Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Arrival in Bruges
After a morning train ride from Paris, we arrived in Bruges, Belgium! Fortunately we had picked up some sandwiches before boarding, ate them on the train, and were able to get a flying start with sightseeing. Bruges has a fairly atmospheric old city, with lots of canals.
We took a quick walk through the market square and couldn’t resist picking up a real Belgium Waffle. Oh my goodness! I have never had anything like it! Such deliciousness! Chewy, sweet, flakey deliciousness! I will never again be able to look at the American version of a Belgian Waffle without remembering its superior cousin.
Canal Boat Tour
We decided that the best way to be introduced to the city was through a 30 minute canal boat tour. Super fun! Everyone enjoyed it, and even though the sun was beating down on us with no possibility of shade, at least the water seemed to cool off the breeze. We highly recommend doing this to get oriented to the town. It seemed that there are several different companies with different starting places along the old city canals.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from Bruges, but the reality was far superior to my imagination. A bit over the top, but in a good way. It reminded me a little of Rotenburg. This is a city – and a country – that I really want to come back to. In the fall of 2018, Jeremy was able to take a bike tour from Amsterdam to Paris, and spent 2 days biking through Belgium. So jealous!
Exploring the City
We then spent some time exploring the city, popping into a few churches, and even stopped by a Chocolate Museum. The ceiling art and the stained glass in one of the churches was exceptional! I particularly liked one window that showed Jesus teaching in the temple when he was a boy.
All of us also really enjoyed learning about the history of chocolate – in an air-conditioned building, and the boys were delighted by the “free” (with a ticket) chocolate bars they received. When I told them that they had to eat them before they melted, there were no complaints.
Dinner on the Square
For dinner, we decided to eat on the square. After getting rabbit in Prague several year before, James was anxious to try it again. Since this restaurant had it on the menu, we decided to go with it. Many times, a restaurant a block or so off the main square can be a better bet for food quality, but fortunately, this restaurant exceeded expectations! James’ rabbit was quite tender. My appetizer of shelled muscles in a delicious sauce with broiled cheese on top was amazing. The flemish beef stew was also quite good. And I traded away my fries for James’ wonderful potato croquettes. Topped with a delicious Belgium beer, and it was a really nice meal.
Playtime on the Square
After dinner, it was cooling off (sort of – does 85°F at 10:30pm with no AC count?) from the unusual hot spell, and the kids decided it would be fun to play tag on the square. Sometimes you need to make your own playground.
Next up: Amsterdam.