|A trip round the local brewery ended with a large sample of the product!|
|In Calais the town was saved by the five bergers of the town surrendering to Henry III.|
|The centre of Calais - an additional bonus visit. Look at the peacock made from flowers on the roundabout.|
|Beautiful architecture to be seen on the canal trip.|
|The girls with their noses against the nougat store window.|
|Our guide and captain takes us the the lock gates and mill house.|
|More of the lovely buildings in this ancient town.|
|A dog with the right sense of where to be!|
An exceptional day out to visit Bruge was the plan but it turned out to be much more than that. Rising at 3am in order to collect the girls and get them to the pick-up point meant that by the time we were on the way to the Chunnel we'd already had a doze. Trouble began at the terminal when I spilt coffee down my sport sirt. A leaky tub was to blame (not me!) but it meant that I'd be looking for a replacement once we reached Bruge. Through the tunnel no problem and making good time we arrived in Blegium around eleven am. with a good four-five hours for sightseeing. First thing was a trip on one of the many river launches which take about 20 people at a time for a half hour cruise along the canals through the town. Although very pretty I did notice as the temperature rose, that the drains became a bit smelly!
A tour of the brewery brought us back down into the massive bar and a free sample of the local strong beer. I say free - it's part of the admission price but at aroudn a fiver worth it. Finding a clothing shop was something else. Most places catering for the tourist trade only sell Bruge type T-shirts but I did find a nice branded sport shirt in one shop, trid it on and bought it for the reasonable price of just 5 Euro's. That's when we realised it was the Sue Ryder charity shop but hey, let's support good causes. I'd dispensed with the coffee stain.
We were told that the coach would be leaving at a quarter to four and right on time we'd boarded and were just pulling away when someone at the back shouted that one person was missing! It turned out to be a guy who hadn't said much and removed all his baggage when we arrived. Someone remembered that he'd asked the way to the railway station. We couldn't take any chances and waited - and waited for nearly TWO HOURS! No sign of him despite the sriver almost running around the town in search of him. In the end he reported him missing to the police and we left for the Eurotunnel. On arriving there we'd obviously missed our scheduled train. It was 7.30 by now and the next one we could board was 9.15pm. Our drivers decided that a short visit to Calais would be a welcome diversion and it was. A chippy and a pub suited most but look at the wonderful town hall. We see the tower in the distance on these trips but never realised just how beautiful it is.
Eventually we board the train but there's a technical problem and we finally get into the tunnel at 9.30 and out the other side just after 10pm. I'm beginning to think that I'll have to go straight into work when we get back so try to get some spasmodic bursts of sleep which help. The coach dropped us off at 0130 and after the drive home and dropping off the other girls, Sheri and I finaly open the door at 2am! Time for a quick wash and brush up and a cup of coffee before I snatch up my case and head off to work. After todays shift I'm ready for some kip when I get home some 36 hours after first waking!! Still - it makes life interesting and in terms of value - one helluva day trip!