• A month in Europe

    Then we saw Europe, well Funchal, Madeira to be exact. After 15 days at sea any land was a welcome sight.

    That was 21 years ago. I spent two summers working on a cruise ship going all over Europe, did over 100 tours and saw a lot of countries.

    Fast forward to my brother getting a job in Belgium, off we go to visit. Little did we know things have changed a bit. Well it’s the same sights, but there is just a few more people looking at them with you.

    Belgium, Manneken Pis

    This was nothing, how about this line for the Eiffel Tower. When we were down there it was 1/2 that and we waited three hours. As people have to leave for others to go up. It was so packed. Can you see the glass wall, it’s all around the tower. We went threw two “airport” security checks to get in.

    In Paris, when we went into a decent shopping mall, we also got searched. Everyone does, just part of post-terrorism Europe.

    Eiffel Tower line to climb up the stairs. The Elevator line is just as long.

    In any location that is on a “tourist map” it’s crazy packed with people. We drove 1600km, as that’s what Canadian’s do. We would drive through small town, and it was like the zombies had taken everyone away. It was just so strange to not see any people.

    Need a beer, or 400?
    Jungfraujoch, the top of Europe

    Jungfraujoch, was a highlight. We took a 7 km train inside the mountain and wound our way up to the top. There are several tunnels and viewing platforms. This picture is taken from the Glacier up to the building.

    In Switzerland we spent $1100 Canadian for a 4 day rail pass. Our daughter was $30 of that, basically kids travel free. But we got to go to this place and 4 other crazy, fantastic mountain tops.

    Flanders Field, the entrance to the “Hospital”

    We went to Waterloo and saw the battle that ended Napoleon’s attempt to regain control of France and likely Europe. I was surprised to learn how a 72 year old Prussian General Blücher, made the difference and sealed Napoleons fate.

    Then we went to Flanders Fields and saw the poppy’s row on row. Both are very moving places. As I looked over the surrounding fields of corn. It is hard to imagine thousands and thousands of people died on that land.

    The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a war memorial in Ypres, Belgium, (close to Flanders Field) that has gone on every night at 8 pm, since 1928! Our night had a marching band, a 100+ Canadian Scouts and likely a thousand other tourists.

    It is really something to see how much dedication that town has to honoring the war dead. But I guess that part of Belgium has seen a lot of wars.

    Museum of Natural History

    We did a lot of museums and several of the Natural History ones had displays like this. Some where all marine animals, HUGE whales etc.

    Most museums in London were free! We did see several, but we got a “London Pass” which pre-paid for a lot of sights and did we do our best to max that thing out.

    Le mur des je t’aime , the wall of love

    Apparently there are 250 ways to say I love you, or at least that many languages. This is a wall in Paris, with each language written once.

    The Louvre, Paris

    We had a good time. I would suggest YOU NEVER, EVER, EVER GO IN THE SUMMER!

    But if you do, take a moment to look past the crowds and see the beauty of Europe. It’s pretty nice.