Sunday, October 25, 2009

And So It Begins ...

I have been up since 3:30 am (10:30 am European time) and I've done all I can while Ted is still sleeping. The bags are in the bedroom with all the laundry and I don't want to drag them out and have stuff all over the house. It can wait. So I downloaded my pictures and can start with my promised blog.

Day 1 - Our friend Dave drove us and Terry & Carol to the airport in my Expedition and then kept it so he could pick us up. It saved a lot of time and money so we certainly appreciated his help. Our flight over was easy. We dreaded the four hour layover in Frankfurt but with Passport Control and the vastness of the place, you need two hours easily so it didn't seem so bad. It was the next day at 9 am when we arrived.

Day 2 - Our second flight was to Brussels where we were met by a Grand Circle Tour rep. She informed us we were waiting for the Heathrow flight that was bringing our other friends Bob and Lorraine. Once they arrived we were transported by bus to Brugge for a three night stay at the NH Brugge hotel. It was a 17th century monastery originally and has been renovated beautifully inside to its present use.

We arrived just in time to join in the welcome cocktail and information reception. Because it was raining and we were all tired, we opted to have dinner in the hotel.

Ted in the lobby on Day 3.

Day 3 - We were right on a transportation square and could watch everyone riding bikes, catching trains and/or buses. Our bus was parked on the side street in front of some lovely white houses. We learned they were built in the 1400s for the poor and today are housing for "pensioners" - a new name for us old folks!

We took a walking tour of the city where we saw the city gate, corner saint statues that gave streets their names, historical churches, canals and toll houses (we took a boat road on the canals) and much architecture that is hundreds of years old. Note the 1614 date on the building.

We arrived at the city center, plaza, market square, marketplatz - each European city has one and they are called by various names. Beautiful buildings surround the square. Most are government buildings, museums and churches with very beautiful architecture. The lion and bear are symbols of Brugge and are featured predominantly in many places. Lovely outdoor restaurants abound.

We stopped to watch a Belgian lace maker ply his trade. You work in pairs of bobbins and can be using as many as 200 at a time. It gave a whole new meaning to being "tied up in knots."

We did not have our receivers during this part of the trip, we got them on the boat; however, our tour guides wore one with a microphone and we were able to hear all that was said.

Ted is up, I can start the laundry. Perhaps Chase Bank is back on line and I can pay bills. Anyway, Day 4 and our trip to Flanders will be up next.


Rick and Brenda said...

Glad you are home. It sounds as if you really enjoyed yourselves.
We will be @ Timber Ridge tomorrow.
We were told that the ROD park on Lake Whitney turns into a real mud hole when it rains. It is supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow so we will be driving back tomorrow.

jillquilts said...

Gorgeous pictures! I'm glad that you are home safe and sound! I can't wait to see more pictures!

Oh, and I have a blog friend from Wales and she makes lace with those little bobbins, too!

Anonymous said...

I bought my wedding veil in Bruges in 1970. looks like a great time was had by all.

Love, Laurie