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Sunday, 7 September 2014

Speciaal Voor U! Een Blog uit Brugges

Translated that means 'Specially for you, a blog from Brugge'. Yes, we're back from our short trip to Belgium. Is it good to be back? Errr no. I missed the dogs but could happily stuff them in the car and bugger off back across the channel. It's been just over 3 years since I bid farewell to Europe and it doesn't take much to remind me why I wish I'd stayed. Anyway.....the holiday.....where do I start? The good thing about coach holidays is that a) they are cheap and b) you get to see where you're going. The downside is that it takes you all day to get to your destination and in our case, you're stuck on a bus full of people you may or may not like (more of that later). Our hotel was the Ibis in De Panne, a coastal town I'd never heard of but it was lovely. The mussels and chips we had in a beach side bar were even lovelier and the OH gave the local beer a big thumbs up. Of course I had packed my Dutch phrase book and in De Panne they mainly speak French so that went tits up from the start. Luckily for us ignorant Brits they all speak English better than we do. 

De Panne seafront

Jeezus!! That's a dinner
On Tuesday we headed into Brugges. It felt like I'd never been away and I managed to locate my favourite chocolate shop as soon as we got into town. Thankfully they didn't remember me - that would have been hilarious. 1.75kg of chocolate later we were having coffee to give OH the strength to climb the 366 steps of the bell tower. Now in Belgium you never just get a cup of coffee or a glass of beer, you get accompaniments. The next time I get a coffee in England with no chocs/biscuits/cake I will protest very loudly.
You'll have to excuse the child in the photo
After a lunch of Frites and Mayonnaise we took a more leisurely tour of Brugges by canal boat. Now I hate boats but seeing as on my last visit the canals were frozen I was determined to find my sea legs to see more of the city. Our guide had a wicked, piss taking sense of humour and we got to see 'The Most Famous Dog in Belgium'!!

4 years I've waited for this!

This is Fidel - the most famous dog in Brugges

Hmm. They're odd looking chocolates
We ended the day at the S&S Bar on De Panne beach where the delightful barman asked for our music requests. Watching the sun set while drinking wine and listening to Metallica is about as perfect as it gets. We did make the mistake of having a drink in the hotel bar with some of our coach party. This only convinced us further that most of them loved the sound of their own voice/moaned about everything (dogs in cafes and bars being their favourite whinge) or in the case of the loud mouthed T**t from Nuneaton, wanted to kick off a fight with the locals. Thank you that man for epitomising all of the reasons that I couldn't wait to leave that shithole of a town and its Chav Yob populace.
On Wednesday we toured some of the WW1 cemeteries with our wonderful guide Pierre, and finished up in Ypres to see the Last Post at the Menin Gate. Thursday saw us descend on Ostend to sample the seafood and markets. With my final coffee of the day I was given a glass of proper Belgian/Dutch Advocaat. You don't drink it, you either eat it with a spoon or stir it into your coffee. It is to die for and I could kick myself for not buying a jar. After all of that walking we had no energy to hit the bars for 1 last night. No stamina these youngsters. We did at one point think we might get stuck at Calais after the illegals decided to storm the port and the Mayor of Calais threatened to close it down!! No such luck. By the time we got there they had stepped up the Police presence and the asylum seekers were few and far between. 
Would we go on a coach holiday again? Probably cos it's cheap but next time can we please sit at the back away from Captain Know It All and the fag ash brigade. 

Hello Soldier!!