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Belgium, sightseeing and family.

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Bruges, Gent and Bruxelles, here we come!

We connect by train from  Paris to Bruxelles midi (Zu
We take the Thalys which takes only 1:30 minutes.




So, the first night we were picked up by aunt Luz Elena and cousin Derek, then we ha dinner with our aunt, uncle and cousin Nicole. We were running a bit late from our visit to Emilie’s apartment at Le Marais, so we went “home” just packed everything very fast and run through the streets of Paris and the metro, to make it barely on time. This, to find out that the train was delayed by 20 mins +.


The gorgeous sunny weather! This is the view from our room at aunt and uncle’s house.



Tio Patricio, greeting us from the terrace of his villa in Uccle, upon our arrival. Both are as always wonderful hosts. 


Cooking and enjoying time together with the family.

The next day, April 17th a Thursday we embark ourselves on a journey to the medieval thriving powerhouse of Bruges. 


Take the 55 min train from Bruselles midi to Bruges, there go first to the tourist information to get a map.

We did not do this and my notions of the places were very few, it’s been over 10 years since my last visit. 


The city is rather small and easily seen by foot. In addition, the weather was gorgeous and we could enjoy all the picturesque sights and take pictures this way. Better to plan a trip before or after the summer season, as this small town I packed of tourists then. 

Charming Bruges is known among other things with all its charming clobblestone streets and channels, as a romantic destination. 


So we decided to take a romantic sightseeing 30 min boat ride for €6 



We had a wonderful time just strolling along the streets without a map, exploring and tryin to use my memory.




Of course we asked a few times, I have been asking for directions and info all the time, it is a good way to get more accurate information and help when lost.


In Gent 


Take tram 1 to Gravensteen (€ 2)  the stop is on the right side of the main exit at the train station. This stop takes you to see the main square with a superb medieval fortress, then move towards the town hall and back to the train station 



We arrived at 9pm finally after a delay with the train, 



Second day, we enjoy yet another sunny day. After a nice lunch made by Tia, foie gras, good wine as part of the menu, Prima Nicole took us on a sightseeing walking tour of the city. 

First stop to a nice lookout point with a view of the Basilika, church of Sant Nikolas, the Atomium and la Grand place. 










Le petit Sablon with statues of main 


 Art area 



With the iconic Manneken pis, this 55cm statue makes the most sold motif for a postcard in the country. This statue dates from the XVII c. It symbolizes the irreverence and independence of spirit when doing something openly in front of everybody what is commonly done hiding. 











Day 3
Dinner:
Moules and 



Day 4 Lunch at my uncle and aunt.
Over 9 varieties of cheese, with baguette,  with wine and served outside by the veranda enjoying the nice weather. 


Tia lent us her Smart car.

So, we headed first to Waterloo, located just 20 minutes away. This a site were the battle with its name took place in 1815, and the lion is facing France, in order to protect the country from the invaders. 



We bought the ticket that comprises the entrance to the The butte du lion and to the panorama of the battle. Approx. 7 €

After climbing 200+ stairs, we get to admire some nice vistas of the country side, from the top. 


Next to the Monument and with the same ticket, you access the panorama of the battle. 

This painting depicts some of the most important moments during the battle.

Then we used the GPS to head to the Atomium 


The iconic Atomium in Bruxelles  165000000000 times the size of an atom

The view from the highest ball is 102 m above the ground and allows to admire a great view. We came after 17:30 so we could not do this. (Had not intended it either)

Last stop after this was a stop at La grand Place to buy some souvenirs, chocolates and a last view of this world heritage site by UNESCO.

Dinner: scallops, risotto and wine.
Nice dinner, full table with the 7 Verhagen, an aunt of tio Patricio, and 3 friends of cousin Derek. 12 in total. 

Day 5 – April 21st

We eat a nice breakfast with croissants and fruit. Together with some of the cousins and tio takes us to the train station (Midi/Zuid) 


As our last stop, while we wait until it is time to take our flight back home, we take the metro to les Halles and sit at the first place in Paris where we arrived 10 days ago.


Church of Saint Eustache 



Church of Saint 


Creperie in #Paris. I chose my favourite classic, the nutella with caramel et beurre salée. @kjell_anders chose la galette suédoise! The Swedish one with salmon. Drinks: I chose the kir Breton which took me back 13+ years to Concarneau in la Bretagne where I used to live, made a traineeship during a summer in 98. 


And at 16:00 we headed towards the metro station “Les Halles” to take the RER destination CDG (Charles de Gaule) 40 minutes later, we go to terminal 2F to take short bus ride to connect us to terminal 2G from where we depart at 1720. 

We are relaxed and full of memories of wonderful cities in Europe. 

Thank you for reading. 
Cristina


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