Let's get back to the Trip Reports....thank you for the fabulous, sweet comments on the Paris post. We did have a fabulous time there, but it was time to leave our sweet hotel and board the high-speed train to Belgium!
It was an easy 90 minute train ride with gorgeous views.
There is no denying the lure of Paris, but we found an equally magical place on our next stop of the trip....Bruges, Belgium!
As with our trip to Santorini, Bruges arrived on our radar from a movie.
The historic town is near the coast (west of Brussels), and because of the intricate canals in the city center, referred to as 'The Venice of the North.'
Bruges is like a fairytale, with cobbled streets and sidewalks and medieval architecture.
It's easily navigated on bicycle (as most locals do), and a boat tour through the canals was the perfect introduction to this city established in the 12th century.
We lucked out with several days of beautiful weather (although cooler than Paris), and Spring put on a show!
Of course we had to dig into the food right away, and learned the Belgians eat their waffles in the afternoon...at Tea Time! Sounds good to me!
These ain't Eggos either! (No offense to my beloved Eggo.) They are light as air with a crispy shell and soft center. We made our way through most of the toppings available (powdered sugar, fresh cream, fruit, chocolate and nutella). They are divine, but don't feel overly indulgent. (Good thing since I'd already been forced in to wearing spandex.)
What is indulgent are the Chocolatiers found on every block. It's just as amazing as you'd imagine. I'll pause while you drool over the pics.
One of the few 'sights' is the Belfry (or Bell Tower) in the city's market center. It's open to walk the three
We were rewarded with fabulous 360-degree views of the city, and a glimpse at the giant, working clock.
Of course after any kind of exertion, we were always ready for a snack! One of the other Belgian staples is frites...or fries. They even have fritteries, that specialize in making The Perfect Fry. An interesting twist is the selection of sauces they like to dip...their favorite being mayonnaise. (We didn't actually combine the frites with the waffles, but one was always in our menu rotation.)
The city center is also home to the weekly Farmer's Market....where all the locals stock up on fresh food and flowers. Listening to them sell their goods in Flemish definitely sucked us in!
Because the dollar is doing so fabulous *insert sarcasm*, we didn't do a lot of shopping. But one of my favorite stores was Dille & Kamille...every kitchen gadget you can imagine, along with some fabulous table-setting wares.
Most of our time was spent just exploring. It's a peaceful place straight from a storybook, and I was expecting to see Snow White appear at any moment.
Our last day, we biked out into the countryside about 10 miles...simply gorgeous.
Bruges is not a city full of must-see sights, but a place to wander, explore, taste and easily imagine life there 800 years ago.
The final leg of our trip is up next! Then I think it might be time to pick up a glue gun again.
* And for the record, there are some museums in Bruges. You may be surprised to hear I sat them out. If you're interested in the Salvador Dali museum, check with Mr. Sugarplum for details.