Tag Archives: train

Mussels in Brussels

On July 17, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9 am.  Ivan and I packed everything up and left the very orange Easyhotel. 

We got took the train to King’s Cross and left our baggage there.

Today, we were doing the Street Art London Tours in Shoreditch.

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Ivan and I love graffiti and it’s always evolving in London. 

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We went to many places and saw lots of cool graffiti. 

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We recognized a couple of graffiti pieces that we saw last time on a different graffiti tour we took. 

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The tour guide showed us a Banksy, but it was covered by glass and it up high where my short self couldn’t see it. 

After the tour, we headed back to King’s Cross to collect our luggage and then pick up tickets for the Eurostar train.  I was hungry, so Ivan and Lil Dave stayed with the luggage while I got some food at Marks and Spencers.  Ivan also bought some food.  It still hurts when I swallow – even just water.

Then, we left on the train at 2 pm from London to Brussels, Belgium.  The train is very cheap at 49 Euros each and it goes under the sea for an hour.  We fell asleep the whole time though. The train arrived at 5:05 pm in Brussels.  Ivan tried to find the bus at the airport, but the one we needed didn’t stop there.  We were too tired and decided to get a taxi cab to the Airbnb apartment. 

We were welcomed by this sign next to our room. 

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How cute!!  We met Carine and her son.  Carine is a friendly Belgian lady.  She had a map for us and we talked about our honeymoon and Brussels.  Her son made us tasty mint Moroccan tea.  I need to learn how to make it!  Carine is always smiling.  Ivan asked why mussels is so famous in Brussels.  She wasn’t sure.  Ivan reckons it’s because it rhymes. 

We took showers and then walked to the city at 7:30 pm.  Along the way, we saw Brussels Cathedral.

Ivan showed me the main square la Grand Place.  He said it looks a lot better at night.

We found the restaurant Chez Leon on a very busy street filled with restaurants.  Ivan read online that this is the best place for mussels. We shared a good white beer.  Lil Dave got a banana pasta.  Ivan and I each got a 800 gram bucket filled with mussels: one with white wine and one with celery, onion and butter.  It came with pomme frites.  The mussels with celery, onion and butter was the best one.  The mussels were real good, but not the best we’ve had. 

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Ivan and I prefer the mussels at Comme Ca in The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.  I’ve never eaten so many mussels in one sitting in my life. It really was a LOT of mussels!

It was 9:30 pm and it was still light out.  There are many statues of the Pissing Man statue.  Ivan thought he’d get a drink.

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We went to the main square and then headed to the real Pissing Man statue. 

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I thought he would have been a lot bigger than he actually is.  I think he’s less than a foot tall. 

We walked across to the bar Poechenellekelder (say that three times really fast!!).  This bar is connected with the Pissing Man statue.  I think about 12 times a year this bar changes the outfit of the Pissing Man.  I wish he wasn’t naked and had an cute outfit on.  Oh, well next time.

We wanted to try a sour beer, but they didn’t have any.

Ivan remembered a cool bar with 250 beers nearby.  We went to Delerium and ordered two beers.  One beer was honey and the other was cherry. 

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I really liked the cherry one.  The beers are really strong here.  It’s best to ask how strong it is before drinking too many!

We saw the Pissing Woman statue in the courtyard of Delerium.  I couldn’t get a good picture of it since she’s behind a gate. After drinking our beers and realising that there is no way we could drink more than 4-5 of them because even just one (at 9% alcohol) made us feel tipsy, we jumped into a taxi and headed back to the apartment.

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Kayaking Train

Hello, it’s Ivan here!  Jen, Lil Dave and I got up at 7 am on June 22, 2012.  We were surprised that there wasn’t any announcements in the room to disembark the ship. Usually on cruise ships, on the last day of departure, the moment the boat docks they start announcing in the rooms that everyone needs to clear out ASAP.

We headed up to the buffet for breakfast to get our last portion of free food (especially bananas for Lil Dave!). We were glad to see that the weather today was perfect – blue skies and very sunny. It was great news, especially as the afternoon/night beforehand had been very very foggy and cloudy.

We got our luggage from the room and got off the ship. It was an incredibly easy debarkation also. No silly immigration, and no long liens. We found a taxi driven by a man who looked like he weighed more than the actual taxi, and got taken to Kayak Adventures Worldwide for $5. 

Today, we were going on a half day kayaking trip on Resurrection Bay.  Our group consisted of four people and one monkey.  It was great to be in such a small group.  Our guide was a friendly guy named Zack.  

We piled onto the van with another group, an Indian family from California. 

Once at the beach, we suited up, had to listen to some safety rules (blah blah whatever, can we just get in the water already?!) and then we boarded our kayaks and headed off into the bay.  Zack even showed us how to paddle correctly which helped Jennifer out who always seems to have sore arms after kayaking for a few minutes (probably from doing it wrong!).

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The views were simply out of this world. The water was calm…the mountains were covered in snow…it looked even better than any postcard could ever be.

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Paddling around the bay was simply an incredible experience.

After a while we stopped at a shore and went for a walk along a beach.

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We headed to a river where usually there would be lots of salmon, but either the salmon knew we were coming and made themselves scarce – or more likely its simply too early for salmon season right now (it’s around about July that they start to come by and say hello). We had a little picnic by the river, while continuing to be flabbergasted at the incredible views.

We then kayaked back, enjoying the slightly more wavy conditions now that the winds had picked up.

We left our bags at the kayak office (oh, aren’t we the trusting kind?) and went off to find some lunch. A bakery that offered free wifi also did the trick and we replenished the calories spent doing the kayaking by eating some black bean soup and vegetable lasagna. They also had some black pepper bread there that had been made incredibly and had way more black pepper than it was meant to, but we actually really liked it and was quite unusual.  Lil Dave had a banana soup and banana bread for dessert.

After making the most of the free wifi, we left the ‘Ranting Raven’ bakery and had a little walk around the town. Wow, what a place! From all around were views of snow covered mountains and the main street was full of family run old time stores. It was simply adorable. We wished we could have spent a few more days at the place. At the bottom of main street was the lake with those incredible views. 

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I wish I booked a couple nights of Seward – I didn’t know it was such a charming little town.  But, I talked to the girl at the Kayak office and she said we were lucky because about 75%of the time it’s raining in Seward.

Even though we had a lot of bags and it was a mile to the train station, we decided to walk it, as it was downhill and the views just got better and better. We even had a guy stop and offer to give us a ride, which would NEVER happen in Vegas!

We were feely a little sleepy but didn’t want to sleep on the train as we heard the views were amazing, so after checking in at the train station, we popped to a little café to get an espresso to perk us up at the bit. That worked, and with a spring in our step we boarded the train and immediately knew it was going to be a memorable journey, just by the views that greeted us at the train station alone!

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The views were simply gorgeous on the train ride.  Jennifer and I couldn’t believe just how beautiful it was. 

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We took loads of pictures.  Jen and I drank sparkling wine and shared a salmon corn chowder while we enjoyed the lovely greenery and snow covered mountains pass us by. 

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The train went through lots of tunnels as well.  There was an announcer telling us there was a waterfall passing by or a bear or an eagle flying above.  Sometimes the train would even stop, so we could take photos. 

For dinner, we had the salmon trio (salmon cakes, salmon dip on bread and smoked salmon) and a sockeye salmon with rice pilaf and green beans.  It was a delicious meal.

The train picked up 4 backpackers.  Later, Jen was sitting behind them and kept plugging her nose because they smelled.  They really needed a shower.  She wished she had a clothespin so she could plug up her nose effectively. 

This was the best train ride ever.  I don’t understand how the Skagway train is more famous than this train ride. 

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The scenery is so amazing!  If you ever get a chance to come to Alaska, don’t miss the Seward to Anchorage train ride.  You will enjoy it immensely!

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The train arrived in Anchorage at 10:30 pm.  The couchsurfer Kelvin we would be staying with us kindly picked us up from the train station.  We said hi to him and proceeded to the white tent to wait for our luggage.  It took a few minutes for the forklift to pull the luggage off the train and then place them under the white tent.  I thought we’d have to wait ages since the men were pulling random luggage off each crate.  Thank goodness, they went back to our crate and got our luggage out before the rest of the bags.

Kelvin drove us to his house.  He’s a 25 year old local.  We chatted to him about the train ride and our trip to Seward.  Once we got to his house nearby, we met his roommate which I can’t remember his name.  We chatted awhile with them about life, Alaska and traveling.  It’s so weird how the sun set at 11:40 pm – that even at midnight it was still so light (compared to what we’re used to). 

Jen and I were so exhausted and went to sleep around 1:30 am.

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