Monday, July 9, 2018

York

We got up EARLY to take the train to York to visit my friend Karen.  We had a nice time sightseeing, eating, drinking, and wandering around York.  Then it was back to London for a late dinner at the hotel.










Thursday, July 5, 2018

Bye Bye Brussels, Hello London

I had purposely booked us on a late afternoon train to London thinking there would be lots of stuff we wanted to see in Brussesl on Tuesday, but things did not take as long as we thought so we had quite a bit of time until our train left.  The hubs decided we should just head to the train station early.  I wasn't thrilled about sitting around a train station for a couple of hours, but marriage is about compromise.  So we took an Uber to the train station--much cheaper and our driver only talked on his phone while driving, no texting and his driving wasn't too crazy.  Additionally, the concierge told us the taxi driver had overcharged us.  I think our Uber was like 7 Euros (instead of the 20 Euro taxi ride).  Anyway, we got to the train station and they told us we were way too early, but due to some train service being disrupted by strikes in France, they would move us to an earlier train without charging us any fees so we got to leave within an hour instead of sitting around for a couple hours. About two hours later, we were in London.  We took the tube to our hotel, got checked in, hung out for a bit, then set off exploring.  I've been to London a few times, but the hubs never has so I figured he should see some of the big spots including Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.  After wandering around for a bit, we headed back toward our hotel.  We grabbed dinner at a pace down the street from our hotel--fish and chips for me--then back to our room for the evening.  We had an early start the next day as we were heading to York to visit my friend Karen. 


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Ghent and Bruges

While researching Belgium, I had read that there were various cities outside of Brussels that were worth visiting that did not take a long time to reach. We didn't have time to see all of them, but a day trip to Ghent and Bruges was definitely doable so that's how we spent Monday.  Rather than bore you with all the details, I'll summarize then just encourage you to scroll through the pictures.  We rode to Ghent, had a tour of the town, visitied a church, and then had a tiny bit of free time.  Then it was on to Bruges for a brief tour, lunch--lunch was good, I finally had some Belgian mussels, but it was seriously overpriced--then continued our tour of Bruges.  After that, we had some free time, then we did a lovely half hour boat ride tour through the canals.  Then it was back to the bus to head back to Brussels.

My pics won't load right now, but will try to post in a later blog.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Brussels, Waffles, Beer, and Chocolate

Although we were still a bit tired, we really enjoyed our first full day in Belgium.  We got up, got ready, and then headed about 5 minutes away from our hotel to take a morning tour of the city.  The tour was nice, we saw the big sights to see (see pics below), but it was in four languages.  I speak English and a little bit of Spanish (I am NOT fluent) so I am amazed anytime someone knows multiple languages.  The only thing with a tour in four languages is after they do a bit in your language, you have to wait a while for them to get through three other languages before they say anything else in your language.  So the tour ran a little longer than it was supposed to, but we didn't have plans until 3:00 so it wasn't a big deal.  There was a bit of walking and then the tour continued on a bus.  After the tour, we went back to the hotel to drop of my jacket--it was warm, use the facilities, and then we had lunch at a sandwich place.  More exciting than the lunch was the dessert.  I finally got a Belgian waffle in Belgium with some delicious strawberry ice-cream.  Their ice-cream is different from our ice-cream, but it's GOOD.  We wandered around a bit, then headed to a chocolate store where we were supposed to begin our beer and chocolate tour.   I like chocolate and the hubs likes beer (to be fair, he does like chocolate too) so this seemed like a good tour to book.  It may have been our favorite part of Brussels.  There were about 10 people in our group.  The tour begins with a few pieces of chocolate (we enjoyed it so much that we went back two days later and bought some) and then you stroll through various neighborhoods of Brussels learning some history and seeing some historical/famous spots as you head to three more chocolate spots. I tried a variety of chocolate.  One that was quite interesting was the basil chocolate, it reminded me of pizza.  It was like eating chocolate and pizza all in one.  I wasn't a big fan of the spicy chocolate.  There were also various fruity type chocolates (i.e. raspberry) and more traditional type flavors too.  After visiting the four chocolate spots, and trying likeva dozen pieces of chocolate, it's on to three bars, where you have two beers at each bar.  I liked one of the beers (yes, only one, but that was no surprise as I don't like beer much anyway).  The second to last bar included snacks and the last bar included one last piece of chocolate. By the time the tour was over, we were full and happy.  However, we stopped for french fries on the way back to the hotel because um, they looked delicious and I wasn't going to Belgium and not having fries. I couldn't finish them--huge portion, but I enjoyed them anyway.


















Saturday, June 30, 2018

Planes, Tubes, Trains, and Awful Taxi Rides

Once we had our luggage, we found our way to the tube (where I mistaknely spent way more on a tube ticket than I should have, but as they say hindsight is 20/20).  We rode about an hour to St. Pancras Station where we had hours to wait for our train to Brussels.  (I had allowed us extra time in case of a delayed flight, but of course since I did that everything was on time.)  I tried to buy lunch, but I was told my pounds were outdated and no good.  WTH?  Apparently, the UK updated some of their money between when I was there two years ago and now.  Thankfully, I had some current money, which was acceptable.  Good thing because I was hungry (though I guess I could have had a Cliff bar, I'd packed a bunch of those).  Anyway, I think it was before noon when we got to the train station and our train wasn't until 3 so we had plent of time to wander around, eat, and of course read my book.  But eventually 1:45 arrived and they let us go through security, sit in another waiting area, and finally board the train to Brussels.  It was a nice enough train.  And two hours later we were in Brussels.  We found a taxi right out the doors of the train station.  We were not impressed when he said it would cost 20 Euros (more on that in a later post), but we were exhausted so we paid 20 Euros for us and our luggage to drive under 2 miles to a hotel.  The driver was screaming AND texting on his phone for much of the ride and thank goodness he had good brakes!  I am not super religious, but some praying may have occured in that taxi.  Does Belgium not have a hands free rule?  It was not a good introduction to Belgium, but I promise you we enjoyed the country much more after that ride so it's true first appearances can be deceiving (or whatever that saying is).  Got to the hotel, checked in (the hotel staff was lovely!) and were told that they were overbooked because of a wedding so they only had twin beds.  They offered to put them together if we wanted to go for a walk now, but after being up for over 24 hours I think any bed would have done at that point and the hubs was in no mood to go for a walk right then.  So we checked into our hotel, got settled, hubs napped, and an hour or so later we wandered around the neighborhood a bit and ironically on our first night in Belgium had dinner at an Irish pub.  Back to the hotel for a little NCIS because yes, you can watch NCIS in Belgium and then to sleep.  Correction:  attempted sleep.  There were bars/restaurants close to our hotel and it was 70 degrees on a Saturday night in April (not normal for Brussels in April or so I'm told), which meant people were out late having a great time.     

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Here we come Heathrow

Recently, the hubs (who I only ever refer to as the hubs in this blog, never in real life) and I traveled to England and Belgium.  Considering how long it takes me to blog about an entire trip, I'm figuring if I start today, I might be done by the 4th of July.  So here we go, we headed out on a Friday night.  He doesn't work too far from the airport so I met him there (I took a very full bus down).  We checked in, made it through security fairly quickly and then got some overpriced food.  What is the deal with airport food?  I've yet to find airport food that I can afford that actually tastes great.  We knew the plane was serving food (don't get me started on airplane food, actually it wasn't terrible) so we just split chicken tenders and he had a clam chowder.  I mean come on, overcooked chicken tenders?  Really people?  And the chowder wasn't so great either.  Thankfully, we were hours early for our flight since the service was slow.    Then we played on our phones, read, (found out one of our friends was proposing the next day), etc.  Soon boarded the plane and after dinner, which was okay, it was a pasta dish, salad, a roll, and some type of mousse pudding dessert thing that was surprisingly good-- I tried to watch a movie--"Downsizing," it was good, but I was so tired I eventually gave up and tried to sleep.  Tried is the key word because according to my Fitbit (and the way I felt the next day) I did not sleep.  I dozed a few times for a few minutes, but that was it.  Eventually, gave up on sleep attempts, read a bit and then we finally landed in England to find it was actually hot.  Amazing for April.  There was complimentary bottled water in the customs line! That line was an hour long!  The good thing about that is by the time you make it to luggage your luggage is actually there so you don't have to wait ages for it like at home.  And I'll leave it at that and pick up with day two next time.  Day two is a bit boring as it mostly invovled sitting in a train station and riding a train, but days 3 onward are more exciting and may even contain some fun pictures.  :-) 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Not in a Blogging Mood

So I don't know what my deal is, but I haven't been in a blogging mood lately.  I need inspiration. lol I thought about doing another decluttering post, then I thought about Easter, but I just wasn't in the mood.  So I'm taking a couple of weeks off from blogging.  So until next time, dear readers, have a good one.