Danielle and Co travels

I love to travel and experience new things. I enjoy holidaying with family and friends and am up for new adventures.
Living in: Melbourne, Australia
  • Day31

    The Journey Home

    July 25 in Australia

    I started this journey on the 24th but finished it at 9.30pm on the 25th. I left Paulette's at 7am and had a fairly quick drive to the airport, I had a very nice taxi driver who pointed out some of the interesting things on the way. As a result of the terrorist attack at Brussels airport a couple of years ago security has been tightened. Taxis and cars have to drop off about 300 metres from the terminal. Then you have to walk along with everyone else to the terminal - as vacation time has commenced in Europe it was very crowded. I made my way up to departures and was surprised to find I was the only passenger wanting to check in at this time, so as you can imagine check-in was very fast. I then had to make my way through security - probably the easiest so far. Once through I then had to clear customs and then went to the BA lounge. I had a fair amount of time so I had some breakfast and a couple of coffees and before I knew it boarding had commenced.

    The flight was on time and uneventful, I sat next to a women who was off to Portland Oregon to attend the wedding of a friend who had fallen in love with an American guy. She said it was going to be a Quaker Wedding - so no electricity and so she was looking forward to something different.

    Arrived at Heathrow, had to clear customs, collect my luggage and take the train one stop to Terminal 5 and check-in for my flight to Melbourne via Perth. Once again check-in was quick and easy. Then I had to go through security which was an absolute dog's breakfast. It took forever and because I forgot to put a gloss stick and a small sanitiser thing I got from CSIRO my bag was pulled aside with a bunch of others as we waited to be called up and asked to open everything. I couldn't believe they had an issue with lipgloss.

    Finally got through security and then found the new QANTAS Club Lounge and Gin Bar, where I had the chance to relax and eat again! I ran into a colleague in the Lounge who was returning from 5 weeks leave in Italy and the UK. We boarded on time and agreed to meet in the Perth Lounge for a drink.

    Once on board and settled I got talking to a lovely couple from Dubbo who have just started increasing their travel as their youngest has finished University and found a job. There was a family of 5 that had been in Premium on the way over who were also returning to Melbourne. One of their kids who is about 3 was sitting behind me and was incessantly kicking my seat, I gave it a few minutes, but it just continued so I had to ask the parents to have him stop. They did and he stopped for a while but then started again, this time his Dad caught him doing it and told him to stop, which he initially did but soon started again! His Dad saw him do it again so told him he would have to move to the seat next to him. Zac did not like this suggestion and so threw an unbelievable tantrum - to the point that his parents were getting quite embarrassed and so his Mum took him up to the toilet area to read him the riot act, when she returned with him he was quiet and sat with his Dad without a whimper. About an hour later he had fallen asleep and stayed asleep for about 14 hours which was great for everyone.

    Got to Perth a little ahead of schedule, was fortunate to snag a shower as soon as I got to the club which was the best thing ever. The water was lovely and warm and it was so soft compared to Europe. After my shower and change of clothes I met Tim in the lounge for a chat and a drink and before you knew it, it was time to re-board the plan for the final leg. Premium Economy only had about 10 passengers so we were well attended to (normally there are 30). The flight home was only 2.5 hours instead of 4 which meant we landed by 8.

    The arrival hall wasn't too busy and the longest wait was for the luggage to arrive, so I had another chat with Tim. Bags arrived and I went straight through and Heidi was waiting for me and we were home just after 9.30am.

    The holiday was brilliant with some amazing memories made with Ian and Angus. I especially enjoyed catching up with family and I am glad I had an extra week to see the Pleysier and Mouchette families.
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  • Day29

    Lunch with Paulette

    July 23 in Belgium

    We have just returned from a wonderful lunch at a local restaurant called Nostra Culinair Huis. We were given an amuse bouche of Gazpacho which was a lovely start followed by Chateaubriand with mushroom sauce, pommies frites and a salad followed by palette de sorbet - passion fruit, lemon and raspberry - a perfect dessert on such a warm day! Of course we had a bottle of rosé to accompany our meal from the south of France.

    It was over 30 degrees as we were returning to her house and now I just feel like a siesta!

    I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening getting organised for my trip home in the morning. Had a little supper (because my aunt insisted) about 9pm of some bread and cheese with a glass of wine. Finished packing and headed off to bed about 11pm - it is really warm tonight with no breeze so I am fortunate I was able to use the fan which allowed me to get a pretty decent sleep.
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  • Day29

    Last full day in Brussels

    July 23 in Belgium

    This is my last full day in Brussels and so I am hanging out with my aunt Paulette who is also my godmother. Paulette has recently turned 86 and is in very good shape, she lives alone in the family home with a swimming pool and she swims everyday and keeps the house, her grandson Stephan helps keep the large grounds under control. Last night she cooked me a delicious meal - rack of lamb, roast potatoes, tomatoes Provençal, green beans and a salad and then strawberries for dessert, and of course wine ( rosé ) to accompany the meal. I had a pretty good sleep last night but it is still very warm in Brussels - today it is about 30 degrees with it climbing up as the week progresses. I will be departing early tomorrow morning as I first have to fly to Heathrow where I will catch my flight back to Melbourne.

    For lunch today I am taking my aunt to a lovely Italian restaurant in the next village, it is important for me to spoil her as she has done this for me many times over the years and also, I don’t know if I will have the opportunity to see her again, hopefully I will, but you never know.
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  • Day28

    Brussels to see the sights

    July 22 in Belgium

    We headed off to see the sights of Brussels late morning. We went via Paulette’s place so that I could drop my luggage off as I will be staying with Paulette for a couple of nights before I head home early Tuesday morning. Paulette is pretty close to the airport so much easier to get a taxi from here. The centre of Brussels was very quiet and uncrowded when we got there which was pleasing for us. Once we parked the car we decided to look for a place to have lunch and settled on an Italian Restaurant called Italian Sun. We both ordered pizza and of course we also had a carafe of rosé, a very nice wine in this warm weather. The pizza was delicious one of the best I have had for some time, Brigitte was also very happy with her choice. After lunch we walked through some lovely narrow streets and we must have passed about 50 Chocolate stores they were everywhere. We then headed to the Grand Place that was as lovely as I remembered but even Better in the sunshine and it also looked like the buildings had been recently cleaned. I am so glad I had the chance to come to the centre of this lovely city.

    We then headed out to Paulette’s place where we caught up with Nathalie and her family. Brigitte had brought over the Sticky Date Pudding and we had that for afternoon tea and it was a hit with everyone except for Sohan, Nathalie’s son. Sohan and his Dad played in the pool while we sat around talking and just relaxing (but no wine).

    I had to say goodbye to Brigitte which was a bit sad as we have had a wonderful week just hanging out, having fun and laughing a lot- and drinking a fair amount of wine! Brigitte said this is fine as we are on holidays.

    Tonight Paulette is cooking a rack of lamb, roast potatoes, stuffed tomatoes and green beans followed by a salad and then strawberries for dessert. Lucky I will only be here for a couple of days because if we ate like this all the time I would have to do about 30,000 steps not to gain weight!
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  • Day27

    We decided to wait until tomorrow to head in to the centre of Brussels, as today is a public holiday and the centre would be packed. This means I have had some free time to catch up on my blog. Over our holiday we have seen some very humorous and silly signs, so I decided to include them in the next couple of entries. Some are train station stops, restaurants, stores, and some are just signs that made us laugh!Read more

  • Day27

    Belgium's National Holiday

    July 21 in Belgium

    Today we had a bit of a relaxing day - everything was closed and more than 2 million people went to Brussels for all the celebrations. Brigitte and I had talked about going to Ghent and also about going into Brussels but Ghent currently has a Jazz Festival and it would be too crowded and so we decided to stay home and we will go to the City tomorrow. So this afternoon we made a sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce, Brigitte had never heard of this dish and was interested to try it out so Ian sent me the recipe and we made it. I can report that everyone except for Sohan loved it.

    Brigitte then made spaghetti sauce for our dinner. Not having much to do allowed me to catch up with my blog and get it nearly up to date. We had a lovely dinner last night and made plans to go to the city centre tomorrow so that I can see the Grand Place in summer.
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  • Day26

    Lunch with Family

    July 20 in Belgium

    Today we have been invited to have lunch at Gui and Geertje’s. We were due there at 12.30 pm but unfortunately, due to a big car accident, we again had to divert and take a different way to their place. My aunt Paulette and their daughter Lisa also attended, which was lovely. We had drinks out in the garden with nibbles, and then a Nigella Lawson pasta for lunch. We then had a traditional Belgian dessert - Cheese Tart - which was delicious. It was lovely to catch up with Gui and Geertje, as this was the only opportunity as they head off on holidays tomorrow. Lisa said she might be interested in travelling to Australia, so hopefully she will come in the next couple of years. Lisa has recently returned from 7 months in South America, so I think she has the travel bug like her younger brother Rob. We had a lovely afternoon, but it was all over too quickly - it was so nice to catch up with family.Read more

  • Day25

    Le Touquet - Paris Plage

    July 19 in Belgium

    We left Marquise and headed for Le Touquet - Paris Plage which is about 35kms away. Such a beautiful town, with lots of pedestrian only streets, beautiful architecture, lovely houses, shops and restaurants and it is by the sea. It reminds me of the south of France without the heat and crowds - a real little gem. Brigitte did remind me that in August it will be much busier as this is when the French and other Europeans traditionally take holidays.

    We discovered a sculpture exhibition dotted around the town called the Big Foot Family Collection by self-taught artist Aidan Zareski, an Israeli French guy who now lives in Miami. We loved his work, but unfortunately due to the cars and Brigitte’s injured calf muscle we couldn’t get to all of them.

    We then found this lovely store called Atelier where they make beautiful ceramics. It is a family business - the mother and father make the ceramics and their son sells it. They used to have a store in Sydney, but the business grew too quickly so they have reduced what they do.

    We then had lunch at a lovely crepe restaurant, and again had a 0.5 litre of rosé with the meal. I have become quite accustomed to a glass or two with meals these days!

    After lunch we walked around a bit more before heading back to Brussels. While we were still in France, Brigitte saw on her GPS a change of route notification telling us to get off the highway. Lucky we listened, as we heard later that day that there had been a huge accident that closed the highway in both directions for several hours. A van had changed lanes without indicating or looking, and ran a group of English motorcyclists off the road. One dead, one in a very serious condition, three others in hospital and another six or eight with minor injuries. The GPS then took us on this roundabout route, which meant we saw some more lovely small French villages before making our way back to the highway and getting back to Brussels. home. We arrived home about 7pm and had a quiet evening.
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