Tuesday, 28 July, 2015 – Day 3 -Travel from London – Dover – Calais – Amsterdam, The Netherlands- (Day 49)

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 – Day 3 – Travel from London – Dover – Calais – Amsterdam, The Netherlands (250 miles/400 Kms) – (Day 49)

Early wake up call at 6.15, as had to have case outside door by 6.30.  Down to a very light breakfast as feel as though that is all I have been doing – eating.  We boarded the coach driven by Luigi from Milan and met our tour guide, Britt from Amsterdam at 7.45 and left at 8.00 to pick up other passengers from a couple of other hotels. Finally we were on our way at 8.30-40.  The traffic was quite slow as workers were around.  We passed Harrods, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben etc. Crossed over the River Thames and we were on our way to Dover.

After leaving the centre of London, we had a good run down to Dover  and arrived about 11.15.  We all got off the coach and had to present our passports. Our ferry did not leave until 12.30ish. Was quite a rough passage and it was blowing a hefty gale out on the upper deck. Was frightened my IPad was going to blow out of my hand.

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It was magnificent seeing The White Cliffs of Dover from another view as I was up on the cliffs in the second week of my travels looking down into the Port of Dover.

We arrived in Calais, France after almost 3 hours and we then boarded the coach once more.  We set off and saw lots of farmland, cows, horses, windfarms and fields of corn. The countryside was quite flat. At about 5.00ish we crossed into the Belgium.  We passed near Brugge.  The countryside now changed into lovely green pastures and saw some lakes. At times the windmills were quite close to the road.

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We arrived in Amsterdam. Amsterdam  is the capital city with a population of approximately 17 million and 18 million bicycles. 

Famous Amsterdam residents included Anne Frank, the diarist, the artist Vincent van Gogh, artist and the philosopher Baruch Spinoza.   Its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee coffee shops draw more than 5 million international visitors annually.

We booked into our accommodation at the Holiday Inn Express Arena Towers. After dinner, it was off to bed for a reasonably early night. Today we were actually in four countries – United Kingdom (Dover), France (Calais), Belgium (near Brugge) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands).  Amazing how this is so accessible –  In Australia, one can hardly move from one state to another in one day unless of course, you are near the borders of two states.

 

Sunday, 8th June 2014 – Day 4 – Bruges Sightseeing Coach Tour

Sunday, 8th June 2014 – Day 4 – Bruges Sightseeing Coach Tour

Wakeup call for 6.30 and taxi to 2 Rue de Pyramides to join my tour to Brugges, Belgium.  Had a long walk to the basement to join the coach. At 7.15 we set off. The countryside is very flat with many green fields, then dense foliage. Passed many little villages along the way  and saw wheat, hops, maize and potatoes growing. Evidently, the term French fries did not come from France but Belgium.  Saw many wind farms along the way.  The big town we passed through was Lille arriving there about 1040.  At about 1050 we crossed over the border from France into Belgium and now all the signages are in Flemish.

We arrived in Bruges at about 1130 and was given a guided tour by Anne and pointed out the many interesting places.

Some of the main things that Bruges is renowned for are Chocolate and Lace. I am just going to post some of the day’s activities of this beautiful place as too much to try and write.  I purchased a booklet to give me the information.

After some time, we had free time to wander up the many little alleyways, up to the main square and then onto a little boat that went up, down and around the many canals. Just imagined I was in Venice.  Watched a lady making lace – such an interesting craft.

Before our departure I visited the beautiful Church Of Our Lady.  In here is the Mother and Child sculptured in white marble by Michelangelo. This work of art was acquired by a merchant from Bruges who had offices in Florence and Rome. He bought the statue and donated it to his parish church in 1506. This sculpture was the only one to leave Italy during Michelangelo’s lifetime.

It was then a short walk to board the coach back to Paris.  One of the interesting thing we saw was some pyramid shaped hills that are covered in artificial snow for people to go skiing on as it does not snow in this area.

We arrived back about 8.45 – taxi back to hotel and to bed after another long but enjoyable day. Full of history.