Friday, July 28, 2017


Back in Brussels from Amsterdam by train was fairly hassle free. We tend to give ourselves more time than we need in case of any difficulties that may unintentionally arise.

Our son Andrew was travelling with us so we had help with luggage and directions. Andrew is a well-seasoned traveller and knows his way around. First day in Brussels, we had a mission to accomplish.
We picked up a car from the airport and then helped Andrew to move from the town of Wavre which is about 25 kms out of Brussels. He now has a room closer to the Brussels city centre which will give him better opportunities to enjoy the Brussels culture and city life. Wavre is a fairly uninspiring township for a young man.

We were given an upgrade to a Skoda wagon - Europcar must have known that we were needing the space. Anyway we were most fortunate as we were able to do the move in two trips.

Only two trips and 150 kms and Andrew was in his new residence.
With the move done, it was time to relax. The following day, Andrew's finance Ashley arrived from Cambridge in the afternoon. We met them at the hotel and walked to the "Grand Place" around the corner to the hotel. We then enjoyed a congenial beer or three with Andrew and Ashley before going to dinner at a close-by Italian restaurant.

The following day we took in the AutoWorld car museum which had a special Expo of Ferrari through its 70 year history. I took far too many photos of the many marques but I guess Ferrari has a certain mystique and so I have posted a very small sample.

Being the first visit to Brussels, we took the opportunity to finally meet up with fellow Blogger Martine (Ladybird) for lunch and then a gentle stroll through the streets of Brussels. Ladybird has a certain passion for the Loire Valley as we do and unfortunately we have never been able to coincide meeting on our various travels to the region. 
Meeting fellow blogger Martine for lunch was a special treat for us as was the food. Martine selected an excellent eating place. Locals know best.
 Martine's blog link
And so was meeting our congenial waiter, Big Willie.
After lunch, Martine took us to a beer tasting at this bar opened in 1877
It was tucked down a small laneway well hidden from the city hoards of tourists.
Four beers on offer to taste.
Four days in Brussels was too short a time being with our son Andrew and his fiancé Ashley but it was great to do so and the reason we arrange this impromptu trip in the first place. His contract with a University in Belgium has another 10 months to run and September next year it looks likely that there will be a wedding in Trentham.

It was time to leave Brussels and we now have a rental car to make our way down into France and the Loire Valley to renew friendships with people we have met on past trips to the region. We can't explain this passion we have for France but as soon as we crossed from Belgium into France, we saw changes in the scenery, the architecture and even the people. It also was comforting to hear the softness of the language, especially with the contrast of the Dutch and even Flemish language.

So for the first night in France we stayed at Reims in the Champagne region which was a first for us. Reims is a city of less than 150,000 people. As I type this post, I can hear voices at a bar below our hotel room and I hear people enjoying the mild night air and most likely enjoying a glass of the local bubbly produce for which it is famous. Earlier we enjoyed one of the best value for money dinners for most of our trip. It was washed down with a superb bottle of Loire Valley Chinon blanc. I had the Sole while Sue went for the filet of beef with bernaise sauce. Desert was cafe gourmand - espresso coffee with a selection of tiny desert tastings.

Ahhh, yes - we are back in France.

Small postscript - we think we might have made an error by not booking into Reims for only an overnight stopover. More tomorrow on Reims in the Champagne region.


  1. beautiful pictures.. hope you've enjoyed..

    1. Thank you Krishna - we have too many photos and yes it is a very enjoyable trip, now our 7th back to France but first to Belgium and Holland.

  2. I have met all my MIRC friends... we organised reunion dinners in every city of the world where there were at least 10 channel members. But I have never met a fellow blogger. How cool that Ladybird had the same passion for the Loire Valley that you do. And for good food :)

    1. Yes, Ladybird was a delight as we have missed each other in previous trips with our mutual Loire friends.

  3. So what happend to all the Porsches!!!! Lovely photos Diane x

    1. Diane, I'm amazed as you - would you believe only one Porsche. I'll post for you in our next blog.

  4. How cool that Ladybird had the same passion for the Loire Valley that you do. And for good food :)



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