Monday, October 3, 2011

WEDNESDAY 28th SEPTEMBER 2011 (Goodbye England, Hello Belgium)

We bid our farewells to Paul & Maggie at 9.30 am as we had an appointment we HAD to keep. Yep, a time restraint, something we're not that good at keeping! We are booked on the 12.40 pm ferry to Calais. Should be no worries, Dover is not that far away.

We had a couple of 'short' stops along the way. The first being GODDEN ENGINEERING & CONWAY MOTORS, the famous Vincent people. GODDEN specialise in design and manufacture of Godden speedway engines CONWAY MOTORS supports with spares and servicing.

Steve showed us over their extensive workshop. They manufacture many Vincent engine components here. It's quite an enterprising set-up.

Who'd of thought up a narrow back laneway in a small village that you'd find such a place. There are lots of these specialist shops dotted around the south-east corner of England.

Then we were off to visit an acquaintance of ours. We wanted to surprise him, after-all, he wont be expecting anyone from Tasmania to visit.

It worked, his mouth  dropped to the ground when he realised who his 'customer' was.

I just love surprises.

Ray PALMER, and his son Tommy, run MOTOLINER which specialises in repairing and building mag wheels and frames for race bikes. In fact, there was already one of the Superbikes in for repairs following the Silverstone weekend meet.

They also restore bikes for customers, and themselves (when time allows).
There was also a very nice collection of small race bikes on view.

Their work is second to none and they are regarded as the best in their field.

Hope you've recovered from our visit Ray.

As a result of these two 'short' visits we of course missed our ferry...!!! Told you we weren't that good at keeping to a time schedule (our bikes have trained us to be that way!)

Luckily for us we were able to catch the next ferry at 1.25 p.m. which meant we drove straight waiting...perfect.

Once again, good views of the White Cliffs of Dover as we waved goodbye to an excellent week in England.

The crossing was very hazy and Calais was all but invisible until we were quite close.

Following a phone call to HOMMES shop to check on the bike we learnt that we didn't have to be there till tomorrow.

We didn't have any specific plans, just follow our noses to where-ever we end up tonight.

We found ourselves driving east through Belgium. Happy to report that it was a LOT more pleasant than our drive down.

We thought it time for a bit of city culture and ended up smack-bang in the middle of BRUXELLES.

Our aim is to visit The Grand Place, the city centre with magnificent buildings decorated with gold-leaf. WOW, what a place.

After a look around we had to make the decision to stay or go.

We really didn't want to leave as Bruxelles is a beautiful city to explore and besides, the time is getting late.

We continued to look around and slowly make our way back to the Hotel strip.

We found a street totally dedicated to chocolate and biscuits. It was so colourful and the ever popular Belgium chocolate was being bought by the dray load - not by us though.

We asked at a couple of Hotels for a room but they were booked out. They said at this time of night the whole city is booked out and our chances of finding any accommodation were slim.

We kept looking though. At the third place, 'Hotel la Madeleine', a couple were returning their keys and said they wouldn't take the room. Well, they say timing is everything and we then knew there was at least one vacant room in the city. Wonder what's wrong with it?

We were given the price which was way above our budget but at that very moment a strong Canadian voice behind said..."Do you want to share?"

It was a mother and daughter and Paul had to make the decision does he want to share a room with three women or not...???

Strangely enough he answered yes, we could halve the cost of the room, which by the way, was a huge family room on two levels - PERFECT. It also meant we could go out and enjoy the night life of Bruxelles without wasting any more time.

After a bit of chatting with Tina & Jemma we learnt that their whole family (including husband and son) all rode motorbikes. Needless to say our sleeping arrangements worked perfectly.

Away we went and we had a choice of about 300 restaurants to eat at. We chose one which had a view down a narrow lane towards the tall tower in Grand Place, all beautifully lit up with the night lights.

The food was sensational. We both enjoyed a magnificent Seafood Paella Royale.

The best bit was while we were eating we could view a spectacular light show on the Grand Place buildings with dramatic classical music booming in the background. It was something else.

We were fortunate enough to view this show later in the evening as they replayed the event for the late stayers. It really was a great spectacle and, as we weren't aware it happened, proved a great addition to our stay in Bruxelles.

No comments:

Post a Comment