Brugge, Belgium
Alsace Region, France
Black Forest, Germany
We were three women in dire need of a holiday.  This was our first time traveling as a trio. I had traveled with Maritza on a couple of occasions and this was the first time traveling with Marian.  Marian and I would travel together on several later trips.
TUESDAY, JUNE 5:  My friends traveled on Delta, and I traveled on United Airlines thanks to frequent flyer points.  We departed at about the same time and were to meet at the airport in Brussels.  My flight from LAX to Dulles went fine.  In DC we got as far as the runway when they announced mechanical difficulties.  My connecting flight was cancelled after seven hours sitting at the airport.  I was housed at Marriott's Westfield Conference Center for the night and given a substantial allowance while there.  This was one instance when traveling in business class came in mighty handy.  The hotel was very nice, and although I was missing a day in Brugge, I began my vacation with room service and a movie.  Better the pilot discover mechanical problems at the airport than over the Atlantic.
THURSDAY:   Arrived in Brussels at 6:15 am (22 hours late), stopped at the ATM, trained to Brugge, and arrived at the hotel as my friends were sitting down to breakfast.  We stayed in two rooms at the Egmond Hotel right by the Minnewater Park.  My friends shared a large, pretty room upstairs overlooking the garden.  I had a small but efficient single room (#3) downstairs.  We were delighted with the hotel.  The location is close to activities, but in a quiet area with free parking (Note, 2007: I believe it is no longer free).  The bathrooms have modern fixtures and hairdryers.  The ladies' bathroom was small; the bathroom in my room was larger with an accordion door.  If I had been skinny I would have been able to stand at the sink with the door closed, but alas, the door remained open.  The showers were great.  Gone are the days of 25-watt light bulbs.  My room had excellent recessed lighting in both the bedroom and the bathroom.  There was a halogen lamp on the desk and reading lamps over the bed. The mattress was a double size -- unusual for a single room in Europe.  Breakfast was substantial -- meats, cheeses, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit, fresh orange juice, breads and a toaster, and delicious hot chocolate.  We spent some time talking to Chris, the hotel's proprietor.  He is a very nice man and we talked about some of the cultural differences between Belgium and the U.S.