Tuesday, 23 September 2008

High Days and Holidays

I know it was a while ago but, blinked and you missed it - summer that is!

We did manage a few nice days though, inbetween the torrential downpours. We went ahead with our camping trip to Devon over the Bank Holiday. The weather wasn't too bad during the days, but a couple of the nights were horrendous. Also, the wet weather meant that some parts of the campsite resembled a clay pit!! The boys enjoyed themselves and as you can see from the pic below - they managed to get in the sea, Alan even joined in one day. I was the sensible one and opted for a chair, good book and my fleece!!

The boys bodyboarding at Slapton Sands

Plymouth Hoe from a little boat.

We had a trip up the river to Davenport to see all the Naval vessels.

We had a lovely morning in Dartmouth and sampled a gorgeous cream tea (can't believe we'd been in Devon since Thurs and had to wait till Monday to have our one and only cream tea!) in a fabulous bakers on the main street. We even bought pasties and cakes for later in the day. From Dartmouth we went over to Brixham where we all spent a pleasant couple of hours either fishing or crabbing, but no luck! There were a few near misses with the crabs, but they decided they preferred the sea to our bucket, can't blame them really. It was fun trying though!

Dartmouth Harbour

Looking out to sea from Dartmouth

One of the highlights of our few days away was an impromptu fly past by the Red Arrows. They flew very low and even had the smoke trails. They flew the length of Slapton Sands where about 5 mins earlier Alan and Ben had been flying their power kite, good job they'd packed up cos I reckon they'd have hitched a ride to Dartmouth in record time!!

The weekend before we went to Devon, Alan and I had a long weekend in Brussels. They boys went up to Beverley and had some quality time with Grandma, going to the beach and to the train musuem in York.

We travelled to Brussels via the Eurostar, which was very efficient, but a little shabby. It was great to see the new St Pancras station, very smart and swish. The times I used to travel through that station when I was in the Army, it was always so dark and dismal, but not anymore and the statue of the kissing couple is amazing, unfortunately I didn't take a photograph so you'll just have to go and see it for yourself.

We arrived in Brussels Friday evening and after a bit of a trek to the hotel (don't ask!) we settled ourselves in our room. The hotel 'The Sheraton' was fantastic, couldn't ask for more. We'd upgraded to Club so we got to use the facilities of the Club Lounge which was on the 30th floor with great views of the city. We could help ourselves to complimentary wines and beers in the evening and tea/coffee and soft drinks during the day. The hotel also had a rooftop (covered) pool which was very well received after a day pounding the streets seeing the sights.

So, Brussels! We enjoyed it, but not sure we would go again. There is an awful lot of graffiti about and it seems there is no respect for monuments or buildings. We also found that the transport system took a lot of getting used to. There are not many signs/information in English, which we found quite surprising seeing as Brussels is the centre of the European Parliament etc. It didn't stop us from seeing the sights though.

The weekend we were there the Grand Place was carpeted with flowers. The event takes place every two years for one weekend and it was a sight to behold. The flowers were begonia heads all laid out in a very intricate pattern - it was well worth battling the crowds to see it. The buildings surrounding the Grand Place were stunning.

We took a metro ride out of the city to visit the Atomium. Now what can I say about the Atomium - rip off springs to mind! After paying something like 8 or 9 Euro each we got in line for about an hour to take a lift to the observation deck - that was it!! Although I got some quite arty shots looking down on the spheres it certainly wasn't worth the wait or the money. The views were good, but you could see the same views from the Basillica a few miles away for less money and you get to see the inside of a beautiful Art Deco church too.

Of course a trip to Brussels wouldn't be complete without sampling some of the 200 approx types of beer they have on offer.

And of course, the chocolates!!!!! Every other shop seems to be a chocolate shop, but we were very restrained and didn't buy any till the last evening. We bought a few boxes for gifts and one for us to share with the boys when we got home. They were delicious!

Inside the Leonadis Chocolate Shop

Mannekin Pis (not quite sure what the uniform signified)


Kerrie Slade said...

What fabulous photos Alison I especially love the Dartmouth ones - very atmospheric and moody :0)

Kerrie xx

Mary said...

Leonidas are my favourite chocolates (...and Godiva too). I'm glad you had a nice break. The photos are great.

By the way, good luck with the forthcoming event. I hope it goes well for you!

Nia said...

Great update Alison, well worth waiting for! It sounds as if you were very lucky in Devon, considering the terrible weather. Must say though, the Brussels beer sampling looks great, just my sort of thing!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Look at those beers. And the chocolate! Glad you had a great time. :)

Coburg Crafts said...

Sounds like you had a great time - in both locations, Alison! I'm drooling all over my keyboard at the sight of all that chocolate. YUM!