Does this video clip of us in Belgium this weekend make anything I have to say on the subject completely redundant?
See, Mum, Dad, Clare and me on a humungous big wheel, part of the Plaisers d'Hiver festival type affair that was going in Brussels this weekend. I hastily agreed to go on this thing to get out of going ice skating (there were also rinks set up, along with millions of stalls and other entertainments) and then remembered how much I don't like such rides. Man alive it was high. Not as high as the London Eye, which I don't mind at all, but smaller and more travelling-fairground, hmm.
Brussels was great. Mum and Dad came over on Friday night, I cooked them chilli and we had a quiet night in ready for an early start Saturday morning. We were meant to be on the <a href="http://www.eurotunnel.com Eurotunnel]] about 9am, but there were earlier cancellations so we had a bit of an annoying delay, just like the last time we tried to take the tunnel actually. The drive the other side went quite smoothly, until we hit Brussels" title="Pretty sure this was the guide book we had with us, well an older version">itself, I don't recommend trying to drive around there. The sat-nav mostly kept up, except when we went under the big old tunnels that cut through the cities. It's mostly true what they say, everyone drives like a mental out there and they don't make any allowances for tourists, but no-one rammed us or anything, we didn't see any road rage at all.
The one thing I was a bit concerned about was parking at our hotel, there was none, the websites suggests using "public parking". Thought this might be expensive, but we dumped the car in a nearby underground multi storey and it only came to about a tenner for the whole weekend. The hotel was great, great location (I think [[http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=novotel&sll=50.846198,4.355073&sspn=0.000771,0.002119&ie=UTF8&ll=50.84677,4.355409&spn=0.000771,0.002119&t=h&z=19&om=1 this map is centred on the hotel, it's not exactly where the red pin is) just off "Grand Place", which is like Leicester Square there.
The beer was good, found a particularly great pub called [google=brussels delerium cafe]Delerium Cafe / Bar[/google] with 2000 beers on in the huge Jalehouse / Frog and Frigate style mass of bodies downstairs, and probably about twenty on draught upstairs. I liked it there.
Food was quite good too, would probably be fantastic if you ate more than I did, there are huge displays of seafood and the like everywhere, though we stuck to Italian. (If you're reading this and you don't know me, I'm a vegan, it's no slur on the menus of Brussels).
Shopping also great, there are lots of great looking places in Brussels, saw quite a few things I'd like but didn't want to be too laden down with stuff. Stopped off at Cit Europe on the way back and stocked up on mustard and wine and a few spirits for Christmas. Home in time for a Chinese takeaway and bed, and back to work again yesterday morning. Still, very very nice weekend while it lasted, nice to spend some time with my folks where we're all mostly just relaxing.
Strange side note britishcornershop.co.uk is the number one [google=maille mustard]google result[/google] for Maille mustard. It's not English, and though I love it I really try not to buy it here as it's about 1/4 of the price in France. I only brought five jars back this time as that's probably as much as I can eat within the best-before date. Maybe there's some money to be made in importing this stuff... Phil Vickery also writes about it, I thinkI've mentioned him before, possibly he's from Folkestone.
Time to go to work, I'll upload the pictures later, but if you've still not had enough, here's a clip of an interesting merry go round I saw:
more details in the pictures, coming later.