Monday 7/20- Reims, France to Brugge, Belgium

We stayed at the Royal Champagne Hotel before, but the view from the balcony of each room is really beautiful (top pix).  We try to leave enough time to pack the plane, and particularly for Sharon to rearrange the clothes for the next city.  I thought we did (we arrived at the airport at 11:20) but I didn't realize that the Reims Prunay Airport closes from 12:00 to 2:00 PM.  So we were kinda rushed since we had to refuel first and at this airport you do it yourself.

We got refueled and the plane packed by 12:00 (just in the nick of time) and then went into town to return the Hertz car.  Took a cab back to the airport, called the tower (information) and got no answer.  Someone called us from another plane and told us the tower was also closed during the same hours.  We took off, called Reims Champagne (the other airport), picked up our clearance and proceeded to Belgium.  It was an interesting ride.  There was no turbulence and we were never IMC (in the clouds-  Instrument Meteorological Conditions).  On the other hand, there were some pretty large thunderstorms we saw on radar (2nd pix) and actually saw as we circumnavigated them.  It wasn't an uneventful flight.  We landed at Ostende (or Oostende) (3rd pix), refueled the plane, went to customs where a uniformed officer from the other end of the empty room waved us through with a smile.

We took a cab to Brugge (or Bruges), which took about 1/2 hour.  We checked into the Holiday Inn.  (That's right, Holiday Inn.)   Actually it is a very nice hotel placed right in the center of town.  Dinner, sleep, and tomorrow Brugge.  We leave on Wednesday for Biggin Hill outside London to refuel and then on to Edinburgh, Scotland.  Actually we really don't need fuel at Biggin Hill, but I've rented planes there and it is a very historic airport.  This was the base of the Spitfires that defended London during WW II.

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