Driving through Europe during the Mongol Rally is one whirlwind of a way to travel. Luckily, we had a nice rest in Brussels.
Cities and countries blur together as we speed through each destination. We were only in France for about 20 minutes after departing the Eurotunnel from England before entering Belgium.
Crossing the English Channel – Skipping France and Straight to Brussels
Thanks to the fantastic blog known as CheeseWeb, a website about expat life in Germany, we got to take the Eurotunnel under the Straits of Dover. We drove our car onto a train loaded with an endless stream of vehicles to be transported to France. It is a strange feeling to know that you are travelling beneath the English Channel, but once you are inside the Eurotunnel, it feels like any other tunnel in the world. Only during this trip, we got to step out of our cars and socialize with the rest of the passengers on the train.
In Less than 2 hours and we passed through three countries.
Not only did Alison and Andrew of Cheeseweb sponsor our Eurorail crossing, they also invited us all to stay the night in Brussels! What an amazing first stop in the rally.
Our fellow Canadians showed us pure hospitality and even picked us up after our long day of driving in the Festival of Slow at Goodwood Stadium in England, to hopping on the Eurotunnel and then driving to Brussels. It was a little after 10 pm that we arrived to meet up with Andrew where he was waiting for us with 4 beers in hand!
We climbed into his car loading it down with gear and travelled to their gorgeous loft downtown Brussels where Allison was waiting with a spread of meat and cheeses and chilled champagne.
Wow, Now That's a Welcome!
After a toast to surviving our first day on the Mongol Rally, we settled into good food, fine wine and beer and great conversation. It wasn't until about 2 am that we made our way to bed and it was up bright and early to get to work on Sherry's iPhone.
Dave had tried to unlock her phone for her and much to our and her dismay, the unlock ended up locking up the phone! Dave worked on it for the morning while the rest of us sat at our computers catching up on our own work, but alas, he couldn't get the phone restored and Sherry is now down an iPhone.
However, that is another story…
This trip has been all about staying connected. We are the Social Media Syndicate after all and we are doing this trip as a challenge to blog and tweet and our way to Mongolia, and it is driving me insane. I will admit that when I wake up in the morning and see everyone at their computer before even having coffee puts me in a sour mood. And yet, I walk over to the table, couch or wherever we may be and join in, causing me to remain in my bad mood until I finally do get that coffee sometime after lunch.
At the moment, I am not enjoying the Mongol Rally to the fullest.
The four of us are feeding off each other and living at our computers. Staying in places that have Wifi isn't helping. We're all panicking about the work load ahead when we get to the countries with no Internet. I think we are all trying to get ahead of the game instead of experiencing the joy of the Mongol Rally. We are going to have to find a balance if we are going to stay sane and enjoy ourselves over the coming weeks.
Luckily, Andrew made a plan to take us all out for crepes and frites so we pulled ourselves away from our laptops for long enough to see a bit of the city.
Sherry, Dave and I had all been here before, so that was a bit of a contributing factor to our sitting inside for so long in the morning. But we were happy that Rick fulfilled his bucket list item of eating a Belgian Waffle in Belgium! We revisited the Manniken Pis, took photographs of the Royal Palace and walked to one of the most beautiful squares in Western Europe, The Grand Place.
It was a short visit and by 5:00 pm we had to drive on to our next destination. I look forward to seeing Andrew and Alison again soon and coming back to Brussels for a longer visit in the near future.
But for now, we have to move on. Mongolia beckons and we have to make it to our next stop….Koln Germany, where we get to meet the famous travel blogger known Traveldudes in the flesh! We had met Melvin's sister Emlyn on Princess Cruises trip to Alaska, but have yet to meet the actual Travel Dude himself.