Our last day of the trip was spent … let’s see if you can guys can guess … driving! Today we were in four different countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the UK. We said goodbye to a few tour members staying in Amsterdam, then headed off to Bruges, Belgium. Bruges is a beautifully preserved medieval city (despite WW2) in the north part of Belgium. It houses the largest and best preserved medieval square and many old Flemish gothic buildings. There was one clock tower that had non-stop bells paying in the top. I can’t think of one moment in the square when we couldn’t hear their melody in the background! There weren’t just a couple different bells either, there was probably a few dozen different tones!
Of course, you can’t go to Belgium without getting waffles or chocolate. PC and I, along with our friends Holly, Kanomi, and Dina, went to a local restaurant and ordered some delicious waffles (and soup, for one of us who wanted a real lunch). PC and I shared caramel waffles, Kanomi got waffles with whipped cream and chocolate, and Dina got waffles with strawberries. On the restaurant’s menu, there was also the option to get “Canadian waffles”: whipped cream, nuts, and maple syrup. One of the Australians on the trip (who saw us in the same restaurant) asked if PC and I got the Canadian waffles, and I said no, because I eat them every day in Canada. 😛
In this area about 50% (or more) of the stores were handmade chocolate shops! We went to a few to try and get the best deal. We eventually found some nice Belgian Chocolate Sea Shells, and some other truffles. I also found a piece of dark chocolate on a stick which you add to warm milk and stir to get hot chocolate! I can’t wait to try it!
We finished driving on the right side of the road in Calais, France where we caught a ferry back to Dover. This trip was very different because there was a much larger police presence because there were a lot of people waiting in the fields next to the highway hoping to be smuggled to the UK. It was so strange! We saw around a hundred people, but our tour guide said today was a quiet day. He’s seen hundreds or thousands of people waiting in the fields. No one was being arrested though, because it’s not illegal to stand in a field.
When we stood waiting for our (late) ferry, the sea was so clear that we could see the White Cliffs of Dover from France! It was amazing! But the clouds soon came over, and it was already a windy day (hense the tardiness) so it was a challenging trip to Dover. On the ferry it was hard to walk in a straight line because the boat was swaying so much. I got a headache about halfway through the trip.
The last stretch of our tour included a bus driving named Andy (our driver in Europe was a quiet Lithuanian man named Gigi). Andy was a very fast driver and made me slightly regret choosing to sit in the front row, but his sense of humour made up for it!
In London, we said our goodbyes, promised to add people on facebook, and agreed to look people up if we were ever in Australia! We walked to Kings Cross and caught a train to the Airport so PC can go back to Sweden early tomorrow morning. That’s where we are now: killing time in an airport. PC is trying to sleep, and I know I’m not going to. Even though it’s been an exhausting day, I still have lots to do and lots of people to see before my school term starts. I can’t wait to meet some of my family members here and see some family I haven’t seen in a few years, and see old family friends here in England! It’s still going to be a bit crazy for the next couple of weeks, but you probably know that I quite like crazy.