In Bruges

August 24th, 2014 , 15:01

So we’re in Bruges.

When we got to the hotel yesterday we asked for a recommendation for dinner – steak and fries – and the reception made a reservation for us at Maximiliaan ban Oostenrijk. So we headed out to the restaurant, got a little lost and turned around, and finally found the place. Had a nice table by the fire and ordered lots of food. Starter and main and then we shared sorbet. Joe had the salmon on toast starter, I got tomato soup (thick and rich), and we got the T-bone steak for two. Which came out on two plates cut, with a huge bowl of salad, another huge bowl of chips, and a gravy boat of pepper sauce. That was very filling. Then Joe ordered sorbet – raspberry, lemon, and passion fruit. And coffee and Joe had a whiskey. Lovely meal and we staggered out well stuffed. On the way out we passed the larger fireplace with the grill for cooking the meat – yep, right over a nice wood fire. Lovely.

We then walked around the area. After the tour buses leave the city is quiet; you can walk around the streets and along the canals. So we look at St John’s hospital lit up on the water, walked around the Church of Our Lady and over the canal at Saint Bonifacius bridge which is lovely at night. We also walked along toward the main square, but then turned back. I was sure I was seeing lighting but Joe kept saying it was tourists taking flash photos. He was wrong.

Got back to the hotel full and sleepy. Just as I was falling asleep  the thunderstorm started – lots of thunder and lighting. That seems to the be theme of our holidays this year!

Up in the morning, showered and dressed, coffee in the room before heading out. We headed for the main square, with a detour to walk around St John’s Hospital and through the courtyards, and had a look around the square (mainly at the tourists starting to queue up for the horse and carriage tours), I found the Pierre Marcolini shop, Joe got a couple of photos, then we headed out toward the edge of the old town. Got to the windmills just as a big dark cloud came over – luckily there were two pubs to chose from, so we ducked into one as the rain started and had drinks (coffee for me, beer for Joe) and watched the rain. It blew over rather quickly, so we walked up to the windmill and had a look (didn’t go in – didn’t go in anywhere!) then walked along the canal, before turning back onto Langestraat and heading back into the town. Got to a square where we stopped for lunch. Then a walk around a market and back around the canals – watching the tourists queue up for the boat tours. They really pack the boats full and then zoom around the canals quickly to get back for the next boat full. Joe was comparing it to a Disney ride and wondered if they shot at the hippo on the way around.

Having walked most of Bruges we found ourselves walking past the hotel, so decided to head in and have a rest and let the tourists go home. The streets were packed, barely able to walk packed! We figure we’ll head back out around fourish for a walk through the park. I’ll let Joe update later, when he isn’t snoring.

The museums are all closed tomorrow, so we won’t have actually gone into anywhere! The main historical museum is closed for renovations, so we’ll have to come back to go inside places for a look around. Tomorrow we’re probably walking a bit more, before heading back to Hoek van Holland and the ferry home.

Frog Blog

Meet you on the train

August 23rd, 2014 , 17:36

So Joe has been working in Amsterdam all week, leaving me all on my own. Except last night I got on the ferry and came over. Got to Rotterdam and got on the 09.58 train to Antwerp. Joe got on the 09.18 from Amsterdam to Antwerp. I booked the tickets separately. Our seats were across from each other. Now that is planning.

Antwerp train station is pretty nifty – lots of levels with trains! Four levels – we came in on the bottom level and left on the top level. So nifty! And do read the link – apparently the design is interesting.

So the the first thing we did in Antwerp was sort our tickets to Bruges. Then walked all over the historic district of Antwerp – well, after stopping for brunch. So an eggy omelette thing with bacon and bread and coffee later we were walking in the historic district of Antwep. Saw the main square, apparently there is a bollock festival (according to Joe, actually it’s Bollekesfeest, ok, same difference)  and walked along the river. Walked around Het Steen (giggled at the Lange Wapper statue – Joe will have to put that on Flickr!) and back through Antwerp to the station. To find out that tickets bought in a machine at Antwerp must be used within an hour. So ours are no good. The man at the ticket office was very nice, very helpful, talked us through the entire claim process, sorted out new tickets, told us the train we needed, printed a schedule, talked us through the changes, highlighted the information we needed – all the while we were smiling and nodding and fretting; because, the train he was talking about left in five minutes. And we needed to get our luggage from left luggage and find the platform (four levels, remember?) We got sorted and found the platform (luckily not far from the left luggage), but in the end our tickets were never checked! We’re going to see if we can use the original tickets to get back. Or maybe just go straight for the Netherlands.

So across to Ghent; we were there long enough to scoot from platform 4 to platform 12 and the train to Bruges. Got to Bruges and headed for the Hotel Academie where Joe got in the bath and I relaxed and rested. The walk through Bruges was lovely and I’m looking forward to seeing everything tomorrow. But for now we’re out for flamed grilled meat and frites!

Frog Blog