Feb 2004, and a short trip to Bruges with Paul and Joan Macintyre, to test the Rosyth ferry. The ferry is pristine, a long way from the floating sick buckets I remember on the Dover to Calais route of years ago, and the food was excellent, both in the buffet and the a la carte.

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Originally intended to be a cheap break, this got shanghaied by choosing an upmarket hotel, "Die Swaene", and then by eating in the hotel one evening, which was eye-wateringly expensive, but mouth-wateringly good. Regrettably both Paul and I succumbed to some sort of food poisoning, but that seems to be par for the course in foreign climes, but as ever Paul played the part of dying swaene to perfection!

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We woke on the second morning to find a four inch layer of snow, and a truly Flemish winter scene. I might have preferred it warmer, but there is no denying that Bruges looks good in snow.

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Belgium ... great food, chocolate heaven, medieval glories, dreadful modern architecture, fabulous beer, easy access on the ferry ... try it!