Brussels, Belgium. D-Day plus 2

by - August 26, 2010

Woke up to the sounds of rain from the hold of our boat.  Started to pack our stuff, but then the power went (and with it the lights in our cabin), so the packing ended up being 90% guesswork.   Our cabin may well be still full of our kit.  We have the essentials (passport/train ticket/grand prix ticket/ductape) so don’t worry mum and dad.  Ate as much free food as possible at breakfast (travel tip #1), before having a look at the replica Dutch trade ship that was moored nearby.  This was cheap and fairly interesting - the highlight was Morgie dislodging a replica cannon and trying to straighten it.  He seems to be unable to not touch EVERYTHING when in a museum.  As he reads this he says he likes to “get his money’s worth”. Ha.

From there we picked our bags up from the hostel, handed our keys in and headed to Amsterdam station in the torrential rain.  While this was a short journey, we learnt travel tip #2: don’t wear a poncho with a rucksack.  I now have only shreds of a waterproof remaining.  The train journey was fairly painless, though it was clear that our rucksacks were not appreciated by our fellow travellers.  The ticket conductor complimented the three of us for having filled in our Interrail pass correctly - apparently everyone fails on their first journey.  Ahhh yeah.

Arrived in Brussels at half 2 and headed to the town centre for lunch.  Found a little cafe off Grand Place for a sandwich, chips and beer.  The meal was made more interesting by a man in a Peugout driving straight through a bollard.  The combination of EVERYONE in all the cafes staring, and the metal bollard rolling slowly but loudly across the square was well worth watching.  The poor man had actually wedged his car on the bollard and had to lift it up.  My sense of politeness stopped Morgie from taking a picture for the blog.  After lunch I had my first Belgian chocolate.  A lot of it.

The hostel was very pleasant and though we had booked a dormitory, we had it to ourselves for our one night stay.  It is located just off the main shopping street and after we had dropped our bags off, we started a vague tour of all the sites.  Starting with the Grand Place (which is epic - far more impressive than anything in Amsterdam, it has to be said), we walked to the Mannekin Pis (a statue of a small cupid having a pee - the worst tourist attraction I have seen in my life and yet somehow an integral part of Belgian culture).  Daniel and Morgie then had a waffle, the latter eating it with the majority of his face.

A whistle stop tour of the rest of she sites followed - the Palais de Justice (covered in scaffold - fail), several cathedrals, the Royal Palace, the Brussels Gardens and a column with a famous Belgian guy on top.  This took 2 hours and I think that we actually managed to take in most of the city in the short time that we have here - we leave tomorrow for the Grand Prix.  As a result, our evening has been mostly spent making final arrangements for the weekend - apparently it is set to rain heavily, which is good for the TV spectator, but not great for us in our tents and torn ponchos.  For all of those who are watching the Grand Prix (can a family member of mine please record both qualifying AND raceday), I shall be wearing the scraps of a bright red poncho while waving a massive Union Flag, Daniel will be wearing his bright orange McLaren top OVER his waterproof, and Morgie will be bearing the Union Flag that we will tattoo to his torso this evening.  Subject to change.

I know I have blogged everyday, but that has been due to the rapid movement between cities thus far - the next blog will probably be about the Grand Prix at the start of next week.  I hope you can wait till then - I certainly can’t! (haaa)


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