Time to share one of the secrets from my “Wish I Could” post from Thursday.
Friday was a day off work, because we were heading down to Andrew’s parents’ house for a secretly-planned Birthday weekend for my mum-in-law Kathy. The reason I couldn’t post is because she didn’t know we were coming down for it, and anyways none of us knew where we were going except for Roy, who had stealthily organised the whole weekend!
We were picked up at 11am in a white stretch limo, drank champagne while on the way to Southampton to… get on a weekend cruise that would take us to Zeebrugge in Belgium!!! We arrived at the port and were on board shortly after, having a bite to eat and visiting the different parts of the cruiseship, the P&O Cruises’ Aurora.
We had our Friday evening drinks and dinner in the Alexandria Restaurant, served by the most polite and well-oiled team of waiters I’ve ever seen. In the evening, we had a choice of shows and places to go to, so Andrew and I chose to go see “There’s No Business Like Show Business”, a medley of popular Broadway tunes. It was a great show, and I just loved it! I kept forgetting we were on a ship in the middle of the Channel waters!
Saturday morning, we got up bright and early for a tasty breakfast in the Medina Restaurant, where we could see Zeebrugge’s port. After breakfast, we got into a taxi to go visit the Flemish city of Brugge, approximately 10 minutes away from our cruiseship. We went on a boat visit of the canals with a rather entertaining guide and saw many of the city’s landmarks from an interesting angle! Brugge’s old buildings certainly puts the “oldest” Canadian buildings to shame; a hospital that was used until 10 years ago was built in the early 1100’s! That’s nearly a thousand years old!
After our leisurely trip on the canals, we walked around the city squares and one way streets. We stopped by a few chocolateries and picked up some lovely choccies for our coworkers, looked inside a few ancient beer stores, then settled in a café for a few Belgian brews. When Kathy and Lisa headed off to walk around the squares, the boys and I ordered some oysters, mussels and, inevitably, some frites with mayonnaise. A few brews later, it was time to head back to the cruise for an afternoon of relaxing jacuzzi sessions, naps, cocktails of the day and furtive snacks. Andrew jimmied the doors between our cabin balconies open so we had one long balcony connecting our three adjacent rooms while getting ready for dinner.
In the evening, it was the special dressed up dinner so we all got dolled up. The boys looked great in suits, and may I see, the ladies looked lovely too! We headed to some welcome cocktails in the Carmen’s bar, followed by dinner. I had a mixed plate of starters (duck terrine, smoked salmon with caviar, parma ham with melon and strawberry, thai prawn salad with quail’s egg and red caviar… I felt like a queen!), followed by a crab & sweetcorn soup, pink champagne sorbet, and for main course, a meltingly fresh lobster tail. The boys had a fillet of beef on a bed of bubble & squeak. For pudding, I had a peach and almond tart. What can I say, it was a meal made for the gods! (Look at the number of utensils Roy had… You had to be superhuman to eat the lot too!)
Afterwards, we headed to the Curzon Theatre, where we’d seen a Broadway show the previous night, but this time, to see Roy Walker, a stand-up comedian and the host of Catchphrase, a show Andrew remembers well from his childhood.
After the show, we popped by the Masquerade bar for a little dancing (“Show me the way to Amarillo”, anyone?) then headed to bed. This morning, we went for the classic P&O breakfast and prepared our bags to return home. We waved goodbye to the cruiseship as we got picked up by our limo and returned to Kent, where we came back home, still in disbelief at how amazing this weekend was!
This is what I call travelling in style and comfort! So here are all the photos of the weekend…