De Groote Waere
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We have returned home now, but as I am now over 60, it takes me a little while to get things done. That's my excuse anyway.
So here is our Belgium experience !
We boarded the Eurostar in Paris for our 2 hour journey through Brussels into Bruges. Bruges is in the north of the country near Oostend on the coast and is truly delightful. We stayed in the historical centre and it reminded us of Venice, just smaller ...
... and off we drove to Diksmuide to visit the enormous Iser Tower, a brick structure of enormous height, built as a War Memorial to Flemish soldiers who died in the Great War. Apparently the original Flemish crosses on all the local war graves were replaced by a standard "Belgian" design, on the orders of the post-war 1920's Belgian government. Among other things, the replacement headstones had all their wording in French ("Mort de la Guerre" or whatever). This was ...
... s Finally Over."
Quite a sobering day, but very interesting given that I could probably only spout a few facts about World War I. Plus, I saw a tiny wee toad in the German cemetery.
When we got back to Bruges, most of us went to De Halve Maan brewery for a tour. The guide, Inge, was hilarious and gave us a very entertaining presentation on this particular brewery's methods. We even went up on the roof briefly, and we also had to go down stairs backward ...
... ride it, as for us, it is only a walk in the park !!!
Car, train, arrive in Calais, the weather was ****, it was hailing/sleeting, it was cold, so we drove on up to Ieper, parked the car, built the bikes and found a cafe as the weather was ****.
One coffee later, we hit the road as the sun was trying to shine through !!! We followed a route from an old book that we bought in 1998 called the Flanders Field, and got lost straight away ...
Brugge is beautiful. The architecture is so unique - intricate moulding on every building. Each hotel employee, taxi driver, restaurant worker all the say the same thing - Brugge is busy busy busy, and is ALWAYS busy busy busy. No recession here, I guess. That's good.
The damp weather stuck with us from Ireland, however, and we are still wishing for rain boots. I think the weather is looking up for tomorrow, and ...