To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Eurotrip 2006 Bruxelles

a story in 3 unequal parts

The fish market

20 years ago when latimer and I first arrived in Bruxelles, the guy at the Hertz checkout , who in a previous life had worked at the tourist office, recommended that we ate in the Fishmarket area. So we drove into town, negotiated the infamous ring road and hit the "market".After 2 laps we had identified the busiest "brown cafe". Come back at 11:30 they said!!Right ho says us as off down the road for a Weiss beer or three we went At 10:30 we represented ourselves for a magnificent traditional meal of mussels and chips only to discover that we had depleted our reserves of Belgium Francs in the pub.(this was pre Eurodays) restitution was made as follows: we emptied our wallets of various currencies; The waitress consolidated and shouted across to the bar man (in best fish market manner) how much in which currency; He consulted the rate table in daily paper, did a calculation and shoulted back belgium franc equivalentThis was repeated till she had collected enough to cover the bill at which point she thanked us and bowed to the other diners who had been enthrawled by the "theatre". We left vowing to returnas indded we did.

There was a hotel over the road billing itself as the smallest hotel in Bruxelles.(click image) We took its number and arranged to stay there on our next visit. It had 6 rooms of which only the 2 corner one were sizable whilst the others were in the "couldn't swing a cat class" (they were however still larger than a hotel room I once stayed in in Sheperton .. but that's another story). Subsequently when we had a 'propsect' to visit in Bruxelles it became part of the qualification process to confirm both "large" rooms were available before committing to visit etc.

I am ashamed to admit that although we visited frequently we never saw any more of the city other than the prospects premises and tantalizing glimpses as we popped off of the ring road most of which I seem to remember was an underground rat run. This trip was therefore gave the opportunitity to made amends. Although I would have stayed at the same Hotel, we discovered that it had been boutiqued with an oriental theme and expanded into neighbouring premises down the side road. Since we get the authentic orient every time we step outside we decided to stay round the corner at the inexpensive Noga, which has a distinct Belgian character (Congo, Tin Tin etc), serves an excellent breakfast and knew where to buy a set of "boules" What more could you ask for !!

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