Friday, 8 July 2016

Our Last Day On The Coach,

but we still have a lot to do,

 our first stop of the day, next to a wind farm,

 it appears there is a football match somewhere,

 on the way back to the coach I spotted this, 

 a Lotus 7, many years ago I took one for test drive at Caterham Cars, it was certainly fast, in those days you bought it as a kit and made it yourself, that is still an option, but nowadays they can be bought ready made,

 not quite my cup of tea, but they certainly accelerated fast for what they cost at the time, given the choice today I would go for the Seven 620s, 0-60 mph in 3.44 seconds with a top speed of 145 mph, it is the price that is a little off putting, from £46,495, having said that the basic Seven 160 costs from £15,995 and still goes from 0-60 mph in 6.01 seconds with a top speed of 100 mph,

 here we are, in Belgium in Brugge,

 we parked up,

 and made our way into town,

 past so many ducks,

 and swans,

 near the picturesque bridge,

 instead of looking out for bicycles, in Brugge keep an eye out for horses and buggies,

 everything here is horse orientated,

 like this,

 horses head fountain,

 this restaurant looked nice, but it was still too early for lunch,

 we continued our walk,

 over the river,

 and keeping a lookout for horses,

 a quick pose,

 as a tour goes by below us,

 one of the many sweet/chocolate shops that line the streets,

the St. John's Hospital and Memling Museum, it an odd combination of a museum, a 13th century hospital and Baroque church, it is the oldest preserved hospital building in all of Europe,

 we continued our walk,

 looking at the brickwork here, so many changes must have taken place to the building over the years,

the huge tower in the market square,

 nearly forgot, look out for horses!

 Men at Work, I thought it was the group, but it is in fact a clothes shop,

 we walked the narrow streets,

 for a while,

 and then arrived at the town square,

 which at one side of it had a exhibition,

 the work of Salvador Dali, for myself a great artist, here is a timeline of his works,

 a quick pose from Diana,

 the Halle with the belfry, where the Dali exhibition was being held is Bruges' most distinctive landmark soaring above it, the Halle was begun in 1248 and twice enlarged, first in the 14th century and then again in the 16th century, and once functioned as the city's main marketplace, the 83-meter-high belfry is considered to be one of the finest bell towers in Belgium construction of the bell tower began in 1282, and the crowning octagonal upper section was finally completed in 1482, today, a carillon of 47 bells still hang in the tower, as an aside if you are feeling fit you can climb the 366 steps to the top, we decided against it, note to self, do not take pictures into the sun,

 at one time we almost had the place to ourselves,

 except the horses,

 in the square a statue commemorating the uprising in May 1302 by Jan Breydel (born in Bruges in the 13th century) who is credited with leading the Bruges Matins (Brugse Metten), in a violent uprising against Philip the Fair, Breydel, who was by trade a butcher, led the Bruges Matins together with Pieter de Coninck, a weaver, 

 the main square,
 and horse park,

 a great way to sightsee,

 and the whole area,

 is horse friendly,

 I decided to wait for the sun to disappear behind the tower before taking another picture of it,

 and the crest on it,

 a panorama of the square,

 this Ducati with a few more horsepower than there is in the square,

 by now we were getting a little hungry,  

 so a look at some of the restaurants, 

 that line the square,

 this one fitted the bill,

 and our view from the table, 

 Brugge as well as other places in Belgium are famed for their mussels and chips,

 so I had to try both, not mussels from Brussels but Brugge,

 Diana started with ice cream, 

 'Cheers!', from me,

 and hello ice cream from Diana, 

 the mussels were delicious as were the three time fried chips, the chips are fried twice, left to cool and fried a third time, it does make a lot of difference I have to say, 

 did I say that the mussels were nice? 

 I was so full I had to leave a few,

 notice the Expat custom designed polo shirt, more of that later,

 after our lunch,

 we went walkabout, 

 near the main square there are tree line seating areas,

 then clip-clop,

 a convoy of carriages,

 all clear to cross the road,

 what a beautiful looking building,

 a couple share a quiet moment,

 whilst another goes for a tour,

 Diana with the horsehead fountain,

 back to the swans, 

 bridge and coach, 

 to our next stop, we are in Diana heaven a chocolate factory!

 the sign says it all,

 so in we went,

 to the production line, 

a chocolate fountain, things could not be better,

 well they could,

 the sales area,

 so many to choose from,

 and such a small basket,

 oh boy, lollipops!

 and ice cream, 

 it just keeps getting better and better,


 we joined the queue for the ferry to Dover,

 what a real adventure, visiting so many different places,

 if you want to try a holiday like this yourselves the company that we used was Expat Explore,

 I mention the polo shirt earlier at lunch, well this is it, the artwork was designed from scratch by one of the guests on the tour, the catch phrase was from Gustavo, 'Hello My Loves!',

 all who wanted one ordered it and we picked them up in a few days time when they were printed, well we just had to wear them for our last day,

 some of our new family,

 on the coach, it is true to say we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves,

 on to the ferry,

 and we were soon steaming out of the harbour,

 so we made ourselves comfortable, 

 for the hour or so crossing, 

 goodbye to wind farms,

 and hello good o'le Blighty! 

 with the white cliffs of Dover,

 a panorama of the cliffs,

 we passed the breakwater,

 and were on our way in record time,

 we were picked up and dropped off in Greenwich, South London, which was fine for us, a 199 then a 54 bus and we were back at Steve and Kai's in a hour or two, before that we said goodbye to all of our fellow travellers and wished them all bon voyage,

 arriving at Steve and Kai's two of the fox cubs were out playing,

 and having a scratch, 

when something disturbed them, they were off, by now it was late and after a bite to eat we were all off to bed.

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