Onto the continent

Trip Start Apr 15, 2013
Trip End Jun 04, 2013

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Where I stayed
Brussels Marriott Hotel Grand Place
Read my review - 5/5 stars
What I did
Manneken Pis Brussels
Read my review - 1/5 stars

Flag of Belgium  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Saturday, April 20, 2013

So this morning we arose disgustingly early, after sleeping fitfully waiting for the alarm. We got ourselves organised and went over the road to Paddington Station's taxi rank where we caught a cab to the Marble Arch Thistle Hotel to join our tour at 5.15am. But it was so nice to have a lovely gentleman standing there as we paid the cab (I thought he wanted the taxi) and then he turned to us and said "Mr and Mrs Watt?" It was Bob, our Dutch tour guide.

So, we were put onto a lovely brand new coach, seating 49 people, but there are only 17 of us: a couple from Cairns, a couple from USA, a lovely group of five from the Philippines and a family of six - 4 children (2 of whom are twin girls). They used to live at Springwood (grandparents still do) but are now at Cherrybrook. Such a small world - to come from the same area of NSW, and to be in the same situation as us back in 1999!!!

It took about 2 hours to get down to Dover where we caught a P&O ferry for the P&O cruise to Calais. We were told to have our passports ready for the French authorities to board the coach and stamp, but no-one came on board, then they told the driver to go to customs checkpoint 4, which we did, but no-one was working there! So we boarded the ferry for the crossing. During this time we had to get off the coach so we took the opportunity to go and have some breakfast and watch the white cliffs fade into the distance.

It was only about one and a half hours before we reached the wharf at Calais and we were on our way again. We didn't stay in France long, driving straight through to Brugge in Belgium. We walked over to the old town and were shown the significant features. There were lots of tourist shops with the usual stuff, but also lots of shops selling Belgian chocolate (at prices significantly cheaper than Katoomba). Apparently the local beer is very good, so after exploring as much as we wanted we went to a cafe and had a local beer, followed by Belgian waffles with ice cream and warm chocolate sauce. Then we went and watched the beautiful swans and the ducks on the canal - very pretty and idyllic.

We then continued on to Brussels and taken to our rooms at the Marriott - very nice indeed. We had time to freshen up (and do our laundry and hang out to dry in the bathroom) before meeting in the lobby and taken on a walking tour of the old part of Brussels. This was followed by a lovely dinner in a local restaurant where we got to know our fellow travellers a little better.

Wow - woke up in England, travelled through France, sleep in Belgium!!!
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Chari-Rose on

Oh my gosh! So impressed that you woke up in England, traveled through France and went to sleep in Belgium! You cuties know how to plan things!

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