Birthday!

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We checked out of the hotel – me with the hangover from hell. Although how that happened on one small glass of wine I really can’t tell! We walked through the European parliament area – and appreciated the statues that our taxes have paid for.

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I love this one.

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Glimpse of old Brussels through the skyscrapers.

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Glimpse of woman trying not to be sick.

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Older statues, and then into the magnificent Parc du cinquantaire..

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They were setting up for the Brussels marathon – but my man beat them all.

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I sat in the park for a while – looking much like the woman above – and then we went and bought some stodge and juice for medicinal purposes. Very nice it was too.

We walked back into the centre – stopping for a drink outside a cafe – the first one we sat outside was in the full blast of the sun – so we walked round the corner and found a shady street where I had milkshake and icecream (still working on the hangover) We watched small boys mending a cycle very expertly.

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I love Brussels – a really dowdy shop – but with gorgeous tiles above the windows.

These gentlemen have replaced the birds nest on the boulevard de waterloo.

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Down through the park with Pan,

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Past a rather thuggish cherub

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and through the Botanic gardens – where we saw a rowdy wedding party driving by.

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We arrived at the Crowne Plaza – nice room but not a patch on the one we had last time we stayed there. Still, as it was on points and we hadn’t paid a penny couldn’t really grumble.

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And they had left drugs on the pillow.

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We went out to buy Drink and other provisions – and were met with a crowd demonstrating their joy at our visit.

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Phil striding through the beautiful foyer. We had a drink and something to eat – then set out again for St Catherines Square – where there was dancing in a big tent!

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There was lindy hop – we had an attempt – but didn’t last long against the experts. Who included the lady (?) almost wearing the blue swimming costume masquerading as a dress. (Miaow)

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This girl had a huge amount of fun.

After the lindy hop a couple came out to teach jive – they were fast. We did try – but very difficult in a crowded tent in a foreign language.

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We went out and had a drink of palm d’or in the square – I was upset because my favourite waiter must have got a proper job.

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We walked back to the hotel

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Did a bit of tidying up on the way!

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Elegance in a box.

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The trad jazz men were there again – and we managed to get a table.

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We drank leffe – not funny drinks – however much cannabis they put in them. Although the glasses they served the drinks in made you believe that you might have had a bit too much!

To Brussels.

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Good view of Charles’ horse on the way out.

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Luckily we were going in the right direction

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Into Belgium – for some strange reason they call it Belgie. There’s foreigners for you.

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Who could resist Plopsaland?

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Well, every year we drive past the picturesque Belgian roundabout,

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down the picturesque Belgian street,

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And buy diesel opposite the picturesque restaurant, but we have never yet visited Plopsaland. One day.

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The gnome waving us goodbye, we drove straight on to Brussels, and parked the car in a side street on the outskirts of the town. It was quite a hike in.

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The temptation to call this picture ‘Two arses’ is almost irresistable –but I will resist. This is my beloved husband and a horses bottom.

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Parking for the cult – wonder which one?

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Wonder if they thought Fred was a exotic, arty name? Also wonder if he does tripe installations?

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Bliss. Grimbergen, brune et blonde.

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Man – find hotel!

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Hotel found!

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Architecture – old and new. The new – above – is just behind the hotel.

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The old – Place Royale.

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Modern art – I like this one – near to the Old England building, and overlooking the steps down to these gardens, with the view over Mont de Coeur – or Mont des Artes – or somewhere = Phil is sitting next to me with a map book and can’t quite make his mind up.

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Don’t jump! Above the Gare Centrale.

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Very beautiful – apart from the fag ends sprinkled around.

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One day I will pleach him into a row of trees.

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A dawg of indiscriminate variety.

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Very clever water – just scraping over the concrete humps. Boulevard de l’Imperatrice. If I ever have another daughter I will call her Imperatrice.

Then to one of our favourite restaurants – le Vieux Bruxelles. (trying to sound as if our other favourite restaurants aren’t all in Disneyland)

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I had MEAT.

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Phil looking as if he isn’t quite sure what he ordered. He says it was waterzoi – none the wiser.

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Chocolate mousse. Of the best, most delicious, dark, velvety richness.

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Sky!

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View of the Grande Place from a bar.

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View of a beermat in the bar.

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View of a woman proving why I usually hold the camera.

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Rooftops around the Grande Place (Phil is just looking at the map to see which side – it was the North)

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Lots of excited people jigging around to the Pease Project. They took ages to warm up – but eventually they swung into awesome averageness.

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The jigging around and the encore shouting was great fun, though.

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Spectacular.

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Walking home through the dark streets

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Tram lines stretching into the night.

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Some magnificent building lit up – probably the Palais Royale but I was rather drunk by now and quite possibly seeing two of it.

Flying home.

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We finally threw away the faithful orange juice bottle,

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and Phil reluctantly took the keys back.

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This park was right next to the apartment – evidently it is totally made out of chocolate. Or what passes for chocolate in the States.

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Pretty bridges!

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Oh – look – a battlefield – what a good place for a campsite.

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We drove a short distance into the Gettysburg battlefield – just far enough to be tantalised – but Phil was getting a bit worried about catching the plane- so we extricated ourselves from the one way drive round by a nifty 3 point turn back onto the road, after taking these pictures. Made use of the loo in the visitor centre but was dragged away from the bookshop! Probably a good thing!

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10th Massachusetts memorial.

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Last glimpses of small town America on this trip.

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and the last traffic jam – but we got there in time and said the second sad farewell of the day. this time to our lovely little red car – and I didn’t get a farewell photo!

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Baltimore airport is quiet –meaning that there wasn’t a great choice for anywhere to sit and wait – but we had a drink before we went airside – and then a very expensive snack before we flew.

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We meant to go for a bike ride…

…but after slogging around Williamsburg and finding that the friendly bike hire shop from our last visit had moved out of town, the next nearest was closed, and the bike hire at the very posh beauty salon cost very posh beauty salon prices – we decided to lounge next to the pool.

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Boredom rapidly set in, and we drove down to Yorktown.

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Where we spent a beautiful late afternoon looking at houses we would like to live in.

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