29 September 2019
Today we said goodbye to our Peugeot. Other than a slight hiccup on day one, she has served us well! We covered just over 5,000 kms in 31 days. We would have liked it to be less kms over more days, but that’s just how it panned out. It was certainly convenient and extremely comfortable.
We earned one parking fine (paid), probably one toll gate fine (when we picked the wrong gate to drive through) and almost definitely, one speeding fine (40 kms in a 30 zone so we’ll watch the letter box for that one).
We had one last incident at a toll gate on our last full day. Grahame reached out to put the ticket into the machine and it flew away in the wind. We both got out of the car looking for it, as the line of cars steadily backed up behind us. We couldn’t find it , but we did find that the Frenchman in the car behind us was in a bit of a hurry. I heard quite a bit of ranting, and raving with a few “merdes” and probably worse thrown in, all directed at us. While Grahame explained the situation to the person at the other end of the assistance line, I explained the situation to the “man in a hurry”. One of us was a lot more polite than the other. I was nearly going to pull the “We are Australians” line that had gotten us out of trouble before, but I opted for another “A” word instead and suggested that he not be one!!
We were bussed to the train station at Charles De Gaulle airport and carted our bags to the waiting area. Not sure I like this carting bags stuff, but it’s only for a few days. We’ve been spoilt!
Our high speed train delivered us to another city in another country in just over an hour and a half.
Once again, we knew we were in a different country when our Vodafone text messages arrived welcoming us to Belgium.
The afternoon was spent wandering around Brussels, getting our bearings, and getting lost more than once….. and a little damp.
I flippantly asked a cab driver where the sun was. His response: “Madame, people come to Brussels for many reasons, chocolate, beer, waffles and even politics, but never for the sun!!” Fair call.
So Brussels has some stuff to see and do, but probably the most important tourist destination is “MannekenPis”.
He’s a little statue who pees water into the fountain below, but he has been known to pee beer, milk and cider. He also has over 1000 costumes and his own costume museum up the road.
Legend has it that the little boy was a local hero, because he peed on the fuse connected to a barrel of gunpowder that was aimed at blowing a hole in the city wall, saving them all from destruction. There are may other legends but this one appears to be the most popular.
In the centre of the old town is the stunningly beautiful “Grand Place”. Housing the Town Hall, the Breadhouse (which had a habit of being burnt down) and rather opulent guildhouses.
Of course it was packed with tourists and, being Sunday afternoon, a fair few locals.
Grahame spotted a sign and was off. The Beer Museum was pretty unexciting as far as I was concerned, but Grahame took it very seriously.
As an aside : we have now been to a ham museum, a horse museum and a beer museum. Guess who’s running this show!