Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Belguim to France

We spent the morning doing a bus tour to see the sights of Brussels.  We did get to see the nicer side of town, taking in the Royal Residence and gardens.
A visit to the world famous (??) Atomium.
Another church, the National Basilica of Koekelberg.  This is the 5th largest church in the world, but it is the  least impressive church we have see so far.  No character.  King Leopold II in 1880 wanted to build the biggest in the world.  It's construction didn't get started until 1905. Things got stalled during WW1 and then finances were limited.  It didn't get finished until early 1950's.  Great views from the top though.
Lacking character inside
Brussels from the top
A nice avenue

We wouldn't rave about the city highlights tour, especially since the audio system wasn't working and the guide had to say everything in English and French live.  You tune out after a while when you don't understand.  Just as well he only had to commentate in two languages!

The afternoon was spent wandering around town then late afternoon rest.  
Shuttle bus back into town later for dinner.  More time to play in the rain.
Last time we were in Europe, it was the middle of Winter and all our photos showed us in the same coat (keeping warm). It seems that this trip will have us in our rain jackets all the time to keep dry!
It hasn't rained every day, but most!  Oh well.  You just get on with it.
It did rain quite heavily most of the night.  It seemed that way as our room must have the down pipe just outside and water was running down it all night.  Might suggest to our travel agent that this place probably deserves the thumbs down! (The garage door for the car park was just below us and it was noisy too).  Some people are hard to please.

This morning saw us head to the station to catch the train to Amiens (France) via Lille Flanders.  We purchased our tickets yesterday.  We had two train changes, but all went well.  We were on time, at the right platforms and so were the trains.  That is a nice change from our other train trips so far, and there was plenty of room for us.
 Quite a pleasant journey, especially since it was such a dreary day outside.
Our Hotel here is right near the train station, which is right near town.  This will be very handy on Thursday as we have an 8.30 am train to London.  
Very modern hotel, a change from the previous couple.
 We have had a wander through town, into the old quarter to look at yet another church.  
This one was built 1220-1260.  Now that is really old.  Once again, an amazing building.
An impressive clock below
The weather had improved when we arrived here, but a light shower has descended.
Tomorrow, we have another somber day visiting the Somme, Villers-Bretonneux and other Battle sites.
Bye for now

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