Not sure how we packed all our stuff up the night before , but we managed to pack most of it .Today we have to leave , another big day of driving. When we got up it was 2 inches of snow on the ground,and still snowing, we left the park by 8am. Heading slowly out of the park hoping that the roads had been gritted(mix of salt and sand) so it would be easier to drive but for about an hour we had quite thick snow to deal with. Our original plan was to head for Brugge, but at this rate we thought we had better head straight for Calais, or we might miss our ferry.
As we progressed the roads got better and the sun came out, so we then decided we would have time to go to into Brussels and spend the afternoon there. Madge took us straight into the heart and we parked, then walked. This is one place that I am glad we didn’t have to negotiate. Brussels is the home to the EU Headquarters, many amazing buildings and awesome chocolate shops/boutiques.
Colonne Du Congress built with an eternal flame to commemorate WW1 soldiers. Atomium
Parc Du Cinquentenaire St Micheals Rue Neuve
Belgium is infamous for their chocolate and rightly so, the chocolatiers are very boutique looking and of course with the price to go with it . The choccies are priced by weight. This particular place made chocolates for the Belgium Royals.mmmmmmmm! We only sampled a little bag.
Brussels holds alot of history and when we went around on the bus, we got to see and hear about all the main sites. We were lucky to be on the bus as started to snow again. We hot legged it down to Calais to catch the ferry back. Mind you the fuel light was on for half an hour, we were running late and didn’t have time to stop. Not having had the car for that long we had never had the fuel light come on so we didn’t know how long it had until it stopped. We were getting quite anxious when we got to the ferry there was a huge line up so we were idoling for another half an hour at least, we sat with fingers crossed ,thinking we could hear funny sounds in the engine. But any way we got onto the ship ,and we thought as long as we were on it, they could push us off, but we made it to a servo on the other side ,just in time I would say. We laugh about it Now! Another 2 hour drive back to Sians in Dorking .We were pretty knackered.
The kids have put their foot down today and said that they didn’t want to go anywhere in the car, which was fair enough…
They woke about 7am and found the trail of eggs in the mobile home and as all kids do, had chocolate for breakfast. As you can see we had a bit of snow over night, but it didn’t really stick to the ground. At 9 I went to yoga and the kids went to a hunt that the park had put on.
After lunch the kids went to the kids club and Gwynfor and I set ourselves up outside the bar/restaurant , we had a lovely little sunny spot and spent the afternoon there. The local beer was awesome and we had quite a few, loving the steins! The kids came back and the four of them went and played mini golf, and we still sat in our sunny little spot until it got too cold ,when the sun went down. Then we only progressed inside, had a few more drinks then ordered dinner had a bottle of wine , and stayed for a bit after dinner. It was very civilised having a bit of time for ourselves, and the kids had a ball as well. We only had to walk back to our mobile and it was snowing, quite pretty really.
We set Madge for an address in Luxembourg city and as usual Madge took us straight there with out any fuss. It was Natur Musee , an interactive nature museum specially for children. We were wowed when we went through the doors and in, only to find out that it was all written and spoken in German, French or Luxembourgish. We still went through and enjoyed it, we missed out on a bit of info but it was still good.
We as usual went for a wander, and found a tour guide speaking in english ,so we followed the group pretending not to be listening too hard, he was speaking about the Norte Dame Cathedral, then we stumbled across a beautiful view of the old bridge and a tourist train so we went around on that , That way the kids don’t have to walk too far and we get a bit more history on the place. You can see the city is built in Layers and divided into old and new parts.
These little trolleys are a traditional thing that we saw quite a few kids pulling, they are suppose to ward off bad spirits on the eve of Easter. It was interesting to see other traditions ,but that’s all we found out about them.
We headed for the gorgeous little town of Echternach, it is the oldest town in Luxembourg. The buildings are very Romanesque and Gothic in style. The Basilica of St. Willibrord was amazing, and I learnt that it is called a Basilica and not a cathedral when a Saint is buried there. We went in and warned the kids that they had to be quiet, and they were , they were so amazed with the detail , height , stained glass windows, hugeness and the feel of it. They liked lighting a candle each and remembering something.
We then walked through the medieval little town checking out the lovely shops ,we usually packed our lunch and then have either arvo or morning tea at one of these beautiful bakery/patisseries. I could imagine in the summer this place would be absolutely packed. There are definitely advantages for going off peak.
After spending the morning in Echternach we crossed the border into Germany to Trier. Trier is the 2nd oldest city in Europe and has settlements dating back to 400 BC. First stop was the Trier Cathedral partly because it was raining and we needed shelter ,and partly because we were going there anyway. Rhys made comment " we aren’t even religious Mum", I thought it was funny. Too many grand churches in one day,hehe. It’s hard to imagine that people have gathered here for over 1,700 years. The kids were fascinated with the huge organs that hung above us , lines of cylinders that looked very ornate , we would have loved to hear them, I can imagine the sound echoing through the Cathedral would have been amazing. Again we walked around checking this quaint city out ,we also liked the Palace (pinkish building)and there was a playground near by, which is a good compromise when they have had alot of culture for the day.
A big drive from Dorking all the way through to Larochette. We had a 3 bedroom mobile home, which was comfortable enough and the park had an indoor heated pool, kids clubs, mini golf, tramps , playgrounds, bar , restaraunts, mini supermarket , so it was well set out. The boys room ,we named "the cupboard" it was the centre of quite a few jokes.
Larochette was a nice little place that was quite central to alot of places, so we based ourselves there for 5 nights. Again in the shops there was alot of pointing as we couldn’t speak French or German. (I think we will have to learn some basic French before going on our next trip into France at the end of May. ) The first day we went for a wander through Larochette and then back after lunch for their daily swim.
On our way back to the park we saw this old castle on the side of the cliff, it had quite an eery, mystical feel about it , we drove up to it and it was closed, so we just walked around it. Quite fascinating how it was built, it has an amazing view of the township.
It was Aislins birthday today. My baby is five, and she assures me that she is no longer my baby but a big girl!!!!
We left here about 8am and headed for Dorking (1 hour Sth of London) which is where Gwynfors cousin Sian lives . On the way we went through a little town where Gwynfors Mum grew up. The nice little church is where Gwynfors Mum and Dad got married, so it was really nice to see.
We got to Dorking about 1pm and wandered through the town, then we went to Sian and Keiths where we were staying before heading off for Dover the next morning. We left for the Ferry about 7am ,the kids thought the P&O ferry was huge, to carry so many cars ,buses and trucks. It has restaurants , cafes, play areas ,duty free shopping and rest areas, it’s only a one and a half hour crossing into Calais, France .The White Cliffs of Dover were very white as you can see in the background of the kids and I.
At this point I am going to introduce you all to "Madge" our guide and marriage saviour, she was our 7th passenger all the way of our 16,000 mile journey, she is a Magellen Satellite Navigation unit, and an absolute gem. So anyway once in Calais we headed up a bit and into Belgium and headed across into Luxembourg. On the Way we Stopped off at a Chateau Lavaux Sainte Anne, we got our first taste of the culture and of the language barrier, in Belgium they mainly speak French and Dutch and all the info was in those languages, but it was still great to weave in and out of all rooms that were still furnished with original furniture. We were imagining how they would have lived and how cold it would have been in the winter.
On Saturday night we stayed with some friends Jane and Andrew they live in Pwllheli, we went to the sailing club to watch Wales win the Grand Slam of the six nations rugby union comp. It was a great win and game against France. Last weekend Gwynfor went to Dublin to watch Wales win against Ireland, he went with a heap of guys Friday Morning and got home Monday morning 3:30am, big ,big ,big weekend for him .I think it took him until Thursday to recover, he’s not as young as he used to be when they used to do these bigÂ rugby weekends away. Big days starting at 10am in a cosy Dublin pub, many pints, many laughs, he said he had a brilliantÂ weekend. Something that working in the hospitality industry doesn’t allow, so it was nice for him.
In Pwllheli we had a nice dinner and a few celebrating drinks, then on Sunday we went for a drive , if you look on the map of Wales we went to what looks like the fingertips, the most westernly point in North Wales, Aberdaron. There was a windy lookout spot and then we found a pub that had a lovely view of the ocean, then went and mucked around on the beach. One of the permanent fixtures in our car is the metal detector , so we had that out , beaches are great for scouting around.
We are heading off on our trip into Luxembourg tomorrow, so I have heaps to do. I had a look at weather forecast for Luxembourg and it looks like we’ll be getting a bit of snow. So we should have some very pretty photos of our trip. Until next time have a fantastic Easter, and we will try not to eat to many Belgian Chocolates!!!!!!!!
Just as the kids were about to go to bed on Monday night we noticed that it was snowing outside it was coming down quite quickly so they went off to bed hoping that it would still be around in the morning and this is what they saw.
By the afternoon it had melted away but it was still nice to see when you look out the window. It looks so fresh and crisp covering everything.
Aislin wanted to show you, her first tooth that she has lost.
I keep saying to her "your too young to be losing teeth, your my baby!" She looks so different, but she thinks she’s very grown up.
On Sunday it was the UK’s Mothers Day. Ella had prepared me a lovely breakfast which I had to go back into bed to eat, and I got some pretty flowers.
Oh yeah! you probably didn’t know I’m a fiery redhead now, a bit of a change. We took Gwynfors Mum out for lunch, as well ,to a beautiful part of the world, Betwys-y-Coed.
had a lovely lunch ,had an ice-cream for sweets and went for a drive.
At the Tyn-y-Coed pub they have a carriage that used to travel from London to Holy Head, it would have been a very long bumpy trip…
Ella turned nine on the 24th of Feb.On the Saturday, Ella and I went to Llandudno ( next biggest shopping place). she picked out her birthday clothes,and we had a nice girly day out. When we got back we picked up her friend that she has met at the Welsh speaking unit,Lydia. They had a lovely time putting on stick on nails that Ella insisted on buying with some birthday money. The next day we all went 10 pin bowling,which was fun……well sort of ,I came last and it wasn’t because I wasn’t trying! But anyway Ella had a lovely day for her ninth birthday.
We are finally back on line that’s why it has been so long in between postings. Very frustrating ,but anyway we are online now, and we would love to hear from you all.
We are getting excited about Easter , we are heading off for a week. we leave here the Tues before Easter and drive down to Gwynfors cousin, out of London,staying the night then onto Dover and cross on a big P&O ship with our car, into Calais (France). We will then drive through Belgium into Luxemburg. Luxemburg is very central to alot of places, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland. Our accommodation is in Luxemburg for 5 nights,so we are not sure exactly what or where we will go yet. But we are quite keen to have a look around Holland , all the tulips and everything will be out and the windmills ,clogs and cheese all come to mind, also the Black Forest in Germany would be nice but we’ll just see what we feel like doing??? Anyway have a great Easter all of you, and we’ll try not to eat too many Belgium chocolates on the way through!