One of my favorite cities on the planet is Bruges, Belgium, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sometimes called the Venice of the North for its canals and beautiful scenery, I describe it as Disneyland for adults. Picturesque cobblestone streets wind their way through a beautiful medieval city frozen in time. It’s one of the few European cities that wasn’t destroyed during WWI or WWII, and there are still buildings that have been standing for over a thousand years. History and beautiful architecture everywhere you look. Canal boats glide under stone pedestrian bridges past the resident swans. It’s truly a magical place. Certainly no lack of amazing places to drink, dine or shop either.
Another of my favorite cities is Brussels, the capital, with the Grand Place, one of the largest central squares in all of Europe. The city has a hip modern side too, with plenty of clubs and hotspots including the famous Delirium Café, boasting over 3000 entries on its beer list. I could go on… Ghent, Antwerp, the university town of Lueven… but I think you get the idea.
“But it’s so expensive to go to Europe!” Is it? I think it depends on your priorities. The typical cable television bill is about $120 per month, or $1,440 per year. When you look back on your life are you going to fondly remember all those Gilligan’s Island reruns? Or will you recall those amazing moments spent traveling, like sipping on a latte and enjoying a chocolate covered waffle while sitting in an outdoor café overlooking a beautiful cobblestone square? I know what I’d choose. Smoking is a no brainer… a pack a day habit could easily pay for two or three trips abroad a year.
Planning an overseas visit yourself can be a daunting task, that’s why lots of people prefer a pre-arranged tour or group trip. I’m not suggesting one of those cattle-car type group tours that hit 6 cities in 6 days with a set itinerary, obligatory stops in tourist traps and cafeterias, and then on to the next town. Those kind of tours are hardly vacations… when it’s all over you’re more exhausted that when you began and you can scarcely remember where you’ve been! I’m talking about staying in one or two cities for a week and doing day trips. It’s the best way to really get a feel for a place. Let’s face it, you can’t see everything a country has to offer in a week… so don’t even make yourself crazy trying. Take your time and linger, relax and soak up the atmosphere. Buy the locals a drink and see what secrets they tell you. This November Porters’ Pub & Restaurant is doing another one of their nine day trips to Belgium for only $1,829 including direct non-stop airfare, hotels (4 and 5 star!) transfers, breakfasts and more.
Porters' Pub has been hosting "Pub Crawls" for over 15 years. And despite the name, they're not all about drinking... well I guess that depends on who you ask! The trips are very laid back and friendly, perfect for the first time traveler or the seasoned independent minded explorer. You get the security, peace of mind and camaraderie of traveling with a group and knowing that all the details have been taken care of, but you also get the flexibility of going off and doing your own thing. We do a couple of optional group excursions and the rest of the time is your own to pursue whatever you wish. Your hotel becomes a home base for exploring the countryside and a meeting place to catch up and compare notes with your new found traveling friends. One of the biggest kicks I get is popping into a little café on some side street in another country and running into someone I know. There are plenty of other trips to choose from too and they’re all very reasonably priced. We fly major airlines and stay at value-priced hotels. What we don’t do is spend a lot of money advertising or printing big glossy color brochures. The average group size is between 20 and 45 and very diverse… couples, singles, mid-twenties to mid-seventies! Upcoming trips are headed to Belgium, Barcelona and Colombia. For details check us out at www.PortersPubEaston.com and https://www.facebook.com/PortersPub. Or email Larry Porter at PortersPub@gmail.com to join our mailing list or request information. And remember... It’s all about priorities. Anyone can travel if they really want to!