Belgium – A Delightful Little Country

I started this post a year ago today, and I’ve just notice I missed actually publishing it…so here we go!

Helene & Pierre

The train from Paris to Brussels is smooth and fast. I was met at the station by Helene, who I’d met when she and Pierre were in Australia and staying at my place. We took the bus to her home, dumped my suitcase before starting on a tour of Brussels.

Helene & her parents
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Welcome to Belgium meal – home made by Nanette.

Nanette, is the most fabulous cook and had prepared a special dinner to welcome me. It was delicious – especially the dessert tasting plate!

The city centre is compact and very attractive.   2014-09-13 13.44.46 I tried delicious biscuits, visited the Cathedral, the Grand Place, and saw host of other famous landmarks and rubbed the reclining bronze statue (whose name I do not remember!), but the story goes that if I rubbed it I would return to Belgium.

Helene’s family warmly welcomed me to their homes in both Brussels and Wavre which gave me an experience of both the city and countryside. It was just a brief visit, but we managed to jam in heaps!

Belgium might be a tiny little country, but it’s full of history and wonderful scenery. I visited Namur, with its stunning citadel perched high on a craggy hilltop from which you can see for miles. Ideal place to watch out for invaders!

View from Namur Citadel
View from Namur Citadel

We also took a day trip to Bruges which is just delightful. It’s like stepping into a story book with its beautiful old buildings, the river that meanders through the centre of town, pictureques scenes abound around each corner. So many wonderful chocolate shops, delightful lace makers and fabulous little cafe’s. Definitely a place worth a couple of days at least. Sadly, I only had a day.

We even squeezed in a quick visit to Dinant, the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, the chap who invented the saxaphone. A big thank you to Christian for driving us all there! It’s another very nice little town to explore on an afternoon.20140913_182813

Delightful Bruges
Delightful Bruges

Belgium is just a tiny little country but full of beauty; I was very impressed and was very lucky to have Helene as a guide.



Bologna – arrived!

I took the regional train from Mestre to Bologna (E11) and arrive just after 5.30 pm last night. My hotel was easy to find and as I walked into the lobby my eyes were drawn straight to the back of the room, where wide glass doors opened onto a gorgeous green haven of a garden dotted with little white tables, offset by colourful bursts of flowers. Yes, this place should do me very nicely was my first thought.

Check-in was efficient, courteous and welcoming. I stepped into the lift and immediately knew I was in Europe again – small, dark panelled and old with not much spare room for anyone else beside me and my small suitcase. My room is large by European standards featuring high ceilings, old wood furniture and a gorgeously comfortable double bed plus tea/coffee facilities and a fridge which is not the everyday norm in Europe as it is in Australia. The fridge also comes stocked with complimentary mineral water which is most welcome and on the desk is a nice little note inviting me to enjoy a complimentary drink at the bar downstairs. Nice little touches that add to that welcome atmosphere.

Dumping my case on the stand, I moved across to the full length window and was rewarded with wonderful view of the garden and to my delight, the window actually opens !

I popped on the kettle and made a cup of tea, thinking I would have a quick cuppa as I unpacked then head out to explore Bologna. Kicking off my shoes I stretch out on the bed to sip my tea whilst thinking how fortunate I am to be here and how good my back feels, despite all the hours of being cramped in an aircraft seat, thanks to the wonderful massage at Dubai airport.

The next thing I know it is 2 am and I’m still dressed!

I am wide awake so I finish unpacking and write this little update for all family and friends at home to know what I am up to.