The morning of the 24th of April was very hard. It was the dawn of our last day of the tour. I had been hanging around with all these lovely people for sixteen days. I could have done with 16 more. We left our hostel, making our way through the quiet streets as we headed for where the bus was parked waiting for us.
As we walked to the bus we passed the small Fiat 500 that we had passed on our way to our hostel the first time. I stopped and grabbed a photo of the cute little thing. Tiny old Fiats always makes me think of Oh Happy Day's red fiat. I really enjoy her blog for party and life inspirations.
As we boarded the bus we settled down and waved goodbye to Amsterdam. I promised it and its canals that I would be back soon. I was not done with this city. As we headed away from the city and made our way through the Netherlands, we got a surprise from our leader Betti when she handed each of us a package of stroopwafels. Stroopwafels are amazing! They are basically two thin wafers with caramel inside of them. I found some at the local Tesco so now can enjoy them any time I want but if you have a chance to buy them, do! They are very tasty.
This present of the stroopwafels was a surprise and thats one of the reasons I enjoyed my topdeck tour. I never expected to be given anything on our long bus days. I am not sure if it was just our guide as I have never been on one of their tours before but it was always a nice surprise to get things. Like the Easter bunny cause it was Easter, obviously and the Amperman from Berlin. We got cookies and chocolate bars to eat. It was just a very nice touch to everything. I have my red Amperman on my house keys so I think about the tour a lot when I see it.
We headed from the Netherlands into Belgium. My last new country of the trip. I hope to get back and explore the country a bit more as I've heard lots of the cities are very interesting but I guess that could be said about any country in Europe. It has cities. They are exciting. I need to go to them. Our one and only stop in Belgium would be the city of Bruges. Bruges has always been on my list of cities to visit due to the movie In Bruges with Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It's one of my favourite films.
One of the main attractions in Bruges is the Belfry, the medieval bell tower. You can access the top of the tower by climbing 366 steep steps. The building is 83 meters high and leans about a metre to the East. It was added to the market square in 1240. After a fire in 1280, the tower was mostly rebuilt. I really wanted to climb the tower but the line up to get inside was quite long so I will just have to come back to Bruges. Maybe on my next trip to Amsterdam.
In lieu of going up the tower I headed through the market square and through the streets window shopping. I stopped in Käthe Wohlfahrt a Christmas store that sells traditional German ornaments. I think they were at the Christmas market in Vancouver the last year that I went. They had a lot of nutcrackers so I took a photo with my sister's mother in law Carol in mind. She's a big fan and collector of nutcrackers.
With my time ticking by quickly, I headed to go sample Belgium fries. Belgium claims that fries originated in Belgium and not in France. All I know is that they are mostly the same no matter where you get them. My experience with Belgium fries though is that if you get the fries with ketchup, you get ketchup with a side of fries. I ate as much as I could handle but a lot of the fries went to waste as they were just coated in the ketchup.
After finishing off as many fries as I could, I found this little deer/goat thing in the window of a shop. Quite disturbing. After finding a gelato shop, I spent all my remaining Euros on the largest ice cream they had and headed back to the main market square to meet up with the group. Enjoying the ice cream as I looked up at the Belfry wishing I had been able to climb it.
In order to get back to the bus, we had to walk a little further away from the market square and we passed this nice little park area. Waiting for the bus, we said our goodbyes to some of the group who were remaining behind as they did not want to leave the Schengen zone and enter the UK. It was a bit sad to leave them on the side of the road with their bags as we headed off to Calais, France where our majestic ferry awaited to take us across the Channel into the UK.