Dec 8th, 2015
I just got back from a mini-break in Bruges and Ghent with J (R has used all his holidays for the year – plus we have serious cat-sitter issues at the moment). I have to admit that after recent events I was a bit worried about visiting Belgium, and in particular, Brussels.
But (of course) all was well and on the whole we had a great time. We went down on the sleeper from Arrochar to London, and then on the Eurostar to Brussels. This was great fun – I love trains and hate flying so this was a super start to the holiday.
We stayed at the Marriot hotel in Ghent, which is unusual in that from the front it looks like a row of 17th Century houses, but inside it is a modern hotel with a huge foyer and glass roof. It also had a glass lift which neither of us were that fond of.
Then we went to ‘fookin’ Bruges’ as the film put it. I’ve been before in the summer and it was mobbed with tourists, so actually it was much nicer in winter (particularly as it was sunny) with few tourists and the shops all decorated for Christmas. I more or less forced J to go up the bell tower (266 steps) and then felt sorry as he doesn’t like heights and was genuinely frightened. I had to allow him a large Leffe to fortify himself after that.
So then we set off to come home, duly relaxed, and ran into the stormy weather in the UK. First the power failed on the sleeper and we were stuck outside Carlisle for three hours. Then, for reasons that are not clear to me, they sent the train off to Edinburgh (!) and terminated it there. So then I had to make my own way back to Arrochar via Glasgow. I finally got home, seven hours late, at 2pm. To say I was frazzled wasn’t half of it. Still it could have been worse, because after I got home, R told me that he had thought that they were about to close the Rest and be Thankful – which would have forced us down a fifty mile diversion via Crianlarich.