The Flemish architecture of Brugge

The Flemish architecture of Brugge

BELGIUM

During my weeklong winter European whirlwind, I planned to spend 3 days in Belgium. There was something about it that intrigued me. My brother had gone the year before to visit a friend and he loved it, so I thought I would check it out.  We were training from Amsterdam to Brussels, which was around 2-3 hours long. We arrived in Brussels Central station, and hailed a cab to lug our massive luggage/purchases around. The difference when you travel with a girlfriend is that a lot more shopping goes on. We actually both ended up buying another set of luggage each to bring our new possessions home in.

We stayed at the Thon Hotel City Centre, and it was a great location to access the adorable streets of Brussels. We freshened up and started our journey through the winding, chocolate scented streets. I’m not exaggerating when I say everything smelled like chocolate. The truffles, the waffles, the Godiva shops, anyone would fall off the diet bandwagon at a place like this. First things FIRST- we needed to stuff our faces with as much chocolate as humanly possible. We both decided on a large waffle with chocolate sauce, whipped cream and strawberries (the strawberries strategically placed so we didn’t seem like such fatties) and a large Godiva hot chocolate topped with a mountain of whipped cream. Well, there go the months of working out to get in shape for this trip down the tubes.  It was worth it, I don’t even care.

Now that we are full and having slight remorse, we start off the day of sight seeing at the centre of it all. The Grand Place. It was unreal- it was a square towered by a gold palace surrounding it on one side and regal looking buildings on the other side. Unfortunately it was winter, so there were no patios open, but I saw photos from my brother’s trip of this whole square filled with people everywhere enjoying drinks on these amazing patios. Regardless it was still spectacular to see. Like Prague, it had a medieval feel to it all. I felt like I was a princess in a time warp, in front of the castle. 

The weather wasn’t the greatest, so we continued the wander through the streets, umbrella in hand. We past many royal looking buildings, did some window shopping, popped in an out of boutiques and finished our day at the long stretch of shopping on Neuvaux Street (where I got re-acquainted with my friend Bershka) We had a lovely dinner that night at a cool building entwined through Brussels narrow streets called Drug Opera (Interesting name, but great food.) We finished the evening with a nightcap at Delirium. The tiny bar, noticed along the street with the pink elephant on the sign. Delirium has over 2000 types of beers to try. I tried the Banana and the Cherry beer. Both delicious.

The next day we woke up, got ready and headed to the Brussels Nord train station and made our way to the enchanting medieval town of Bruges. It was SO DARLING, I couldn’t get over it. Everything was so pretty- the canal, the boats, and that same chocolate scent lingering through the streets.

I loved the architecture; it is a Flemish Region so the Lego-looking buildings were truly original and charming. It is quite a romantic town, lots of couple’s site seeing- I was with a girlfriend and we were on a mission to see as much as we could while the rain held out. There really wasn’t a ton to do as far as museums and such, but just being there was enough. Whatever shape or image you could want, they make it out of chocolate- even things for bachelor/bachelorette parties, if you get my drift.  We had a lovely romantic fire-side lunch, just us gals, took some more pictures of horse drawn carriages & castle looking churches then headed back for a final few hours in Brussels. 

This is when my diet went even further south. We hit up a “Frites” stand and treated ourselves to some traditional home made fries, which were delightful and then went to buy chocolates for our friends and family back home. I bought a multi-pack from Bruyerre for the fam and then headed to the truffle shop next door because the chocolaty scent was wafting into the streets. SO many home made truffles in here, I didn’t know what to choose. I decided on 6 different types of truffles, which cost about 15 dollars but at this point who cares. The most embarrassing part of it all is that I ate them ALL within 15 minutes and had to make the walk of shame back in to get 10 more. There go almost 30 of the best-spent dollars ever.

That night we went for dinner at a place I am not too sure of, but it reminded me of a Belgian style Cheese Cake Factory. We were so tired from the day; we went back to the hotel to pack, needing to literally sit on our suitcases to do them up. (Even after buying a new set of luggage- sorry credit card!) Lots of great shopping here, lots of great architecture and LOTS of ways to spoil your diet. I will definitely be making my way back here one summer time where I can see this beautiful city at a different season. 

The Demise of my diet 

The Demise of my diet 

The canals in Brugges

The canals in Brugges