19.12.11

Bruges, Belgium

Waiting for the train to Bruges. 
Bruges and Diksmuide are only about 45 minutes away from each other via train. We arrived half an hour before our desired train, just to make sure that we had all of our ducks in a row. The tiny station had two platforms, so it was impossible to get lost or confused.  After waiting around for a while, we boarded the correct train and pulled into Bruges without any problems. 


We exited the train station, bought a city map, consulted our "what to see in Bruges" app on the ipad, and started exploring. Within five minutes, I wondered how Bruges could possibly get any prettier. It was as though we had walked onto a movie set that had been over run with tourists. Years ago, Chris and I had watched the Colin Farrell film In Bruges (naturally set in Bruges), and we added the city to our "Bucket List." The film did not prepare us for the massive amounts of tourists crowding every street and souvenir shop, but the pushing and shoving didn't take away from our Bruges experience. 


Bruges is rightfully known as "the Venice of the North," and at one time in Her history, Bruges was a chief commercial city. I kept begging Chris to take me on a boat trip through the canals. How romantic would that be?! When in Bruges . . . We soon dropped the idea when we saw a boat cram packed with 30 too many tourists and cameras. The sun was out, and we had healthy legs and good walking shoes; so we decided to just take loads of pictures of every canal we happened upon. 


Pictures don't do this city justice. Could you imagine living in one of these picturesque little cottages? The romance would only be shattered with every heavy laden tourist boat that passed. Maybe you would get used to it. I am sure I could if I had one of these adorable homes! 

Church of Our Lady - Bruges, Belgium.
The Church of our Lady is an interesting building that can be found in the center of Bruges. The spire of the tower reaches 401 feet, making it one of the world's highest brick towers. Unfortunately Chris and I didn't go inside, but one of Michelangelo's only sculptures to leave Italy, Madonna and Child, can be found inside. 
The Belfry in the Town Square. The main building in the movie In Bruges.
Mussels anyone?
We learned that Belgium is known for more than chocolate and beer, it is also known for mussels. I am a sea food lover, but I have never been too fond of mussels. Since we were in Belgium, I thought I would give them another try, and surprisingly I loved them! I guess the cream and butter sauce they were prepared in didn't hurt. 


 A good lunch at Tom Pouce would not be complete without Brugge Zot Beer from the local brewery. 

More water pictures. 
My favorite! In love in Bruges!

This swan was just begging for a jumping picture!

Christmas markets around every corner!
The Belfry at nightfall. 
Sunset in Bruges (in December) is like a Christmas fairytale. 


This is my favorite picture I've ever taken with my little point-an-shoot Cannon. 
Day 2 in Bruges - Breakfast by the Belfry. 
Belgium waffles. 
Chris and I walked into the most touristy place we could find for breakfast. Initially, we had searched for another restaurant that had been recommended, only to find that it was closed until lunch. So we ended up in a super-touristy-overpay-for-everything place. We sat down next to a nice older couple that was getting ready to leave. I casually asked them if they had enjoyed the waffles, and if so, which one did they recommend. The gentleman cracked a smile and even chucked a little bit, 
"Ohhh, honey, we are from Belgium. We would never eat waffles for breakfast."
"What - but when do you eat them then? You do eat them . . . right?"
"Of course, we eat them, but only for tea. They are too sweet for breakfast."
The couple went on their way, and Chris anxiously looked and me and said in a hushed tone,
"Do you think we should get something else?"
"No, we are in Belgium! We will eat Belgium waffles and we will each them with chocolate."
And we did. 
And they were fabulous. 
It was like eating a cookie for breakfast. 
And it was totally worth every penny we over paid. 

We took a tour of the Chocolate museum. Very informative. 
At the end of the tour, there was a chocolate demonstration with samples, of course!
1,500+ beers are brewed in the tiny county of Belgium! 


The biggest bratwurst ever. We had to try one. 
For our final meal, Chris and I decided to try a 5 Euro bratwurst at the outdoor Christmas market. I was not super hungry (or so I said), so I just asked for a few bites of Chris'. There was a long line (which made me think that the food must be pretty good), but it moved quickly. Two men were furiously cooking bratwursts, frying onions, and lathering the buns in ketchup and mustard. I sent Chris to the front of the line as I snapped away on the camera. 

The best ever!
OH MY GOODNESS! It was so good! Absolutely delightful! We could not stop eating! That bratwurst was our favorite meal in Belgium, and it was the cheapest by far! 


I kept asking for one more bite . . .  and then for another. . . . suddenly the massive bratwurst disappeared and we were still hungry for more. Chris said we had to buy a second one because I was obviously hungrier then I had initially let on. It was just so good, I wanted one more bite!

We left Bruges with full bellies and promises of a return trip in the Spring.