Thursday, 14 January 2010

Bruges mini cruise photos

For years I have longed to go on a cruise. Long sunny days and dreamy, balmy evenings - the sussuration of the waves, the clinking of ice in glasses, perhaps a little dancing ... oh, yes, for years I've had this dream.

My brother retired last year, and took off on a cruise over Christmas to celebrate it. He returned and, after telling me how much he's enjoyed it, he told me in no uncertain terms that a cruise would drive me mad and give me several migraines. I love my brother:)

No, to be fair, he was warning me "for my own good". He knows that a buzzing fluorescent tube, a whining fridge, the ticking of a clock, anything like that, can bring on a migraine, and he didn't want me to waste my money and be disappointed.

So, for quite a while now, I've been on the look out for a "mini-cruise" to go on, so that I could get a feel for it, but with the knowledge that it would soon be over if it was unsuccessful. Shortly before Christmas I was on a cash-back website when I spied just such a thing - what's more, it was a BOFOF offer - music to my ears!!!

Last weekend we drove across to Hull to board The Pride of York on a voyage to Zeebrugge, then on to Bruges. We would spend Sunday evening and night on board, be driven into Bruges on Monday morning, be collected again late Monday afternoon, and spend Monday evening and night on board, waking up back in Hull early Tuesday morning.

We set off in plently of time to allow for problems with the dreaded white stuff on the roads, but arrived safely in Hull with no mishaps. We ate an early meal in a lovely Indian restaurant, then off to the port to park the car and board our floating hotel.

I'm vegan, David's almost, plus, annoyingly, I'm allergic to wheat. To counter the problems we foresaw with eating, we packed a small suitcase with: a full size kettle, two baguettes, two packs of wheat-free crackers, four avocados, a punnet of tomatoes, four pears, three apples, countless satsumas, several packets of crisps and hoops, a bag of roasted peanuts, plenty of tea bags and sachets of instant coffee, and half a dozen cans of energy drinks (it's still so near to Christmas that I want to add "and a partridge in a pear tree, but I won't, I promise!!)

Anyway ... we trundled our luggage along to our outside cabin, and set up home. That evening we punished ourselves listening to an abysmal person playing the piano and singing for half an hour - sincerely believing he would improve.
He didn't, so we absconded from the bar on our blue level, and descended to the red level, where a guy with a slightly better voice was strumming his electric guitar along to a recorded sound track. This was jollier, so we stayed, playing cards until about ten, by which time I was feeling slightly queasy.

The sea was rolling quite a lot, but I wasn't sure whether to blame that or the flat diet Coke I'd bought at the bar. Whatever it was, I didn't eat, but went to bed, and slept pretty well. Next morning we discovered that we'd sailed through force 8 gales!!! So I think I can handle a cruise :)

Bruges was cold. They had had snow and ice, and the canal was frozen in several places - sufficiently so that we witnessed several brave, or foolhardy, people standing on it. I could have walked for many more hours taking photos of the beautiful architecture if it had been warmer. As it was, my fingers were painfully cold, but it was worth it, and I want to return in warmer weather to enjoy it again.

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