Wednesday, June 13, 2007

One Night in Belgium and the world's your oyster

Today's only goal was to get Bondi's pre-UK shots done before lunchtime. Even though tick & worm treatment is valid for months, the UK requires that you have these done between 24 and 48 hours prior to crossing the Channel - miss out by 30 minutes and you cannot travel.

The first vet I tried to visit had shut up shop and moved, and the second was out of town. I asked the hotel to help me by giving me a number to call - they said they'd book one for me (I later got charged €3 for that local call) and gave me the time and address.

I turned up at the address, knocked on the door, Bondi beside me. A lady answered the door, looked surprised at Bondi (OK so what). I said we had an appointment with the vet. But I'm not a vet, although I do have 11 cats.

Fortunately her English was excellent, and she helped me find the correct address (about a mile away) without charging me for the service. The vet we did find was very helpful and got Bondi's shots done quickly, and his Pet Passport record updated. The only side effect came about 6 hours later, when Bondi vomited up a day's worth of biscuits onto the doorstep of a chocolatier whose windows I was inspecting. Mortified, I asked for a bucket of water to clean it all up, and bought up big inside.

Mission accomplished, I just went to do some more window-shopping. While Bruges may be the birthplace of Doctor Evil,
My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy...
and the site of William Caxton's first printing press, neither of these are truly celebrated in the local community.

The world's most famous Belgian is marked out at the local Tintin shop*, despite his Flemish name being Kuifje. 2007 is the centenary of the birth of writer Herge. I have yet to do a calculation as to whether or not Bondi and I have been to more countries together than Tintin and Snowy/Milou - although that pair did go to the moon, get abducted by aliens and travel in a submarine. (*The adult clothing there seemed to be only available in Castafiore sizes.)

Two faces of clockwork in Brugge.

We passed a gallery displaying some of the remarkable works of Kezanti, fusing machine with man or beast.

Blocking the hotel room door, as usual.

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