Postcards from Europe part 1

We had a Marvel-ous Time … on our European adventure, Trafalgar’s European Marvel.  7 Countries in 14 days!  This itinerary was a monster, so we were glad to have Trafalgar in charge of the logistics.  Crossing through that many European borders and using so many modes of transportation would have been difficult for us to navigate on our own.

Due to travel issues and a cancelled flight, we missed most of London.  But even though our tour started with some speed bumps, we managed to get through those challenges and did our best to move forward without letting them ruin the remainder of our trip.

0a883f45-8c7c-456b-9946-ce3432bcc783
Poor Mark camped out on the airport floor during our 30 hour stay at DTW

After finally getting settled into our hotel, we had around 4 hours to spend in London. Since we were starving at this point, we found a lovely pub nearby and grabbed a pint of beer and some dinner.  I ordered the fish and chips (duh…it’s London) and the hubby tried a Shepherds Pie.  When our bellies were full, we set out on a 4 mile stroll to explore the area. We saw the House of Parliament and Big Ben (which was having some restoration work done) and passed by the MI6 Building too.

Loved the architecture in London

Very early the next morning, we boarded our coach which delivered us to a ferry and we crossed the English Channel from Dover England to Calais France. It was a nice trip with beautiful views of the White Cliffs as we departed.  We had time aboard to grab a “Full English Breakfast” while we sailed and to mingle a bit with some of our new Tour Mates.

White Cliffs of Dover

After landing in France and navigating through customs, we traveled to Bruges.  We had a few hours here to explore the town before heading to Belgium where we would be staying. We saw the famous Bell Tower and the main city square before venturing off to devour a waffle covered in strawberries and Belgian chocolate.  Yum!

42e82527-d24d-4fae-bb97-84d59b5eee4b

Afterward we looked for the Basilica of the Holy Blood,  which I had learned about on a Rick Steves travel show about Bruges.  The basilica is said to hold a relic of the blood of Christ given to the church in the 1100’s.  Since our time in Bruges was limited, we got lucky finding it not too far from the main square.  It was a beautiful old world church with the most amazing stained glass windows.  I could have stayed for hours studying them.

In Bruges

From Bruges we traveled on to Brussels where we enjoyed a walking tour of the city.  We saw the famous Manekin Pis fountain and the fabulously gilded Market Square before having dinner. I also saw a wonderful depiction of Tin Tin (a Belgian cartoon) on the side of one of the buildings we passed.  It made me smile because I used to watch Tin Tin on television with my kids. 

Belgium in the Gilded Square

What a whirlwind for a first travel day.  Our coach soon delivered us to the Sofitel hotel in Brussels where we would spend the night.  After getting our luggage settled in, Mark and I wandered out to the square and had a pint while enjoying Brussels playing in a World Cup soccer game.  A truly amazing day.  Can’t wait to see what’s next!