Quick Trip to Brugge!

I'm a big fan of on the whim travel, but unfortunately it's inherently difficult; this weekend was different! It was my job to conjure up an activity. After about an hour staring a Google Maps I decided that somewhere in Europe was definitely a good idea. Luckily, the ferries were extra cheap and we already had some funny money in our pockets!

This is me and Victoria on the poop deck waiting to leave Dover. There were quite a lot (literally thousands) of French students also on the poop desk.

Now, I may have told a bit of a fib when Victoria asked me if I had ever driven abroad. Never have I driven abroad apart from that one time in Spain when I shouldn't really have been driving at all, let alone in Spain. Needless to say, after a hilarious first 5 mins of being on the wrong side of the road it all kind of made sense. The drive to Brugge was about an hour from Calais and it's basically on the one road, which is nice and easy. Small factoid: That road (the E40) is the longest route in Europe and goes all the way to Kazakhstan.

Luckily, we managed to find the exit before arriving in Kazakhstan. There was a bit of a fumble when trying to find the car park, but I stuck to my manly instincts and proved that the way I wanted to go, was indeed correct! The car park even had the little LED lights to say if the space is free. Above is us standing in the Markt Square, which is basically the center of Brugge. It's a beautiful square which resembles Brussels very much.

This is the famous Belfry tower in Markt, it was originally build in 1240 - which makes it super old. I'm trying to hold the camera in a weird way to get the whole thing in, I didn't manage.

After Markt we found a wonderful beer shop which was selling all the beers of Belgium! I decided that it would be a great idea to by them now, encase the shop closed for the day. This was not my wisest decision as I had to carry them around for the whole day, Still, hopefully they will taste even better when it comes to drinking time.

A while later we were wandering around when about a hundred horse(s?) and carts passed us in the street. It was very exciting, although we were rather confused, none of the carts had anything on them, they had a police escort and a car dedicated to picking up poop. I guess it must be a tourist thing.

Found a windmill, which apparently still works. http://youtu.be/PmDVHs-juPo

After a long day of wandering around we found a place by the canal and had some dinner. The service was terrible, the food was actually okay - trip adviser reviews were not good. Still, it was nice and relaxing! Victoria had lamb cutlets and I had Mussels and Chips (which is a thing).

It was a very long day but we can't wait to go back. :)

Ramsgate Lifeboat Station

This was kind of a good birthday. It's not often that it falls on a Saturday, and even less often that is is followed by plenty of annual leave. This birthday @tigziefc and I went to Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Broadstairs was lovely, we had a quick go on the penny pushers and even won a prize from the tickets! After that we got to see two lifeboats! bembridge_lifeboat_selfie_c

Above is the the oldest Mersey class lifeboat still in service with the RNLI RNLB Peggy and Alex Caird (ON 1124, Op. No. 12-001). She was last briefly stationed at Dungeness as a relief vessel while their lifeboat had some work performed in Ramsgate. Prior to being stationed at Dungeness she was stationed at Bembridge between 2009-2011 while a new station was constructed for their Tamar class vessel. It's not clear why she was out of the water in Ramsgate, although presumably she is waiting for her next relief assignment, perhaps undergoing some maintenance.

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Above is Ramsgate Lifeboat Station. RNLB Esme Anderson (ON 1197, Op. No. 14-02) can be seen in the water, she is a Trent class vessel which has been stationed at Ramsgate since her construction in 1994. A blue davit can be seen at station level which is used to launch Ramsgate's inshore lifeboat Bob Turnbull (ON B-765) a Atlantic-75 class rigid inflatable. rnlb_peggy_alex_caird_c

Brands on a Whim

Wasn't sure what to do this weekend, @tigziefc was working and I was looking after my little brother... I spent ages looking online and racking my brain for fun things to do - then in a sudden moment of inspiration I realised Brands Hatch is where it's at. I didn't really check the website before we headed over on Sunday, other than to make sure it wasn't insanely expensive. Turns out... motorbike racing was on!brands_small

The weather was awful. It was freezing and raining and hailing (see below video). I foolishly decided wearing shorts would be appropriate - wrong.

Anyway, aside from the weather and the fact we were basically the only people there it was really good! We saw maybe 10 races, some of which were qualifying sessions and others which were full on races. There was a good mix of different bikes and riders, some of whom were awesome and others who clearly weren't!

brands_small_bikes

We also saw two guys have pretty bad falls at Graham Hill Bend, both in separate sessions, one in the dry and one in the wet. The first chap was clearly in a bad way and was flailing all over the place in pain. This is when I relaised I had made the correct choice in bothers' day out!

Chichen Itza, Mexico

the_first_wonder
the_first_wonder

Went to visit one of the wonders of the modern world today. Been looking forward to this for a while, and it was basically one of the selling points of this holiday, since I can only sit in the sun for so long. The trip to Chichen Itza involved a 3 hour long coach drive, it probably would have only taken one hour is we hadn't stopped so many times along the way... Grumble as I may it was also the best coach journey I've ever been on since there was a guy serving free beer.

The wonder was pretty good, once we got past wave after wave of people trying to sell us their crap - even the tour guide was trying to flog us 'maya' gold. It was actually fairly large, despite my rather loud announcement to the group that I expected it to be bigger. Disappointingly you're not allowed to climb up it any more which was the first thing I wanted to do. There were no security people that could have hindered a sneaky climb but since everyone in Meixco has guns I decided against it. Despite the very real possibility of death I did manage to surmount the security rope for some other piece of ruin while Victoria took a picture. On our later perusal of the pictures we agreed that it is definitely an ancient loo - very exciting!

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the_maya_loo

After the wonder we went to a sink-hole for some swimming which was amazingly cool. The sink-hole was in the middle of the jungle, luckily somebody had built a road to it and a platform on which we could swim from. The sink hole was apparently part of an underground river, all I know is that it was the deepest thing I've ever swum in. I later reflected that swimming in what is essentially a large puddle with no filtration system may mean that I now have some kind of a disease. If I didn't get a disease from the swimming I most certainly did from the dodgy-as buffet. "All you can eat" read: "All you dare to eat" "TIPS! Please senor, tips, tips".

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mexico_sink_hole

Following the swimming we went to a town with an old church and conveniently parked right outside a shop. I bought some tequila that has a worm inside - I don't intend to drink it.