Contiki Day 1 - London to Brussels

Brussels Travel Blog

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White cliffs of dover in the background

We woke up at 6am and went downstairs to get our bags weighed. On Contiki, your luggage cannot weigh more than 20kgs, and the rule is strictly enforced.  The night before I had to shove a few items in my bus bag as my luggage was 26kgs when leaving Sydney (I know now I shouldnt have brought that much!). Luckily my bag weighed in at just on 20kgs and I was free to go! Next thing I know Bree and I heard someone yell out "European Impressions this way!" Turns out it was our bus driver, Magoo, coming to get us!

We put our bags in the coach and hopped on the bus. We then found out that out tour manager would be meeting us in Calais, France, as he was finishing off another tour.

We began our drive toward the White Cliffs of Dover where we were to catch the ferry across the France.

some old buildings in Brussels
The White Cliffs were really impressive. We watched the cliffs disappear and then went inside and sat down, the ferry was pretty rocky and it felt like I was walking sideways.

We reached Calais, France and got our passport stamped, Yay! Back on the bus and we were headed to Brussels.  We met our tour manager JB, and as we continued along to Brussels, he gave us a background on some of the places we were going to see as well as a summary of out trip, "European Impressions". JB Basically said that we had booked a "budget trip" and do not expect good hotels and always expect to eat ham and cheese rolls for breakfast!

We reached Brussels in the late afternoon and JB walked us into the city centre.

Waffles...mmmmmm
  Within 5 minutes almost half the group was already lost as JB walked through some market places.  Luckily, we caught up with him and again and we made it to the main square in one shape.  We basically had one hour to look around the area before having to meet back in the square and hop back on the bus.  The first thing Bree and I wanted to see was the famous Mannekin Pis.  We were hoping it would be dressed up today as we had heard that sometimes the locals dress the statue in cute little outfits.  We followed the signs with anticipation and finally came across the Mannekin Pis. It was one of the smallest statues I had seen and was raised behind a fence.  It was ok, but not as impressive as I had hoped.  Oh well, it was something we had to see and we were able to cross it off our list.
Me and Bree excited!

Next stop....waffles!!! We found this busy waffle shop and we figured that this must be one of the best, so we paid our 5 euro and bought a gigantic waffle.  Bree and I both got waffles with whipped cream, strawberries, coated with melted chocolate. The best ever! It was so massivie though and we couldn't eat it all.

We walked around a little more, at the markets and shops before meeting up with the rest of the tour and onto the bus. Magoo then drove us to our hotel which was a little out of the city centre, as most of our hotels would be for the rest of the trip. The hotel was actually ok.  When JB said expect the worst, I really did, but it was definitely ok for one night. We got changed and went down for dinner, which consisted of boiled chicken and some peas (well I think that is what they were!) and I think we had a salad as well. Tonight we sat with Shiv and Mim, Ryan and Cathy.  All really nice people and Ryan shouted us all a drink, good stuff!!

After dinner we went for a walk with Shiv and Mim.  We went out at 10pm and it was still broad daylight! It was really strange because it felt like the afternoon! We walked around for an hour and then Bree and I decided to go to bed as we were well and truly buggered, and we had Amsterdam the next day. The first day of contiki was pretty uneventful, but really good!

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White cliffs of dover in the backg…
White cliffs of dover in the back…
some old buildings in Brussels
some old buildings in Brussels
Waffles...mmmmmm
Waffles...mmmmmm
Me and Bree excited!
Me and Bree excited!
Our hotel room
Our hotel room
Brussels
photo by: Vlindeke