Saturday, July 19, 2008

Off on holiday again

Off on holiday again, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Well, we are at Liege airport now and despite checking every which way we could, our Belle Air flight is leaving at 13.00 instead of the 11.20 we had thought - this is the arrival time of the incoming flight, so we have a three hour wait. And it means we could have comfortably left Amsterdam this morning and saved ourselves a bunch of money by not spending the night in Liege.

It was a cool and slightly wet and quite dark evening that we spent in Liege, having travelled by train first to Maastricht and then to Liege Guillemins station, a journey of three-and-a-half hours.

Liege is just over the border from holland but it is immediately French speaking, although our bosnian taxi driver spoke good English. It is a large city of 200,000 people built on the banks of the Meuse river. Lots of buildings in the dutch/vietnamese style, with narrow fronts and many stories, much Victorian architecture and art Deco, but all looking dull and drab under the grey skies. Our hotel was a small one hidden awy near the historical centre, near the catholic churches, built in the Jesuit style, as well as a nunnery, owners of a posh restaurant called The Nuns, as well as various other impressive early 17th century buildings.

Nearby wre the bars, cafes, brasseries and restaurants, patat zaken and kebab houses. So many kebab houses, with names like Istanbul, Asya, Izmir, Taksim and so on, providing cheap, healthy and nourishing food.

The streets were lined with tumbledown buildings in a bad state of decay, right next to the bright modern shopping streets, with shops like Zeeman and Cheap Shoe. We were near the river now and here were some exceptionally narow streets, full of tramps and drug addupicts and dealers. Down one of the streets were a number of brothels, Amsterdam style with ladies in the windows. Not the beauties illegally smuggled into and kept in amsterdam, but real old whores, with wrinkles, dyed thinning hair and capable of teaching many a young man or two about the delights of sex. Ten times more authentic than what we have 'op de Wallen'.

Time for a drink, so we had a couple of beers at Le Petit Paris, which turned out to be especially popular with men of a gay persuasion, quite by chance, not that it advertised itself in that way. We turned down an invitation to eat Senegalese food at Bar Senegal and found a brasserie to serve us a plate of charcuterie, baked potato and some wicked oven-heated Camembert. This alone made the trip to Luik/Liege worth it.our waiter was Moroccan and we managed to impress him both with our French and our few words of Arabic, not that we expect to be using many Arabic words this holiday, maybe some Turkish instead...

It continues to be cool and grey today and remain so during the weekend, probably getting better next week. Let's hope we see some sunshine in five hours when we finally arrive, a whole day lost to travelling and we only have two weeks...


Anonymous Shane Mwangi said...

nice piece on Luik - I will send the URL to Thierry my mate who lives there :) he ll be glad to hear you praising the city he loves so much :D

20 July, 2008 04:29  
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