Ugh, my head!
We try not to wake Fred and Michiel this morning as we tiptoe around the apartment and grab a coffee before we head out the door. They are awake anyway and wish us well and we say our final goodbyes and head to Brussels for the day.
Foggy Day in Amsterdam Town
There is an incredible fog hugging Amsterdam this morning. The sun filters through the fog and makes a glowing, eerie white opaqueness that is very disconcerting. Occasionally we see a pale green field with ghostly trees silhouetted against the fog as we move onto the highway. We are amazed at the speed at which some people are driving. We are in what Canadians refer to as ‘whiteout’ conditions, and as soon as John mentions this he slams on the brakes as someone 10 cars ahead of us rear-ends the car in front of them. We spend a good hour getting out of Amsterdam and the fog remains with us until at least Antwerpen.
Brussels: A Pleasant Surprise
Brussels is a pleasant surprise. We had not been expecting very much from this largely governmental town, the head of the EU. The area we park in is like Ottawa on a Saturday: completely void of human life; the ministers and their aides and other staff are in their home countries for the weekend. It is a long weekend here, November 1st being All Souls Day. Brussels is teeming with well-heeled tourists, smartly turned out in their weekend finest. Brown suede and pashmina predominate. We hear French, German and the occasional bit of American twang bounced around the Grand Place where we start our tour. The Grand Place is, well grand and after the appropriate oohing and aahing, we wander a bit and take in the side streets of the area.
The tourists in town continue their unabated wandering as the sun begins to set and the lights of the city start coming on. We walk back to where we are parked and pick a very traditional Brussels brasserie nearby for our dinner. We arrive at about 7 p.m. and are the first customers. We have a simple, wonderful meal made even better by the extraordinary service we receive from the staff. Impeccable! Our drive home is happily uneventful, the fateful, morning fog completely gone at this point.
As we drive into Gent, wispy clouds of low-lying evening fog start to roll in and across the canals, welcoming us home.