In Brugge

5 Sep

I think we both came back to London a little heavier after our visit to Belgium over the long weekend (bliss – we both have jobs where we’re not expected to work public holidays!) Belgium is where you go to get fat… seriously. The country is mainly known for four things: chocolate, waffles, beer and fries. Add in the beautiful centuries-old buildings and you’ve got a pretty sweet place. We visited Brugge and Brussels, two of the most popular tourist cities in Belgium. Our tour accommodation was based in Brugge, staying at a hostel outside of the historic city centre. Walking around the cobbled streets, I swear there is chocolate in the air. The sweet cocoa smell drifts out of the many, many (feels like hundreds) boutique chocolate shops as you walk past, tempting you to go in and try (or buy)! Drooling is permitted as you watch the shop assistants weigh and hand out pralines and truffles at the cost of 15-20 Euros per kilogram, depending which shop you choose.

But it doesn’t stop there. There is also waffles. We had to limit ourselves to one warm, sugary, delicious waffle each with chocolate topping (of course!), but you can have as many or as little toppings as your body can take. Add cream, caramel, strawberry, or have just plain sugar. Then there are fries, which are said to have originated in this country. They are deep-fried – twice – just to squeeze in that extra amount of fatty goodness. Top it off with a good serving of mayo or ketchup and you’ve got yourself a good (maybe not healthy?) meal! But it doesn’t stop there. There is also Beer. It’s yummy in a different way and we drank it in the cutest pub that reminded us of a wine cellar. We came across it as our first day was coming to an end. We were heading out to dinner with the rest of our tour and decided to stop in for a drink first. Amy had her first ever beer (so proud!), but we need to get in more training for her before Oktoberfest.

We arrived into Brugge just after lunch after our bus trip to Dover and then across the Channel to Calais (France). We headed into the city centre for a walking tour with our group and had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves. We went on a canal cruise and saw a lot of what the city has to offer – cathedrals, chocolate shops, the market square, chocolate shops, windmills, more chocolate shops… it’s a beautiful city to wander or sit and people-watch as tourists and locals go about their thing. We had a delicious three course meal that night (yes, more chocolate in the form of mousse for dessert!), and afterwards my budding photographer husband wanted to get in some night shots of the market square. While standing around and taking more photos, the heavens opened up and it began to pour rain. We sought shelter back in the restaurant and as the rain died down, we decided to head for home, shoes soaking.

The next morning we caught the train to Brussels and spent most of the day here before heading back to Brugge to explore a little more. A temperature gauge in Brussels showed 18 degrees, but it felt so much colder because of the wind. The intermittent spouts of rain also made for a chilly weekend. Brussels is beautiful as well, not so much as Brugge but we were impressed after a lot of people told us it wasn’t worth visiting. The main market square in Brussels is amazing and I loved the feeling of a huge square surrounded by big, beautiful, European buildings. The main attraction in Brussels is the Manneken Pis – a small statue depicting a boy urinating! The whole city of Brussels has replica Mannken Pis’ all over town – magnets, cork screws, chocolate… the list goes on. Poor little boy who just needed to pee! We also saw the Grand Palace in Brussels which was open to the public – absolutely amazing inside. Every room has a grand chandelier or two, or three, or eight! Breathtaking.

Back in Brugge, we got caught in the rain again while we were searching for a place for dinner and ended up heading back to the hostel until it died down. We had dinner at a restaurant near the hostel and went back to our room to get warm before heading out again to take some more night shots. It got really cold as nightfall came and Amy and I had to use our scarfs as make-shift beanies while the boys took photos. It’s a beautiful city at night, but oh so cold!

On our last day we had one quick last look in Brugge before our tour took us to visit some more of Belgium. We wanted to get a birdseye view of the city so we headed to the Belfort tower in the market square and climbed the 300 and something steps to the top. It was a great view over the city where you can see the streets intertwine around the red-tiled houses and buildings. It was incredibly beautiful, but we had to get going to meet our bus. We were taken to Tynne Cot cemetery – a World War I cemetery and according to Google, is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. It was sad to see so many of the stones with ‘Known only unto God’ on them. In addition to the burials, there is a wall with something like 35,000 names of those soldiers whose bodies were not found. We were also taken to Sanctuary Wood Museum which has a lot of items and relics from World War I, including original trenches which have been preserved.

After all our sightseeing, we were all ready to head back home, chocolate in belly and bags (of course we had to buy some!), back to Calais, across the Channel to Dover and then to London. It was an awesome chocolate-filled weekend, with a bit of sightseeing in the beautiful country of Belgium!

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today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian in Germany

I am the world's oyster

Photography, Aviation, Nature, Culture, Nikon, Canon, Qantas, Airlines, Emirates, Airports, A380, 747

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Love for hand-knitted & -crocheted beauty. Proud designer & founder of LN|Beanies and LN|Andes, my two knit brands, my two loves.

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