Holidays Our little holiday diary

Belgium Part One

Diane’s Diary of Di’s asters

We would first of all acknowledge that we have no control over the weather and the personalities/characters mentioned in this episode are or have been on UK TV.

(September 2007)

A rundown of our hotel stay…..or…….A stay in our rundown hotel!!!

Day 1.

Up at three am. We took a taxi to Blackpool coach park. Our coach turned up nearly an hour late after we had waited out in the open air braving the wind and rain. We had our first meeting with Mr Grumpy, who quickly turned into Mr Grumpy crazy driver trying to make up the lost time. He was even texting on the motorway at 60 mph, very scary. When he had got all that out of his system, he turned out to be a pretty competent driver. We arrived at Dover to be informed we had a one and a half hour wait for our ferry in torrential rain. The sea must have been twice as deep as usual when we sailed. The rain followed us through France and into Belgium. Mr G kept informing us he could only work one more hour according to his tachograph. He didn’t say what would happen if he went over his time. We were rather concerned he may self destruct! We arrived at our hotel in Ostend and had a delicious meal. We easily found our doll sized room and to be polite the whole place was very tired and needed an extreme makeover. Where is Llewellyn Bowen when you need him? It turned out that everyone was of the same opinion about the hotel and Mr G. To be fair, we couldn’t hear any traffic noise, well, not over the thunder and lightning anyway. It was called the New Astoria Hotel. I wouldn’t like to have seen the old one! Eric was beside himself, there was no kettle, he was gutted. What! No tea, no coffee, no kettle. What’s more no ‘ooks to ‘ang our coats up on.

Day 2.

At breakfast, we learned that no one had a kettle. Uproar. Us Brit’s like our morning cuppa apparently.The rain is coming down like stair rods and bouncing off the pavement. Mr G picked us up and we went on to Sluis in Holland. It was a very pretty village with nice buildings and a canal. We spent our two hours going from one shop to another just to avoid getting wet. He then took us on to Bruges where we spent our three hours going from shop to shop to avoid getting wetter.

We had to be back at the coach park for three fifteen for our return journey. However, according to Eric, “Due to a slight miscalculation we veered off course just a tad, which meant we had to dash a little to make it back in time”. Now. Here’s what really happened…..Michael Palin here got us hopelessly lost and I’m no use what so ever (so no pressure on him there then) I’m afraid the homing pigeon instinct in him has flown away! He was, up to one point, convinced we were going the right way and I had every confidence in him up till then. Our main problem was the time element as Mr G waits for no man and we really had no idea where we were. No one seemed to speak English. So while Eric was walking briskly, I was running as fast as I could to keep up. Guess what!!! We got on the coach spot on time. Fortunately for us, ten other people got lost so we had to wait for them. Phew!! Scary, but no where near as bad as the China Airport saga. After all that, we went on to a Belgium Chocolate Factory Shop where Mr G got his obligatory bung. We got something nice for Mum. Eric managed to grab a few free samples; funnily enough six kept sticking together!

Back to our flea pit and they hadn’t left any soap, shampoo etc for the following day and there was no one available on reception that night. That will teach me. I always bring that sort of stuff back home with me; I never usually take it to a hotel. Two lifts in this hole, one doesn’t work and the other got stuck with four people in it. So ten flights of stairs every time we went in or out. We decided to take advantage of our “all inclusive” deal and get free drinks. The queue to the bar was a mile long and the beer was 90% water and gas. There was nowhere to sit so we had to borrow chairs from the dining room and sit with many others in the corridor. It resembled a doctor’s waiting room with alcohol. However, it was a lot cooler and the extremely loud music wasn’t as deafening. We gave up and went back to our room after one drink to avoid all the Victor Meldrew’s complaining.

You can go to Part Two now (If you really want to!!)

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