A Travellerspoint blog

Day 15

overcast 2 °C

Man, whoever thought travelling isn't a lot of work...was mental!

I was facetiming Darina tonight and she asked me if I was ready to come home? My response was no!! If I had a lighter suitcase and packed less I could do another wk or two hitting up Scotland and Ireland. I actually have learned to sleep when I can (Candice and I have now mastered being able to sleep, sitting up, half laid down, on the floor, standing up, on a train, plane...we can do it anywhere!). I can just sit and read on trains for hours (Darina the smart ass that she is responded with, "there are books at home" ...not that I have time to ever read at home!). I've turned out to be a low maintenance, easygoing traveller. ;)

To get back to my first line, it is still a lot of work! Lifting and carrying your heavy ass suitcase, backpack and purse up and down countless amounts of stairs, up and down the 'gap' of the train, subway and bus gets old...fast! I don't get how there is so little storage for your luggage on trains and busses when everyone in Europe is on them with luggage to and from airports and train stations? Just don't get it. And seeing as my suitcase weighs just over 43 lbs..... I don't even feel guilty missing body pump these last few weeks! Lol

Today, we got up and walked to a bakery around the corner from the hotel. Got a fake coffee (fake in size...it was midget size!) and sugary pastries that I'm excited to not eat again. We checked out and chilled in the lobby to use wifi, mostly wasting time since our train wasn't for a few hours. We took the metro to the train station, window shopped and waited around 2 hrs. Caught the Eurostar train back to St Pancras in London, another 2 hours. The Eurostar, for those of you not familiar is the fastest train in Europe. It goes 334km/hour. Hence why my ears are popping and I feel like I'm moving as I'm sitting here still. It's amazing tho, I would totally take it again if I was ever travelling from London-Paris. Once we got to St Pancras, we caught a train to Gatwick airport, another hour in a train. Then we walked around for a while outside trying to figure out the bus we could take to our airport. 6 hours later, we ended up at the hotel!! Yay!!!

They have a pretty good restaurant/pub at the airport hotel. I finally had my bangers and mash. Candice and I wanted to try it the whole trip and it didn't happen. Sorry Candice, it is my new FAVOURITE English meal!! Tried some Bulmers Cider with it....after all it was only 99pence to add!!! (Craziness!!!!)

So now I need to dump my suitcase and carry on and repack. I'm going to attempt to pack a pair of boots and jacket in my carry on so hopefully my suitcase isn't over weight. Coming here it was already 22.1kg, and 22kg is the max. I'll be damned if I have to pay $75 cause it weighs too much!! I haven't even shopped (hard to believe, I know but it's true!!). I actually think its almost time to plan a buffalo shopping trip.....who's in? ;)

I'm honestly sad this trip has come to an end. I love Europe!!! And I fear since I've now been here 3 times now, 2 in the last 5 months (which I realize is a little crazy!) I might not be coming back for a long long time. Where will my next trip be? Who knows! But there will be a next trip....and it's going to be amazing whatever it is.

So I leave you with my favourite lulu lemon quote: dance sing floss TRAVEL!!

See you soon, at home :(

Lins

Posted by lins_euro 12:26 Archived in England Comments (0)

Day 14

Hello Luxembourg!!

rain 1 °C

Luxembourg!!! It's a pretty awesome place!

We took a 3 hour train just after 8am to Luxembourg today. The train goes right into Luxembourg city. It is one of the most beautiful cities/places that I've ever been too. I would totally recommend that you check it out next time your in this part of Europe. Wait until you see my pictures....you'll understand. It's just beautiful, so much to see and very very postcard gorgeous!

We caught the train at 5pm getting in Brussels around 8pm. We picked up subway for the train. In Luxembourg we ate at a really cute pizzeria. We had the best lasagna. I'm telling you, come Monday, I'm really going to miss pasta!

So, this comes to the conclusion of our Belgium excursion. All in all, Belgium has a lot to see. Many beautiful, quant small towns/villages to see. Brussels, though not my favourite, did have a few highlights. And you can't go wrong with the chocolate! Man...Les and I ate some rich, yummy chocolate last night! (I'm going to miss that too come Monday! Lol). Would I come back to Belgium, probably not. But I am glad that I got to experience another European country. You just don't know, unless you put yourself out there, jump on a plane or train and try it. Better to come and know, then sit at home on the couch and dream. Well, that's my life philosophy......and clearly my travel philosophy these days. I sure have been traveling a lot lately! At this rate, I may never leave home (sorry parents!!). There are worse things I could be doing with my life :)

Well, we have one more day in Europe. And unfortunately, it's mostly going to be spent traveling. Tomorrow is going to be another long day of trains. We are hopping on the Eurostar tmrw back to London. From St Pancras station, we need to get on a train to take us to Gatwick airport. Then we need to take a bus or cab from the airport to our hotel which is apparently in this area. We have one night in London then fly home in the morning. I'm hoping we can get our last pub meal fix tmrw. We will see how the day goes!

Before I sign off for the night....I'd like to say how proud I am of my BFF Candice Garratt for flying home successfully solo!!! Apparently I taught her how to fly making her an independent flying woman!! Well she taught me how to take public transportation so we are even. Clearly we are the best travel partners ever!!! Can't wait to see where our adventure will be to next this summer (peer pressure Can ;) haha)

Well, the room is starting to spin and I am sitting here feeling like I'm slowly rocking back and forth! Damn trains give me vertigo! Must lie down.

Wish us luck....we have a lot of staircases to lug our luggage up and down tmrw ;)

Lins

Posted by lins_euro 12:55 Archived in Luxembourg Comments (0)

Day 13

sunny -1 °C

Today we did Brussels. Yes that's right, there is literally so little to do here that I'm satisfied with our 1 day of speed walking through this city. We started off by taking the metro to Parc, walking through the massive park that is across from the Palace Royale. We kept on walking, and got lost a few times, made our way back and went west down some alleyway. Eventually, we hit the Grand Palace, which is a huge square with large old European, big, beautifully detailed looking buildings that surround it. Of course, there are many chocolatier shops everywhere.

Les and I both bought a few chocolates to eat later. The chocolate is very expensive here! I posted a pic on FB of me holding a small bag of chocolate, that little bag was almost €7.00! I would never spend $10 on a few chocolates at home! My plan was to buy some chocolate to take home as gifts, but dont get too excited, that is definitely not happening. I actually haven't bought anything this trip, other then pins for my collection. My suitcase was 21.5kg (the max is 22kg) when we left!!! I have no room for anything!! Hence why I sent my running shoes home with Candice! Lol

We walked up and down this area for a long time, it was pretty busy with tourists. We stopped at McDonalds so Lesley could experience her first McDs Euro meal! It is sooo different from home! I love that you could buy these small macaroons for 0.95€. McDs has the best coffee/lattes in Europe! At the time, I was so full since we haven't been eating much that I didn't get any but I'm totally regretting it now. There is NOTHING near our hotel! It blows!! All the food places close so early in this neighbourhood. In the UK it was so easy to buy food and COFFEE!!! Here, that's another story! I NEED a damn coffee.....just ONE that's a normal size and isn't so strong that I need to put 4 sugars in it! We found a Starbucks here finally, but I couldn't bring myself to spend 5.25€ on a tall hot chocolate! And I used to think the UK was pricey. Even though the £ is more then the € to our $ I still found food better priced in London (and the food was better! Way better!)

Okay, so if you haven't been able to tell from my last few blogs, I think boring brussels blows. I would never come back here, even if you PAID me too!! Thinking of all the places in Europe/UK I've been.... Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin, Wales, London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Krakow, Berlin, Amsterdam, Holland this is my new LEAST favourite place! I don't know what it is. The metro smells like urine, every metro stop we've been to has ply-wood up in the whole station and graffiti everywhere...it's beyond ghetto. Did I mention the smell of urine that lurks in the metro? Lol. There isn't much to see. I went into a bunch of chocolatiers and bought chocolate...check! I had Belgium waffles twice....check! I had traditional hot chocolate...check! There beer is 9% alcohol which is unreal...but I don't have a beer drinker partner so....uncheck! That's Belgium in a nut shell..beer, waffles, hot chocolate, chocolatiers. There isn't much to see, nothing that's famous that you've really heard of before. I went to all the big tourist spots and I'm leaving very unsatisfied. Compared to London, Paris, Rome and Venice this place is the armpit of France. I would never suggest someone come here....unless they had to. Now going to Gent and Bruges was awesome. Both very small places, with lots of cute areas and things to look at, but certainly does not make it worth coming all the way to Belgium to experience, as they are a day trip at best.

So since there really isn't much left to do here and we still have one more night before we go back to London, we've decided to add another country into this trip. Tomorrow we are taking the train to Luxembourg. It's a small country nestled beside France, Belgium, Amsterdam and Switzerland. Unfortunately it's a 3 hour train ride! So 6 hrs on the train is going to make for a long day. But we've been doing some google research and I think it'll be a fun day. And now I can check another country off of my Europe bucket list!

Well....I'm getting hungry, it's almost 8pm here. We picked up subway and brought it back to the hotel. That should taste super yummy with my chocolate later :)

Looking forward to getting out of here tomorrow and hitting up Luxembourg!

Til then...Lins

Posted by lins_euro 10:18 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

Day 12

New Years Day

semi-overcast 3 °C

Happy New Year! Today we finally slept in! We didn't wake up until noon. We watched some BBC world (way better then CNN!) and checked email, etc...

Then we went for a walk in our neighbourhood. According to my Frommers Book, we are staying in the Quartier Europeen. We walked around and found the Parc du Cinquantenaire, which is huge and has a big European looking gate at the entrance. We also found the Parc Leopald which has a huge pond in the middle of it and it is surrounded by the Parliment European buildings.

There was an actual grocery store open (which is awesome since all the restaurants in this area seem to be closed). We picked up a salad and sandwich for dinner.

Tomorrow we are going to take the metro to the central station and check our the Palace Royale and the centre square. We'll see what Brussels is all about.

I have today, I'm becoming a fan of the BBC. They have the best British soaps! My new fav is called the Eastenders. I'm going to try and stream it when I get home ;)

Til tomorrow.
Lins

Posted by lins_euro 13:52 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

Day 11

overcast 0 °C

Ok, yesterday's adventures made Belgium decent again. Les and I woke up early (well 7:30am) is early for travel in my books at least. We sped walked finding a grocery store and bakery to pick up something for breakfast and snack food for today since everything in our neighbourhood is closed today (on the 1st). We got a loaf of bread, Nutella, apples, yogurt, chips and coke zero. Really nutritious we know!

We meet the American family that are stationed in Germany in the lobby at 8:45am. There daughter is 11, but I swear she was like a 16 yr old. There son is 7 yrs old and super cute. Of course he took a liking to me right away and became my buddy holding my hand as we walked around all day. There were a really nice family.

First, we drove to Gent, it's about 45 min from Brussels. We walked around and took pictures of the small village. We went into a chocolate shop and had tradition hot chocolate. It was awesome. They put seamed milk in a cup, then you pick the kind of chocolate you want, the chocolates on a stick. You put the stick in the hot milk and move it around, take the stick out, lick the chocolate and put it back in the cup. It was amazing!!!

Then we drove to Bruges. It was maybe another 30 min from Gent. First we went to an ice sculpture festival. It was only 13€ and it was really cool, literally!! (I think it was about -6). There was a slide, which we went down obviously!! After the ice sculpture festival we walked into Bruges. Bruges is a very small village, it's known as the Venice of the north. Now as someone who's been to Venice before, I definitely think Venice is 1000 times more amazing in every way, but Bruges was quiet, had cobblestone narrow streets, very cute small stores, lots of chocolate shops, and 2 markets. We went to a tea room and had a traditional Belgium waffle. They were very expensive and tho it was good, I'm sure I've had better waffles in Canada. We spent a few hours in Bruges, just walking around and taking pictures.

It took about an hour and a half to get back to the hotel. I think we got back here close to 7pm. We didn't get very much sleep, had been up early and covered a lot of Belgium in a day. Plus as much fun as it was it was exhausting,

Nothing was opened when we got back, so the receptionist at the hotel looked up food places in town that were opened and would deliver to the hotel. Of course all the menus are in French, but she was really nice and helped us translate it and called in our order. We ordered in pasta, it was okay. We were both so hungry at this point, we probably would have eaten anything. We were pooped and decided to stay in. We took hot showers to warm up (it's freezing here!!! I was in full winter gear all day), ate our food and rang in the new year watching Berlin and London festivities on TV. You could kind of see the fireworks from our hotel window also.

It's weird being away at the end of the year. It doesn't feel like a New Year when your not with your friends at home. And since we've been gone for so long now, I don't even feel like its Christmas holidays, more like summer break! Lol

Well we are off....will try to post later tonight.

Lins

Posted by lins_euro 06:22 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

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