Trip Start Jul 07, 2007
Trip End Sep 22, 2007

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Flag of Belgium  ,
Friday, August 31, 2007

Wow! We entered Brussels from the East and were surprised by the number of big, impressive, new buildings including some for the European Parliament. However, these did not prepare us for the grandeur and size of the city. After two months visiting countries with small populations, cities and road networks, our approach down the Rue De La Roi, a four or five lane one way street heading into the centre, came as a bit of a culture shock - this place was HUGE!

Our first challenge was to find somewhere to fill up. This turned out to be slightly harder than you would think considering the size of the place and the number of vehicles, but obviously space was at a premium. The TomTom eventually led us to a small petrol garage outside of a multi-storey car park. There were six, tightly-packed pumps just off the pavement - two sets of three pumps each containing a different type of fuel. Of course, we discovered that only the rear set were working after we had pulled forward to kindly allow another vehicle to fill up at the same time. They promptly started, and before we could reverse back into their gap, a motor-bike had whizzed up.

Trying to park a vehicle over 2m tall provided its usual fun and games. At one point we thought we had cracked it - we had found an underground car park which stated that it had a height restriction of over 3m. Down we went, only to find that after the descent the roof height dropped and we were not going to fit after all... Fortunately we didn't have to reverse out. We decided that on-street parking would be our best choice and soon afterwards found a space - just outside of the National Bank, near to the cathedral - but was obviously dismissed by most motorists as it contained a huge pot hole, which we were able to park over without problem. Better still, as it was after 19:00 it was free!

My first priority was to find an open chocolate shop! This was easier than expected and before Gavin knew it I was in Chocopolis. After wooing us with free samples, a selection box was quickly being filled. A recommendation from the sales assistant in Chocopolis lead us to an excellent, seafood restaurant. As it was getting late, we only had time for a quick walk around the medieval centre, taking in the town hall and guilds, before heading back to Tallulah.

Driving out of Brussels seemed much easier than driving in - most of the first 4km was spent in an underpass!
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