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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

{Trip Report} Ghent & Brussels (the final leg!)

Happy Wednesday! Sorry for the delay between Trip Reports, but these posts are a doozy to put together! Let's wrap them up, shall we?

We solemnly said goodbye to Bruges and headed back East. Ghent is the largest city in the Flemish Region of Belgium, and half-way between Bruges and Brussels. We decided to spend an afternoon in the University town (packed with young students), so we hopped off the train and stored our luggage in the station lockers.

ghent 1

Ghent has a little bit of the flavor of Bruges, in that the architecture and canals are similar (only in the city center), but is so much larger and louder. Much of the city was under construction, and the streets were buzzing with people, buses and trams.

ghent 3

We spent a few hours strolling the loop around the city's center, and had a great Moroccan lunch.

ghent 2

Then it was back on the train for the 45-minute ride to Brussels. And back to a French-speaking population! (Flemish, the most unique language I've ever heard, is the main language in Bruges and Ghent.)

brussels 1

Brussels is the bustling capital of Belgium, and the European Union. Thanks to it's large population of weekday business travelers, we were able to score a fabulous hotel at a weekend steal!

hotel metropole

Lavender grasscloth wallpaper, lavish crystal chandelier, double french doors leading to balcony views of downtown....Mr. Sugarplum and I felt a bit like the Clampetts...but loved every second of it! (We are typically budget travelers in Europe, so this kind of accommodation is not typical for us!)

metropole 2

We spent our days in Brussels enjoying the Metropole Hotel, strolling the busy streets and hitting up a few of the many shops.

brussels 2

As with most large cities, they pay extra attention to maintaining the parks, which were a nice quiet escape. There are also tons of waffle counters...where they sold a doughier version of the waffles we devoured in Bruges.

brussels 3

And more fritteries.


We picked up a large sampling of cookies, or biscuits if you're fancy, from this beautiful shop that services most of the city with their famous recipes. I can't say any made it home.


True to my DIY roots, stumbling across a Farrow & Ball retail store was a Brussels highlight! I am now the excited owner of their swatch booklet ...and 3 sample pots of potential colors for our house! But my gosh they are proud of their paint!!! The teeny-tiny-two-inch sample pots of paint are 7euro each! I'll do the math for you...almost $11 each! I hope the colors work and I'll get my Home Depot color-match on!

farrow & ball

The Grand Place is the most memorable landmark in Brussels. The breathtaking square dates back to the 10th Century, and was recently named the most beautiful square in Europe. It didn't disappoint at night either!

grand place

Finally, with ill-fitting clothes and bloated bodies, it was time for our final waffle in the famed Metropole Cafe.

final waffle

And as much fun as we had, and as kind and accommodating as the Europeans were...we were thrilled to be back in the States...back to our kids...and back in our own bed!

american flag

Hopefully these Trip Reports have been useful and inspiring for you. I've received several emails and comments with questions regarding the trip and how we travel (namely the multi-colored skirt I wore in the Paris post!). I'm putting together a Q&A post to address everything, so feel free to comment here or email me with anything you want to know! You know I'll keep it real.

Thank you for indulging me and reading these posts... I'm so sick of myself I can hardly stand it, so I can only imagine how you feel! Let's shift this blog back to design, shall we? How about I finish Babygirl's Room Once.And.For.All!!!???


  1. wow! looks like a fantastic trip. brussels looks absolutely beautiful! can't wait for the Q&A! xoxo jillian:: cornflake dreams

  2. What a fabulous trip, glad you were able to get away with your husband to such fabulous locations! Janell

  3. Such beautiful photos! This looks like an amazing trip!

  4. I have LOVED this posts. Makes me long to be in Europe with my honey. I love all of your cute sailor stripes as well. Looks like you all had wonderful weather throughout the trip, too.

  5. Loved this post! It looks like you had such a good time and it makes me want to go back to see more of Europe!

  6. Oh my gosh!!! You are a DOLL Cassie!! Absolutely love everything you post and I so, so, so want to travel to the fairytale land. Can't wait to see your Q & A's. Love you!!!

  7. Love all the lavender in that room, gorgeous! Looks like you had a fabulous trip!

  8. I found your blog through a friend's link, and I love your trip report, mainly because my husband and I are leaving for Europe on Sunday to do pretty much the exact same trip! We're staying in Bruges for 5 days (with day trips to Ghent and Ypres), Brussels for a day, and Paris for 3 days. I did have a question though - in your opinion, is Ghent worth a day trip, or would our time be better spent enjoying an extra day in Bruges? Thanks, and welcome home!

  9. Loved hearing about the trip! The photos are wonderful.

  10. that hotel room is a wealth of design inspiration I'm sure!

  11. I have really enjoyed hearing about your trip and seeing your photos. What a fabulous vacation, Cassie! I hope to make the trip one day soon with my hubby. I've taken a few notes from your posts that will be helpful whenever we plan a trip. What a view you had from the Hotel Metropole! Thanks for taking on your journey!

  12. YOU are too cute for words! I love your trip posts and will be sure to pick your brain if Jimmy and I ever are able to take a trip to Europe.

  13. Awesome, Cassie! I love the architecture. $11 per sample?! WOWZA. Can't wait to see your sweet girls room finished (: Glad you're back!

  14. We just went to Belgium and loved it. We especially LOVED Brugge!
    Can't beat the Belgium waffles!

  15. Loved these posts - so nice to see what you have been up to! Loving your stripy tops - very french!
    ;-) xx

  16. Your trip has been like a trip through time for me and I've soooo enjoyed it!! We stayed at the Metropole too!!! Loveeeed it!!

  17. I loved hearing about your trip, Cassie! Looking forward to the Q&A.

  18. Your trip reports have been great! Makes me want to steal away some place romantic! You looked great - such a haute momma!

  19. Ya'll are just uber cute and I want to hang out.

  20. I'm glad your trip was such a great success! *sigh* I miss brussels.

  21. Can I go with you next time? :) Your trip looked fabulous!

  22. Thanks for posting this!! I am going to Brussels, Paris, and Amsterdam in 4 weeks. Is there anything else, other than Grand Place and waffles, that you would recommend doing in Brussels?

  23. Hello - my husband and I are planning a trip a trip to England, France and will be stopping in Belgium on the way to Amsterdam. Did you have a favorite out of Brussels, Bruge or Ghent? We only have 3 days there and want to select a "home base" and then day trip to other cities. Thanks for any recommendations!

  24. Hi Sara! Hopefully you check back here since your email isn't attached to your profile. :(

    We LOVED Bruges....loved, loved, loved it. It's very quiet, not much to do but wander the streets and just experience life in that little town of canals. We only stopped in Gent for an afternoon, and it was just a larger, louder, covered with people version. We also stayed a night or two in Brussels, and it was mostly just a bustling city.

    The IC train is easy between the 3 cities. I guess it mostly just depends on what kind of environment you're drawn to. We like to have a mix of cosmopolitan city and small quaint village when we travel. So depending on your other stops, that make impact your choice in Belgium.

    Again, not much to 'do' in Bruges, but it really is so completely unique!

    Hope this helps!
    xo. C


Your comments are like popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. Thanks for taking the time to share your positive thoughts! xoxo, cass

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