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Belgium

France, Belgium and Netherlands 2015 - Brussels Photos


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TravBuddy meetup at Nuëtnigenough, Brussels


View Nolan's Eleven Heaven meetups & Meet my TravBuddy friends - Rhea (rheagirl) & France, Belgium and Netherlands 2015 & Meet my TravBuddy friends - Cathy (cookiecandy22) on NT01's travel map.

DRAFT

TBs present: Kim (Pearl510), Steven (baliw-katok), Elise (lizzy1987)

Short (3 hour) but fun filled dinner meetup enjoying Belgian food plus a stroll to Grand Place at night before some crazy photos at Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert andKarel Buls fountain.

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France, Belgium and Netherlands 2015 - Brugge Photos


View Nolan's Eleven Heaven meetups & Meet my TravBuddy friends - Rhea (rheagirl) & France, Belgium and Netherlands 2015 & Meet my TravBuddy friends - Cathy (cookiecandy22) on NT01's travel map.

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Meeting baliw-katok at Lille, then off to Ieper


View Nolan's Eleven Heaven meetups & Meet my TravBuddy friends - Rhea (rheagirl) & France, Belgium and Netherlands 2015 & Meet my TravBuddy friends - Cathy (cookiecandy22) on NT01's travel map.

large_1840343_14234128514143.jpgMenin Gate Memorial to the Missing, IeperDRAFT

When I first planned for our Europe vacation, Belgium was top on the list together with France and Holland. Initially we considered Barcelona in Spain but it was too far for the return journey and we had to fly out of Brussels [Brussels-travel-guide-172536] for that to happen given the limited time.

And who else do Filipinos turn to when visiting a foreign country - of course, one of their own, not to mention a Belgian local who is married to one! In that case, those were Citadel (Cita) and our good TravBuddy friend, Steven (aka baliw-katok). I had met Steven and Cita first in April 2013 when they were visiting the Philippines for the Holy Week (Easter Holiday). While the original meetup that Cathy (cookiecandy22) organized was for April 1st, I couldn't join because I was vacationing in Leyte (Cita's province) and Cebu that time.large_1840343_14234128477252.jpgMenin Gate Memorial to the Missing, IeperSo I requested for another meetup date, and they gladly obliged with April 19, 2013. That date I remember very well because Cathy tasked me to organize the meetup and invite the others who also couldn't go during the first date for the meetup. And we got over 20 participants, and my passion for organizing TravBuddy meetups was born there. Thanks to Steven and Cita, and also Cathy.

So I asked Steven what to do and where to go in Belgium given the limited time we were there (2 nights). I had decided that I don't want to move from one city to another, so I booked a hotel in Brussels. But Brussels is not only the beatiful and historical site Belgium has. One is the town of Ieper [Ieper-travel-guide-175630], where Steven lives.large_1840343_14234128512189.jpg Ieper is also a historical battlefield during World War I, so there are many battle memorials and cemeteries there. Not to mention the spendid church and other buildings which was rebuilt so many times.

Steven suggested we meet in Lille, France because that is the nearest town where we could take the trains and head off to Ieper. A few weeks before our trip started I was able to book a promo on the TGV to Lille, and on first class even if I had only paid for second class fares! The TGV was my first high speed train experience in Europe, although I had experienced the Shinkansen in Osaka with Masayo back in May 2014. Boy do I love these trains! Very modern and efficient (how many times did I mention fast in my blogs), plus an appreciation of how Europeans manage to get around their towns and countries without having to endure security checks and check-in times way ahead of the flight.large_1840343_14234128484186.jpgMenin Gate Memorial to the Missing, IeperWith the trains, you had to be at the platform only a few minutes before the train is sceduled to leave.

So we took the TGV from Gare du Nord and just right on schedule, it arrived in Lille after a little over an hour. Even before I could look up at the sign and platform times, here comes this big guy with curly locks greeting me already - it was Steven! And Cita was upstairs above the platforms taking our photos. Talk about special treatment! I knew exactly what Ime (docime30) had said when she mentioned she had a great time with Steven and Cita when she visited Europe in June 2014 - except Ime was fetched by them at Brussels and not Lille, so she missed seing Bruges.

Once we got into the car and drove towards Lille, I had another view of the Belgian countryside aside from the trains - and this was better, completely with commentaries from both Steven and Cita. They brought us to the War Memorial in Ieper, the great church and other local buildings (many of which were rebuilt since Ieper was devastated during the world ward), and of course to Steven's shop! After walking around and talking photos, they were kind enough to treat us for lunch at a local restaurant (Au Miroir), were I got to taste some local dishes like stoemp.

After lunch we drove to Bruges, which was about an hour away.

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Posted by NT01 17:00 Archived in Belgium Comments (0)

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