Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Amsterdam - Ieper - London

   A June 2013 trip for work to Amsterdam.

I have planned added trips to Ieper in the Flanders region of Belgium, and London, England.  I decided to pack even lighter this time around so I'm using an iPad to post this blog, including the pictures.  The Blogger app is limited in that I haven't figured out how to edit the HTML to add anchors as with previous entries.


Day 1: Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Landed in Amsterdam today.   Didn't get much sleep on the plane and I'm really feeling it now.  I spent the day doing things I never got to do in my previous trips to Amsterdam.

Outside of my hotel, Hotel De L'Europe

Visited the Heineken brewery.

Had to have a beer!  It's part of the tour package.

Stopped for lunch and stayed with Heineken.

This house would be banned in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Old Fiat.

Day 2: Kortrijk, Belgium

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Today was a work day and travel day, so I didn't much looking around.  Took a boat tour of the canals in Amsterdam, then it was off to Kortrijk.

I took this picture at 10:20pm!  It was still light out in Belgium.

Day 3: Ieper, Belgium

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Spent the day visiting sites in Ieper (Ypres).

I had a VW Up!  A fun little car to throw around the Belgian countryside.

On the grounds around the Menin gate there is this monument to the Indian soldiers who died in WW1.
Click here for more info.

Canadian names on the Menin gate.

In Flanders Fields museum.

Ieper is a beautiful town.  Unfortunately, there was a rally race this weekend and the race teams took up the entire town square.  Pictures were hard to come by.

Random monument.

Cemetery for French soldiers.

Most of the graves at Tyne Cot were unnamed. 

There is a guestbook and pens inside this door.  I signed my name here and at Tyne Cot.

Westvleteren,  I came here to visit the Abbey of St. Sixtus to have lunch and drink the best rated beer in the world.   Unfortunately the cafe where the beer is sold was closed.  Not having an appt to buy beer, I was prepared to leave empty handed.  I met some Americans there who were in the same boat and got to talk to one of the monks.  He told us that gift packs may be available so we got in line and scored two samples of each beer!

St. Bernardus is rated the third best beer and it was only a fifteen minute drive from the Abbey.  

With 30 beers in tow, it was off to London!

Carrying all of this wasn't easy.  I had to transfer to the eurostar train in Lille which means walking a bit to reach the other station.  I had to stop a few times, but hustled at the same time as I didn't want to miss my connection.

Day 4: London, England

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The next few days will be very touristy.

Admiral Nelson in Trafalgar Square.

Bangers and Mash.

Buckingham Palace.  I used HDR which is why you see the shadows of moving objects.

I met William Wallace!

Day 5:  London, England 

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Today was spent walking around town with my hosts, Monica and Sumeet.  Took the subway to London bridge, had lunch and started walking.  Made our way from Tower bridge to some markets and then did an organized walking tour of the city called the Ghost tour.

Skinny building

The Pokemon type character has thrown something onto the car below.  This was at an art market just off of Brick lane.

The Cockpit was the place to go for cock fighting back in the day.

The tour guide telling stories.  He was very knowledgable and a great story teller.

There are gravestones in the courtyard of these houses.  The cemetery was raised and was actually used as a "plague pit".  There are thousands of bodies buried underneath.


Day 6: London, England

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Did another walking tour today in the Westminster area of London.

The bomb shelter signs still remain

The upside down cones were used to extinguish torches.

Day 7: London, England

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Took the train to Windsor today to visit Windsor Castle, the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.

A church in Windsor was flying the Canadian flag as it was Canada day today.

A good place to go Grail hunting

A church in Windsor

Windsor and Eaton Riverside station.

Looking back at all the pictures, it was a great trip!

On the way home, I packed 20 bottles of beer in my carry on suitcase and checked it in at the airport.  I used some bubble wrap and my clothes to secure the beer and it made it back in one piece!



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