn’t changed too much. It is the sort of place that Bruce Springsteen could write endless songs about the plight of the working man.

Really not a lot to see here apart from the Grand Place (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Place) which is still one of my personal favourite European squares. It doesn’t have the grandeur or pizzas of other city squares, but it is one where I can really picture its function in older times as a true market square set in amongst the opulence of the ruling class (kings and churches). Unfortunately one side of the square is undergoing renovations, so it does detract somewhat from its overall enclosure and sense of place.

Posted by Neileeann 02:09 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

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