Tuesday, September 19, 2000 Traveling into Belgium
We slept in this morning figuring we’d get going when we could. I took three Nyquil gel tablets to stop the nose drip and get some sleep. Did the trick, but also made me drowsy all day! Jim woke in the middle of the night from an upset stomach from too rich of a dessert last night. Got up about 9 am and packed before breakfast. Raining outside. Decided to drive to Claude Monet’s home in Giverny, about an hour south of Rouen. Jim decided to brave the rain and see the famous lily ponds. He took an umbrella and my little camera and set off in the rain while I stayed in the car and worked on my books. Jim came back in about half an hour for his video camera. He was very happy and his very words were “am I beaming?” Took another half-hour to tour more. Meanwhile, I got organized again and put the expenses in my book.
Back on the road to Rouen. Still raining, passed Rouen and headed northeast towards Belgium. Passed Calix, known for the chunnel to England and Dunkeque, made famous in the war by the little boats from England who saved the Allied Armies that had been cornered there by the Nazi soldiers.
We arrived in Brugge, Belgium about 5 pm with no Belgium Franks and a very poor map. Lots of one way streets, very narrow and twisting. We finally stopped at a hotel and asked for directions to our B&B. They couldn’t help us but we did find the street we needed and they gave us a better map than we had. By that time, Jim had found the map in Rick Steves book and located the street also. So off in the car again with more luck this time. We arrived just about 6 pm. So glad we hadn’t tried to find this place after dark. Then we had to find the Holiday house. This is a B&B set up with a separate house where we have the upstairs apartment with a kitchen. Finally found this one, parked nearby and put the luggage in the unit. Very cute, up a very steep set of stairs to the sitting room that has a large fireplace that was originally used for cooking and heating. Owner said that a family of eleven children was raised in this house. Our bedroom is up another set of steep stairs. Nice twin beds, low ceiling and a very clean bathroom with shower. They purchased the house and remodeled it in 1997. There is another apartment on the ground floor. The rent is about $60. Per day. But no breakfast included....but then we can cook our own!
Put things away and started walking to find an Italian Restaurant and a bank machine for money. We need to pay the bill in cash tomorrow for all three days. Walked to the plaza and found two bank machines. One was inside the bank the other one outside. Pomona didn’t work, but the Credit Union card did. Then on to a quaint Italian place on a side street. Had wine with Lasagna. Jim also had onion soup, which was excellent. Food was very hot all the way through the meal, so hot that it burned my tongue. Walked home and got lost before we found the unit. Stopped in a beautiful church, which was very dim and had classical music playing. Stayed for a while, there weren’t many people, but it was very peaceful.
TV has CNN; will be nice to hear the news from home. Most of the European stations have the news of the Olympics, but concentrate on their athletes. Well, it’s starting to rain here also. Had some thunder as the rain has arrived. Jim is busy making plans for everything we want to see tomorrow. Hope to also find a place to do some laundry and maybe a cyber shop if I’m lucky! [In 2000 wifi was very new and very few places even had DSL...so most of my journals were sent via dial up Internet Shops and/or over a telephone connection...very sloooow!]
Could not figure out the hot water in the shower, so took a very cold one! Only found two small hand towels and no soap! Will have to talk to the owner tomorrow. Jim finally got hot water in the kitchen sink, so there must be hot water in the shower? Guess I didn’t run it long enough. Got to bed about 11 pm.