Winding up our 1997 dream trip to Greece with a leisurely driving trip from Holland to Belgium couldn’t have been more enjoyable. We had seen much of the Netherlands some years earlier and just had to return to Bruges, our favourite European city.
After stopping inside the Dutch border at Amersfoort and Breda, we made a sight seeing visit to Ghent, a city noted for its medieval buildings and rich history. In the early middle ages it was the second largest and richest city in Europe. Notable buildings included the 12th century Belfry Tower, offering fabulous views of the city centre, and St. Bavo’s Cathedral.
Ghent is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, and the third largest municipality in Belgium. Its architecture ranges from medieval to modern. It is regarded as one of Belgium’s most beautiful communities.
Most rewarding was our leisurely four days in Bruges, relishing fine weather which allowed ample time to explore its splendid medieval treasures.
We were told that, for all the destruction German armies inflicted upon cities in two world wars, it left Bruges virtually untainted because of its remarkably well preserved medieval heritage.
An especially poignant side trip brought us to Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Mennin Gate in Ieper (better known by its French name, Ypres), Belgium. Thousands of Canadian names are etched into the hallowed walls of this extraordinary Great War monument.
And, just because it was so near, we had to drive a few kilometres over the French border to stop by the signpost to Armentières. But no such luck. Nary a mademoiselle to be seen!
Flying from Amsterdam to Montreal we did it really in style as Business Class seats were at the last minute confirmed. First, we each got a personal toiletries bag. Next, a choice of orange juice or a glass of champagne. I took the champagne. A delicious seafood meal was accompanied by top quality red or white wine. And as a final KLM touch, a gift to take home: Bols gin in a blue delft model of a typical Dutch dwelling. Ahhh, luxury indeed!