And so it ends (well for this trip anyway!)

Our last post of call, before the call of the port so to speak, was Brugge. The one sure plan we have always had was a day in Brugge before we caught the ferry home. Quite frankly we were both fairly gobsmacked as to how we managed to arrive with such impeccable timing.

Brugge is said to be one of the world’s first tourist destinations, having set up a Tourist Information as far back as 1909, they have certainly had time to work out what the tourist wants and they have it with abundance – medieval architecture, lace and chocolate are  everywhere.  We find it hard to believe anyone leaves the city without purchasing chocolate, you need a steel brace to avert your eyes from the mouth watering displays.

brugge (18)

The Markt – Brugge

By luck or whatever Brugge remained relatively unscathed during the war and retains most of it’s medieval architecture. We struck lucky and both the Church of our Lady and St. Salvator’s Cathedral had their scaffolding removed recently, on the downside the insides of both buildings are being restored so we missed seeing the interiors.   It was be churlish to complain though when instead we visited the Burg Square, the Markt and several other areas containing some of the most sensational buildings we have seen anywhere.

brugge2 (3)

Burg Square

We popped in Sunday for a couple of hours and decided to go back for a full day Monday thinking it would be quieter. Not a bit, possibly busier on Monday – we stayed on the town aire next to the coach drop off and pick up, hundreds of buses in and out all day with at least half of them British and the other half school children.

Despite Brugge giving the impression of a a tranquil place to visit it really isn’t. The sheer numbers of tourist, the horses and carts clattering around the cobbles and the carillon of 48 bells, added to the bells of several other churches, meant at times it was difficult to hear yourself speak.  Surely though one of the highlights of Brugge is when the carillon in the Belfry of Brugge strikes up a ringing rendition of “It’s a long way to Tipperary” on the hour, every hour – truly amazing.

brugge (21)

When in Rome….so obviously when in Brugge chocolate is mandatory. I never thought it would be possible to say this but, there are too many chocolate shops. It is mind blowing, hundreds and hundreds of them on every street. I needed to shop for chocolate so left Iain to his own devices for a couple of hours whilst I perused. I then came to realise the benefits of so many shops – everyone I actually went in offered me a sample chocolate! On a roll I visited eight shops before purchasing :), now slightly sick of the taste of Belgian chocolate.

brugge2 (13)

Aside from chocolate we wanted to visit Brugge to see the canals. I am going to have to say it didn’t come across as the ‘Venice of the North’ to us, a fair few canals but mainly small with lots of dead-ends. That isn’t too take away from the charm of  the canals and their setting alongside 17th century warehouses and homes, it stands on it’s own merits without needing a  Venice type canal label.

We of course took the obligatory canal boat trip, forget sedate and flowing – think more pack ’em in and speed ’em round. Due to the low bridges there are just one type of boat and they fair nip around causing a few wakes as they go.

brugge2 (12)

P1060020

 

———————————————————————————————————

There endeth the Grand Depart tour around Europe for us, Zeebrugge tonight and ferry home tomorrow.

We have had the absolute time of our lives, we have seen and done more than we thought possible – it has been everything we hoped it would be and so much more. In summary :31 border crossings, 20 countries, 19,000 miles, (passports checked just twice).

We are well under our budget, amazingly, but sure we will see a lot of that go with the 25 essential maintenance jobs on the list required for the van (thank the Lord for gaffer tape its all that’s holding us together right now).

There have been a few navigational related skirmishes, but trying to get us around Europe on a 1:3 200 000 atlas was always asking for a few headaches!

We would do it all again without a moments thought – well we did think we might like one of these to go with, but guess our van will have to do.

brugge (10)

The first question is always where we did like best? We didn’t, honestly, every country we visited we found amazing sights, lovely people and had fun. Whenever anyone asked that questions during the trip it was always the country we had just left.

Every day was an experience, things we had only read about previously were seen in the flesh : visiting Meteora, driving Trollstigen, flying in an Airship, crossing Millau Bridge, walking into Russia (ok only two steps but we did it). Others were stark reminders of how lucky we are: the ferry fire on the Norman Atlantic, Auschwitz, the WWI and WWII battle-grounds and the military cemetery.

Our lack of real planning and direction paid off more than we could have hoped mainly because Europe is stuffed full of incredible things to see – you would struggle to miss them – luckily for us!

schauinsland-1

In the words of the that famous 20th century commentator “That’s all folks”.

Advertisements

53 thoughts on “And so it ends (well for this trip anyway!)

  1. Safe crossing! Going to miss your blog.
    All the best. Enjoy home!

    Like

  2. Oh, and of course: what a pity you missed Antwerp! Save that for your next trip? ;-))

    Like

    • we have indeed saved Antwerp, Brussels, Liege and Ghent – all of which look so worth a visit. Think we will be having a Belgium holiday at some stage to see all these places. Hope we catch up with you one side of the water or the other. 🙂

      Like

  3. Loved reading the Blog. The Photos have been mind boggling. Thanks for all the hard work you have put into the blog. Great to have you back and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you both.

    Like

    • Glad you have enjoyed it, the photos were easy with so many incredible things to see. Thanks for the festive wishes – same to you 🙂

      Like

  4. HI guys, thank you for the memories, I enjoyed traveling around Europe with you, even though it was just reading your twice weekly blogs. I also enjoyed our twice weekly phone calls, to listen and relive the previous day’s vistas. One of the other highlights was marveling at the beautiful photos that I can assume was the work of Iain.

    So welcome home, and as you start to plan your next adventure, I’ll say thank you once again for letting me share your days wandering around Europe.

    Like

    • cheers Dad – glad you were with us in spirit. Next time get a Tear Drop and we will tow you along with us 🙂 (p.s. photos mainly mine – but the odd very good ones are usually Iain’s) x

      Like

  5. hiya will miss all your blogs I have so much enjoyed reading them and seeing all your lovely photos of all the lovely places you have visited now for a long long rest to you both xxxxxx

    Like

  6. I’m so going to miss your blogs and photos. Hope you’re travelling again soon and really hoping to bump into you somewhere, someday. Safe journey home. x

    Like

  7. I only discovered your blogs this summer, but have read them all avidly since. Will really miss the blog hit …. you have given us lots of ideas on our own European Journey. Katherine

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hello, been following you around too – always gutted when you find something fab and we drove past it! We are in Zeebrugge heading back to North Wales today x

        Like

      • Hi
        Just parked up in San Marino, adding to our list of countries. But back to Rimini for Friday as J (medically high maintenance!) has a dental appointment. Then bolting down to Naples as I fly home on Weds for 3 nights to see family. Kx

        Like

  8. I trust you hoisted a glass or two of ‘Straffe Hendrik’! All good things … as they say. But, I suspect your ‘bus’ isn’t going to stay parked up in your driveway for long.

    Like

  9. Hi Sandra glad you both had a great time been following your adventures on your blog where to next travel America maybe ?????????????

    Take care

    Jimmy & Yvonne

    > On 20 October 2015 at 18:44 Baxterbus Blogs > wrote: > > Baxterbus posted: “Our last post of call, before the call of the port so > to speak, was Brugge. The one sure plan we have always had was a day in Brugge > before we caught the ferry home. Quite frankly we were both fairly gobsmacked > as to how we managed to arrive with such imp” >

    Like

    • we had an amazing time – next trip already under discussion – Russia looking interesting 🙂 hope you are both well lots of love xx

      Like

  10. Great, amazing, inspirational!!!
    I’ll let you settle in for a week before asking what’s next 😜Xx

    Like

    • Haha – take a week to clean the van and do the washing. Been home 6 hours, looking forward to the next trip now 🙂 xx

      Like

  11. It certainly looks beautiful! Brugge has been on my ‘to visit’ list for some time now and you have definitely tilted the balance with this blog. I am not a chocoholic, but it is always nice to bring back treats for family and friends, so I suppose I would have to force myself to enter all those shops and try those free samples!

    It must feel very weird now to be back home, but I bet my bottom dollar you’re already planning your next trip… (I would). 😉

    Like

  12. There really are not appropriate words to tell you how much I am going to miss your wonderful blog and all those amazing photographs, a very big thank you, to you both, for keeping me enthused over our long eight months. Can’t wait until you start travelling again 👍

    Like

    • We will be relying on you two now to keep us going through the winter :). Glad you enjoyed the blog, without a doubt having people read it makes it feel the effort of writing is worthwhile.

      Like

  13. Guess it is now ‘welcome home’ so you will no doubt get the post-travel blues, we do but you can always start to plan future trips. Let us know if and when you get out and about again. Enjoyed following your travels on the big trip – well done to you both – inspirational.

    Like

  14. Well what an adventure. Makes our tawdry 50+ days seem like a mini-break. I must say it was a great read as you clearly have the knack of making articles easy reads. Planning the next??

    Like

    • we just stuck several of our 50 day mini-breaks together 🙂 Planning – of course, Europe map on the wall wiped down and felt tip pen appearing on it already 🙂

      Like

    • seriously, its not. Love reading your Blog its very informative. The joy of blogs is they are all so different in style. Love sitting down with a cuppa for a proper read when yours are published 🙂

      Like

  15. Amazing journey, fantastic blog, wonderful people. We hope to see you on the road again sometime soon (pop in if you are near Dover!).

    Best wishes
    David & Tracey

    Like

    • for sure we will do next time are down. Have a brilliant trip to the sun this winter – keep us posted how it goes xx

      Like

  16. Many thanks for your comments about last week’s visit to Bruges. I am missing your blogs as no doubt all your followers are. Plans for the future – or are we in cash conservation mode for a hopefully brief spell??!!

    Like

    • Plans a plenty – saving mode for a while. Wales and Scotland will be our destinations for 2016 then hopefully back on the road to some further flung places in 2017 🙂

      Like

  17. Dear Sandra and Iain. Rather closer to home than your recent fantastic trip, I’m staying shortly at the new Morris Leisure site in Snowdonia. This will bring their site count to five and it looks to be a beautiful location. Will let you know what it’s like!

    Like

    • its on our list for the spring – can’t wait to hear what you think of it 🙂 (we are already fans of their site in Betws y coed)

      Like

Please feel free to leave a reply :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s