Sunday 2nd September 2007 Weather:- sunny- 22?degrees
(J) We are at Bruges, Belgium. The last 30 hours have been very busy. Yesterday we decided against going to Versailles, the weather was unpredictable and by the time that we figured it out it was too late, not worth it, so we went to the Louvre' instead.
Getting lost in the Louvre' is easy; the good thing is that there is a lot to see while you are finding your way out. The 2 things that we missed out on seeing are the Louis IV apartments and the statue of Venus de Milo but I guarantee that we saw the rest of it. As we had seen Venus de Milo before I think that we did rather well.
There was no sleeping in this morning as we were in a hurry to get on our way. It was sad to say goodbye to our little haven in Paris but we were ready for other adventures. The trip to the airport went well as we were able to take the Metro to Gare de Nord, change from the Metro to the RER (regular train lines in France) and take the train to Charles de Gaulle airport to pick up our lease car. All went well and smoothly, we left home at 8am and were driving in the car by 10am.
The little Renault Clio that we are leasing is a completely different car to what we can buy in Australia. The model available in Adelaide is a very basic car, the one that we are driving here has all the bells and whistles that the 'upmarket' cars in Australia have. Those things are leather seats, cruise control, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers, climate control, remote control windows, mirrors, etc. It even lets you know via a dashboard light if the tyres need pumping up. Herman is having a ball driving it. The speed limit a lot of the time is 130kl an hour and Herman believes in keeping up with the speed limit. The Tom-Tom is doing its job but it is early days yet so more on that later.
Bruges is a delightful town. It is funny to look up at a tower and see at least 15 different types if bricks used in the building of it. You can just imagine as it was being built over the years that bricks would have had to have been sourced from different quarries.
We arrived at about 1:30pm as we had a little coffee stop on our drive over from Paris. After settling in to the Hotel Ibis we decided on a little stroll around town. As we started walking around we both turned to each other and agreed that we felt a lot more at 'home'. The fact that we could understand the language made a big difference to us. After a nice sightseeing tour around town we decided that "afternoon tea" was a good idea. Popping into one of the "Tea" Houses of the main square and ordering cheese croquettes, a Belgium Beer and a glass of wine we were shocked to be served with a litre of beer and half a litre of wine. Oh, how we have to suffer. We toddled of home for a rest so that we can get some energy to go out for dinner tonight. (More later)
(Later) It is a little different walking outside now (7:30pm), where it was shoulder to shoulder people this afternoon the place is now almost deserted, not even an internet café open. We found ourselves back in the Markt (Main Square) and enjoyed the nicest meal that we had up until now. I don't want this journal to become a gastronomic tour of Western Europe but food seems to have improved on this side of the border. Anyway after a tasty meal we sauntered back home.
We are very pleased with our 'budget hotel'. The 'Ibis Brugge Centrum' is spotlessly clean, has one of the nicest bathrooms, with very impressive tap fittings (one of my weaknesses). This standard has not been found in places that we have paid twice as much per night for.