21.07.2011 - 21.07.2011
Cool and overcast - I'm getting sick of this - have had the same clothes on for days! This is supposed to be summer!
Checked out of the hotel and said goodbye to Julie and Bryan. Judy, Phil and I met our guide for the day (Kathy's boss, Sylvester) and took off. We went to Hill 60 at Zellibeck, Mesen (Messine), Mud Corner, the British Cemetery (11,447 missing)
and into Le Bizet for lunch. In the town is the border between France and Belgium, so we went and stood with a foot in each country. We are such tourists! Bought some Belgian chocolates and had lunch in a cafe called "The Australian - Cat and Pat". We were "the entertainment" as the other patrons were laughing at my attempts to speak French. Had the Belgian version of a ploughman's lunch and a beer that was 9%. I could hardly stand up after that!
After lunch we went to Mt Kemmel, Polygon Wood and Buttes Cemetery, Pashedale and Tynecot, where I had been in 2007 with the Governor-General.
Sylvester drove us to Lille and dropped Judy off at her hotel, near the station and then us at the railway station. He wasn't as good a guide as Kathy!
Our train to Brussells was 30 minutes late, but thank goodness our connecting train (from Paris) to Amsterdam was running late too, so we managed our connection, with verbal assistance from other passengers, with minutes to spare. We had already purchased our tickets in Australia and if we had missed our connection - well, too bad, you don't get put onto another train, you just lose your money. The train was full. Just out of Antwerp it stopped, saying there was a problem with the electricity, but after five minutes it got going again. Apparently this happens all the time.
Finally arrived in Amsterdam and caught a taxi to the Rho Hotel. Not a very celubrious entrance - down a lane off the main square, Damm Square, but in a very good position and quite a huge big foyer.
Took ages to check in and tried to find our room on the third floor. It was like a rabbit warren with stairs and corridors going everywhere! Got into the room - no bath. Back down to reception and had to change rooms - now on the first floor - room 125. More corridors and stairs and ramps. I have no idea where I am. I hope we don't have to get out of here in a hurry because I wouldn't have a clue.
We went for a walk at about 10.30 pm to find a snack for dinner. The streets are full of people, mainly young ones (high on drugs) - it's a bit scary. We found our Scenic Tours Rendezvous Hotel, within very easy walking distance of the Rho and is very posh!
Not like the Rho. We had traditional Dutch pea soup for dinner at 11.00 pm which was very nice. Did some window shopping and were in bed by 11.30 pm. A very long day.