Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 3 & 4 - Southhampton, UK; Bruges, BE

I mentioned that we took the tube to our hotel. The station we ended at was Victoria station, and it was about 2 blocks to the hotel. Behind Victoria underground station is Victoria train station. I assumed Victoria Coach Station wouldn't be far.

It wasn't – about blocks further – but when you're pulling a suitcase and carting a carry-on, it's farther than it seems.

This morning, we got up and made our way to the coach station for our transfer to Southampton. (Yes, we decided to take a ship out of Southampton. What could possibly go wrong?)

We got on the ship around 2:30. By the time we got ourselves organized, it was almost time for the life boat drill. That seemed to take forever. (I get that it's important, but I would have been less antsy if I had had time for lunch first.)

We registered for our excursions, then it was finally time for a snack – it was too late for lunch by that point.

After that, we explored the ship, then had a relaxing dinner two other groups of travelers, all from the UK. It was a nice meal (with vegetables!). Next stop: Belgium.


We took an all-day tour of Bruges, Belgium. Bruges has an inner city surrounded by canals, surrounded by an outer city, also surrounded by canals.

There are a lot of canals, in other words.

I started the day by leaving my camera on the boat. Camera-less, we took the 30 minute drive from Zeebrugge to Bruges. (Why does one have two g's and the other one? It is a mystery.)

Our tour guide gave us a little background on the area, then we did a walking tour of Bruges in the rain. We walked on the city wall, crossed bridges over the canals, and learned that the step-gabled houses are newer than the houses with the straight gables. After about an hour and a half, we stopped our tour at the belfry – a landmark in the center of town. At that point, the group split up for time on our own.
Step-gabled houses
We went for lunch – including French fries, which our guide explained were traditionally Belgian. (We did not have mussels and fries, which is a local dish.) Lunch was good, but after lunch, I managed to miss a step leaving the restaurant and landed on my bad ankle.

We walked through the market area, looking at (and eventually purchasing) lace and chocolates. At 2:30, we met up with our group again for a canal cruise. By this time, the rain had stopped. The canal cruise gave us an alternate look at the city – I was very glad the weather had improved.

Bruges has a traditional parade and ceremony (held every 5 years) celebrating the marriage of Catherine of York to Charles (?). Today was the day. I would have liked to see the parade, but our guide was concerned we'd get caught up in the traffic, so he led us through streets lined with people to a different part of the city, where we had more time on our own.

Since I couldn't watch the parade, I went with the next best option – a Belgain waffle. We have chip trucks, they have a similar type of way of serving waffles.

My ankle was pretty sore by that point, so I was glad to get back on the coach for the 30 minute drive to the boat. When we got to the boat, I got up – and spectacularly realized I was still belted in.


  1. Glad to hear you are having a good trip.

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