Tuesday 7/21- Brugge

Brugge (or Bruges) gives me the feeling of Venice of the North (top pix).  Of course there are not as many canals, but the industry of the town is certainly tourism.  Here they speak Flemish, but every shopkeeper and restaurateur (of course) speaks English.  That's good because my Flemish is a little weak.  I really didn't have the time to become fluent.   Actually, fluent is not the word.  There have been so many languages that I just try to learn "please, thank you, the check please, toilet."  Actually, our new friend David Beechcroft-Kay said there were only four phrases you had to know---"I love you"; " Please come with me"; "My friend will pay"; and - "Another beer please".

Speaking of David, the only thing that we regret about this trip is that we were unable to spend time with David, his wife Terry, and their son.  David gave us a great deal of advice about flying over here and he was very helpful.

I never did have my "Belgian Waffle", but they are available (2nd pix).  The specialty here is mussels, and they are really excellent (3rd pix).

It's been a lot of traveling, but actually easier in many respects than flying commercially.  There have been no "flight times" in which we had to arrive at the airport 2 hours ahead of time and then sit---.   The language barrier has been a little difficult.   However, since Sharon speaks French we've been able to make do in many areas.  I, on the other hand, have barely mastered English.  The currency converter (about 25 bucks) has been very valuable.  It stores exchange rates for 20 countries.  We've learned to adapt.  We've flown to 18 countries, 22 cities, with 16 different languages and 17 different currencies.   We've learned to be flexible.

Tomorrow we leave Belgium for Edinburgh, Scotland.  We are going to stop at Biggin Hill Airport outside of London for old times sake.  That will take a little under an hour.  I rented a plane there with Bill Schramm in the 70's and again in the early 80's.  Sharon & I also rented one there two years ago.  I've got a patch on my flight suit from the "Biggin Hill Flying School",  which I joined in the 70's.  Biggin Hill (as Harry Joseph pointed out) was one of the airports that the Spitfires flew from during the London Blitz.  I remember the last time I was there I was taxiing a plane I was being checked out in and saw a paved area that was different in color than the rest of the taxiway.  That area was concrete.  I asked the instructor who was checking me out what it was.  He told me that that was the area where the Spitfires ran up their engines before takeoff during the war.  He said "...we will always keep it just like that".   I asked the tower if I could taxi over it which they approved.  I did so with a chill down my spine.  I'd like to do it again in the Aztec.

After refueling and time for nostalgia, we will take off for Edinburgh, Scotland (a little under 2 hours) and a visit with Flavia Tassara.   This is our last stop before an oil change at Wick, Scotland and the North Atlantic Crossing.

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