Mussels in Brussels

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Belgium  ,
Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's been a funny year this one, we seemed to have visited numerous places that we went to in the Chookmobile from 1998. Can't really be a bad thing, because the memory gets a little bit fuzzier every year, and this being Euroville, small changes do happen.
The Plan
Get up early, drive to Folkestone, jump on the train, drive to Brussels, (we had been here in 98 and hung out at a mates place, Jono's for 5 days of getting blind), hang out, watch Lucy skate, eat mussels, drink beer, drive somewhere else, do shopping in Calais, then home.
The Story
Things always happen in threes. We slept in !!! Halfway to Folkestone, I realised that I had left my SD card with GPS beside my bed, and the third, we had to wait 90 minutes for a train because we arrived a couple of minutes late !!! Luckily we had our map book from 1998, but trust me, getting to Brussels is easy, I've just become lazy around the cities.
It doesn't take long to get onto the ring road of Brussels, but it was much harder finding our hostel. Loads of roads were closed. We found out that there was a strike by the train people of Belgium. We did ask if the guys had caught a train in but they didn't get my joke. Realistically, Belgiques don't have much of a sense of humour !!!
Car and bags dumped, we walked the city. It's not very big. I have these memories of Grand Place being huge, but when we walked in, I didn't even realise that we were standing in it. My mind was playing tricks on me !!! We walked down some alleyways, where all the restaurants are, and it wasn't a nice scene. Outside everyone, were touts trying to drag us in. Not really our style, so we found somewhere quieter for a croque and a couple of beers, which in the Belgium way, went down a treat. We had a walk around the various Christmas markets, and like most outside of Germany, they just don't work. Lucy was hankering to skate so we walked up to the rink, but it was jammers, so she was put off.
We decided to head out of town and go to another old friend, Atomium. It's a huge replica of an atom and back in 98 it had been loads of fun to run around in. Since then, it has been restored. Driving up to, we were both just like kids, to us, it's a great structure. Once we were in, we caught the lift to the top. On the way up, we were told that we were now in the fastest lift in Euroville. We were also told the same thing when we caught the lift up BT Tower. Now apparently, one of the two were telling porkies, but we couldn't tell which one, so once up at the top, we watched the sun go down. It was pretty nice. Basically, we climbed all over it again, then went outside for the night shots. It was good to come back.
Back in Brussels, we had dinner in the markets, followed by more beer. As Lucy was in Belgium, she threw down the cherry beer like there was no tomorrow !!!
The general tourist goes to Brugges, we go to Ghent.
As it had been to crowded for Lucy to skate in Brussels, we drove over first thing in the morning to Ghent. But first we needed brunch, so we hit the croques again. Ghent really is a lovely place. It's our favourite place in Belgium, and we have seen all the sites, so Lucy went skating instead. I did the dutiful thing, standing on the side, taking photos, until my fingers could take no more, so she came off the ice, and we walked over to the castle. Couldn't remember much from 98 so it was good to go back. As usual, it's pretty castley !!!
We had loads of time to kill, so we headed to Iper, sadly though, we were not going to be able to see the Last Post, so we settled on having Flemish Stew instead. I had missed out on mussels in Brussels, so I accepted the stew, which isn't a bad thing as it tends to just melt in your mouth. As usual, it was washed down with beers. Standard ones for me, cherry for Lucy !!!
And then it happened, no matter how many times we catch a train or ferry to Euroville, we always end up running late, so we sped back to Calais. Actually, we did have enough time for Lucy to buy a shitload of cherry beer for herself before it was time to get on the train and head back home
And Finally
It's been hard these six weeks, going away, but now it has come to an end. It's been fun going to new places and re-visiting the old. Brussels was fun, but note to self, don't forget the GPS next time !!!

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