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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Trip to Belgium and France – Day 9

Sorry for the delay in posting but since I got back from the trip I haven't had a minute to myself. The story continues.....

I think we were all glad to leave Metz. The hotel was the worst one we stayed in during the trip, it was the cheapest but wasn't as good as we'd hoped. A mixture of things – it was in a rather run down industrial estate, was next to a railway line, and the other residents gave us the feeling that the bikes might not be there in the morning. Add to that, that due to very recent roadworks, our SatNavs tried to lead us along now non existent roads, do no longer existing turns, and after a rather long, hot day in the saddle it was the last thing we needed.
However, the bikes were still there the next morning, so we were up early and way to out of France and back into Belgium. It was a fairy short and very pleasant ride to our next destination, Bruges/Brugge.
(Like many towns in Belgium it has 2 names. English speakers tend to refer to it by its French name, Bruges; whilst the Flemish speaking locals call it Brugge. Since I'm writing in English I'll call it Bruges).
We easily found our hotel for the night, Olympia Hotel. It gets a link as it was the best hotel we stayed in, so it wasn't long before we had forgotten the 'difficulties' of Metz.
When we arrived, an elderly man on a bicycle started shouting at us in Flemish (which none of us understand), but he seemed to be telling us that we couldn't park there. We checked with the hotel owners and it turned out that it was OK to park there – the old man just didn't like strangers parking near his house! It wasn't a problem as the owners let us park in their driveway, even moving their own cars so we could all park safely. (See what I mean about the 'best hotel'!)
We got changed and went for a wander into town. Bruges has quite a compact centre, and our hotel was only a 15 minute walk away. If you've never been, you should make the effort to visit. I'd been to Bruges a couple of times before, but still hadn't tired of it. Very ornate, very well preserved, and it has a pleasant atmosphere about it, so it was a perfect way to 'wind down' after our trip. We had a good meal in one of the many restaurants, and in the main square bumped into Donnie, who we hadn't seen since the ferry over.
Managed a few photos before the light went.

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