July 31 2009: From London to Brussels

We had another early morning in London, to catch a train to a port town called Dover Priory. Dover is where most of the ferries travel to and from across the English Channel, and we had to get on a ship around noon. Everything went according to plan, we arrived on time (just) to board the ferry, and we added another mode of transportation to our travels. Plane, bus, train, and now ship. As we left the port, the barrier walls made for some interesting photos:

And from here, we were off. It had been my first time on a ship like this in many many years, and the first time for Desi. We found ourselves a seat and sat and talked about our travels and what the rest of the day had in store for us. I also briefly went outside to the edge of the ship to take a few shots of the channel:

and of the water trailing behind our boat:

We arrived on the other side of the channel in Calais, France. Our next journey would be by foot – from the port to the train station. With all of our bags, we set out for what would be the most tiring part of the day – a 30-40 minute walk with our backpacks and bags towards the center of town. We got there, yet still didn’t have exact directions to the train station. We did find this nice clocktower, however:

We asked the people around, some were tourists and some locals, but I was pleasantly surprised when we noticed that people were not arrogant here. They helped if they could and if they couldn’t they were genuinely apologetic. Looks like we might go back to France at some point in the future if its only Paris that we don’t like.

Anyhow, we found our way to the train station and got our tickets to Brussels, with a transfer in Lille. The train ride was uneventful, I can’t remember any specific details (this could mean that I slept through it) but we arrived in Brussels at around 7pm that evening.

Brussels was a little scary. We got off the train and noticed signs like “watch for pitpockets”, “keep your eye on your luggage”, “be cautious in crowds”, and so on. Clearly these signs were here for a reason, and it worried us. We left the train station through the metro and arrived at the closest metro station to our hostel. The streets were eerily quiet, you know that feeling you get when you are being watched? We definitely felt that. At one point two men exited a building behind us and starting walking in our direction, so we walked as fast as we could.

In the hostel however, we felt very safe; We thankfully had a private room so we could keep an eye on our bags. We didn’t have much time in Brussels as we were heading out early in the morning, but we at least needed a good meal. We headed out to find the closest restaurant to our hostel (we didn’t feel like adventuring that much), and ate a great meal inside. This is the only place I dared expose my camera, and took this shot:

Belgian beer is really quite good! So is the food, we had a great meal and headed back to our hostel before it was completely dark out. We were tired, and would have a 5am morning on our way to Berlin, so we needed a good night of rest. We would spend just under 12 hours in the city in total, and I wouldn’t have really wanted to stay a minute more. Maybe I’m not being entirely fair, but first impressions are everything.

Stay tuned for more as always. 🙂

Comments

  1. Diane and Walter Enns
    November 7th, 2009 | 2:39 pm

    Hi Don and Desi

    So thankfull that you both made it through this day without incident. My favorite pick from this photo gallery would have to be the English Channel taken with your fish eye lens.

    Love Mom and Walter

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