Friday, 25 July 2008

Europe - It's Not That Bad

To tell the truth I’ve tended to shy away from spending a “proper” holiday in Europe; in my opinion, Europe is great for a short city break or a long weekend but not for the “two weeks in the sun” vacation. My reasoning behind this is that Europe is so close to the UK that it can be saved for a later date, perhaps when travelling is more tricky (ie when I’m a bit doddery). However, now that I have become an anti-flying wuss, Europe is a very attractive option since it can be easily reached by the lovely ferry.

And so, here we are on the Continent; a long way from Australia, but nice and close to good old Blighty. The first stop on this part of our trip was actually in London, where we spent Monday night at Kesh & Kate’s swanky apartment in Canary Wharf.

How’s about that for a view from your living room window?! Kate fed us up on traditional English food – sausage, mash & beans followed by trifle AND Victoria sponge – in preparation for not getting anything half as good while away, and we left the following morning still feeling thoroughly stuffed to the gills.

Tuesday at noon saw us aboard the Norfolk Line ferry from Dover to Dunkirk - cheaper than Calais, and actually closer to our destination, so a double whammy. The sailing was great, very calm and not a sweaty palm in sight from yours truly. I even commented to hubby that cruising might be the way forward as far as holidays were concerned, although I’m not too sure about the whole dressing up/Captain’s table palaver. And it doesn't look like hubby's a smart dresser either, does it?!

After disembarking, a short drive brought us to the lovely town of Ypres in Belgium where we spent two nights. We didn’t do an awful lot on our first evening in town – just a short wander around the main square, a trip to the Menin Gate to see the Last Post ceremony which is performed every evening at 8pm, and then a hearty meal and a couple of drinks.

Wednesday we started the day at the German trenches, then went to Hill 60 and finished off the afternoon with a trip to one of the many war cemeteries in the area - not your standard holiday outings, but interesting nonetheless. And the cemetery was, in fact, very beautiful. We ended our trip to Ypres with a walk round the ramparts and another hearty meal in the town square.

Thursday we drove north in to the Netherlands, to the city of Rotterdam which prompted hubby to continually sing the wrong words to the Beautiful South song. Rotterdam isn’t a bad place all in all, but we decided that one day/night is enough to do it justice.

Two other things that are so far making Europe not such a bad place: 1) it is lovely and warm and sunny; 2) we can pick up BBC1, BBC2 and ITV on the TV over here – no need to miss Corrie!!!

But from hubby’s point of view one thing that takes Europe down in his estimation is that over here in the Netherlands a pepperoni pizza doesn’t come laden with tasty slices of salami, but instead with red peppers and anchovies – quite a shock to the system.

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