Belgium and the Netherlands

Well....I have finally got around to posting....its Sunday here and although it's the weekend, it was far to cold to go outside for too long (it 5pm and 4 degrees celcius!), so I decided to do a blog update.

Well there is a lot to catch up on, so I will have to post different events separately, but lets get straight into what we did on the half term break.....1 week holiday. well as I mentioned in the last post we decided to go to Belgium and the Netherlands. So here is what we did.....

Belgium and the Netherlands - October 27th to November 2nd.

Day 1 and 2 - Brussels:

I decided to budget this trip when organising it, and instead of catching planes, I thought it would be nice to make our way around using buses and trains. After a bit of research it was all booked and I was hoping everything would run smoothly.

So to head to brussels we needed to be at the bus stop in Victoria station London, at 10am. Easy peasy, I thought, however Clint was suffering a major hangover and could not bear to catch a tube....so then we decided to catch a cab. Hmm....a cab a 9am in London on a Monday morning - *reminder to self - NOT a good idea! Not only was the road chockas the cabbie was not really knowing where he was going either. Clint and I were stressing by around 9.30 as we knew that we were meant to be at the bus stop at that time and from the looks of the traffic were just not gonna get there before it left. Then you will never believe what happened, the cabbie hit a bike who did actually cut him off! Gee.......what a trip, a hungover boyfriend, a crazy cab driver and not enough time to get to the station. To cut the story short, we arrived at the station at 10am, piss bolted to the bus, checked in and literally made it to our seats before the engine started! Stress, yes not too fun, but we made it, that was the main thing.

So Brussels here we come! The bus ride took us 7 hours, Clint said it felt like it took 1 hour - maybe that was cos he slept the whole way!!!! The 7 hours went quite quick, we drove a couple of hours, then was on a ferry for a couple, then then back to driving.

We arrived at Brussels after 5pm and hopped straight onto a tram from Brussels Central Station to our accommodation. I had booked a double room for the night. The man Xavier, who ran Albert Inn, upgraded us to the biggest room with our own bathroom, as no one else was booked in. It was nice and big and the bed was comfy (a big change from our London bed!).

Some pictures:


After we settled in we headed back on the tram to the centre of Brussels to do a night tour. We went to the Grand Place, a main attraction and had a wander. It was lovely, but quite busy, and seemed to be a very touristy place.

We walked around for a couple of hours and headed back.......not after sharing a yummy Belgium waffle, thanks for the tip Michelle :o)

The next morning, we woke to a yummy breakfast prepared by Xavier. It was nice to be looked after by someone, and we knew that because we had hostel accommodation the rest of the trip we better enjoy this while it lasts!

We headed back into town the next morning, to do some sightseeing of things you should see while in Brussels.

In no particular order here is what we saw:

Maison du Roi - House of the King
This is the City Museum of Brussels, we did not enter it just looked from outside.



The Grand Place - Market Place
Huge centre square with large buildings all around. Home to a flower market also.




The Bourse - Stock Exchange
Meeting place for the Belgian financial world.



Royal Theatre of Monnaie



Royal Palace


Manneken-Pis
A legendary Brussels figure




And my personal favourite - Saints Michael and Gudule Cathedral






So after our morning full of sightseeing we caught the train to Bruges. The train to Brugge took around an hour and we got their early arvo, checked into our accommodation. And went had a wander around.......did not really start sightseeing the first day there.

Day 3, 4 and 5 - Bruges.

Well....Bruge is beautiful!!! I loved it, just as beautiful as Paris - lovely buildings, plenty to do, relaxing, ohh just too nice.

We did all the main touristy things there, but like Paris, mainly just walked and walked checking every part of it out.....and seeing what we may find.

Some pictures of what we saw over the few days:

On our first walk around we noticed a line of windmills by the canal.....very nice to look at, got quite a few pictures.



We did a canal cruise our second day there, was good to find out a bit about Bruges, and lovely to see everything there from a different perspective.

Clint looking very excited!

Other views-




Holy Blood church
Yes it means what it says, they have a cylinder with some dry blood of Jesus. We got to go up to the alter, touch the cylinder that was laying on a pillow - if you wanted - and say a prayer.....it was a quite moving really. Apparently this is something catholics strongly believe in and on Ascension day, it is the centre of attention in the Holy Blood Procession, which I am guessing would go through the streets of Bruges.



The Belfry
366 steps to get to the top of this 83 metre high tower, views were stunning, this tower is in the centre of Bruges - its called Markt.

A busker out the front of the Belfry, I have never seen a music machine like this before




Michaelangelo's Madonna -
The Madonna with child - one of the few Michaelangelo sculptures outside of Italy. This was in a church - Our Lady's Church.



Lastly just some Random photos of Bruges.


Jerusalem church - This church is meant to be an exact copy of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This was built in the 15th century by a merchant in Bruges as he wanted to secure his place in heaven, crazy hey!


Building connected to bridge over the canal, cars drive through it


Days 5, 6, 7 and 8 - Amsterdam

So we left Bruges after 2 lovely nights there, and headed to the station to get on a 4 hour train to Amsterdam.


We did a lot of walking around Amsterdam, there are not heaps of touristy things to do there, so mainly we walked around, checking out all different areas. I wqas really excited for Amsterdam, but found it not as good as I thought it would be.

Looked at the usual tourist things - saw the Red Light District, checked out a Coffee Shop, Canal Cruise and visited Anne Franks house.

Some pictures-


Anne Frank House -

We went into the house - now a museum, which her father helped establish. I read the diary when I was in high school, it was amazing to see all the things she talked about in real life, and the space they had to live in. Was a good museum to visit and worth seeing if your in Amsterdam.


Then on the 2nd we had an early start 8am, back to London - something like a 12 hour trip back.....very long, but not too bad.

Overall we had a lovely trip.......I will make another post very soon with my update on Barcelona day trip with people from work....

Not far to Christmas .... very scary, need to get pressies and christmas cards organised!

Hope everyone is well, and enjoying their preparations for christmas. First christmas away for Clint and I....will be very different.

Take care xox