Belgium

Trip Start Aug 27, 2007
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Trip End Sep 17, 2011


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hey Guys,

Hows it going? things here are going well. Last Sunday night Kim and I got back from a quick two day to trip to Belgium. After a very shaky start caused by our office building catching fire with our passports and Kims birth certificate inside we finally made it to catch the Eurostar.Two and a half hours later we arrived in Brussels only to find ourselves running to catch another train to Ypres.

In all fairness I didnt really know anything about Ypres until I actually went there. Its a small quaint town in Belgium home to the infamous Flanders Field. As we only had two days to visit four cities it was a very quick visit that didnt really do the town any justice but from what I saw I liked.

We went and saw the Meningate which is a huge arch memorial dedicated to all the soldiers that died in the war at Ypres.  Names were carved row upon row upon row into the stone remembering all who had fallen. There were hundreds of Australian names on there as well as British and Canadian and I felt relieved that I
couldnt find any Kiwis up there.


Our next stop was the small cemetry that sat atop a hill looking over the town surrounded by poppy fields. My joy of not seeing any New Zealand names on the Meningate soon dissapeared as I saw rows of New Zealand graves. All these young men from the Maori Battalian slain at the prime of their life. This sounds really terrible but all I could think was that no wonder there are no Maoris left in New Zealand, they are all dead lieing in European graves.

Kim and I decided to make a quick stop at the Flanders Field Museum where I was suprised to see a New Zealand section. I must say it made me feel very patriotic especially as I saw a group of young German tourists all standing in a row trying to do the haka. To all those people who said the haka was too fierce and overused and wanted to shell it at Rugby matches. Think again. It has become an icon of our culture and is as well known to the rest of the world as is our supposed love of sheep shagging. Get rid of it and you take away a small peice of what makes New Zealand.

Lunch that day was none other than Belgium waffles which were absolutely delicious. Somehow they just tasted better in Belgium.

Another train ride and another city. Our next stop had us visiting Brugges. Brugges like No city other than Paris had me falling in love with it at first site.  The tall buildings and cobbled roads and quaint village feel were to die for. It was just such a romantic city and I would go back there in a flash if I could. The air smelt of Belgium chocolate and the lace doilies that were eveywhere brought back childhood memories of siting at the table at home having just spilt red nail polish on Mums large beautiful lace table cloth.

That particular afternoon there must have been a street fair as throughout the city stages had been set up for musicians to play and the music just sailed through the air. I was right in my element listening to a bit of house music.

That evening we trained back to brussels where we stayed for the night. Early the follwing morning we headed to Antwerp which although as lovely as it was it had nothing on Brugges. We were lucky as we had good weather and managed to catch some sun. We visited a local farmers market selling cured meats and cheese which was very mouth watering and just spent the morning strolling around taking in the sights. The city had lots of beautiful old buildings interspersed with modern ones.
 
That afternoon it was time to headback to Brussels for the third time but this time to actually see the city. Again the city was beautiful, but it pales in comparison to Brugges. I had been quite looking forward to seeing the Manneken Pis so was quite dissapointed to reliase the cities most famous landmark was about 30cm tall. It was a bit like going to see the Mona Lisa where the painting was minute but the sea of tourists in front of it was massive. Im glad I saw the little peeing man but I can honestly say that I dont understand what the fuss about him is.

After strolling the city and dragging Kim to a train Station 1/2 an hour away just so I could take a photo of the station name it was time to headback to the main train station and back to London.

A lot of people say that there isnt much to do and see in Belgium but I completely disagree. I loved the country and would go back in heartbeat.

And so guys that brings me to the end of this entry. Keep an eye out in 4 weeks when I post about my trip to Valencia for La Tomatina.

Miss you All
Lish
xxx

 

 
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