Belgyumm, Chocolate, Waffles and Beer

Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
Trip End Oct 08, 2010

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Flag of Belgium  , West Flanders,
Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Ok then, just off to another country for the day, I'll be back in time for dinner". A phrase rarely uttered by an Australian. But in this case just going to Brugge (Or England) for the day is second nature for the Nord pas de Calais people.
We left the rolling green hills of France to the flat, farmed countryside of Belgium, with only a small sign to confirm the change of country. No checkpoint, so no stamp on the passport. The language changes from the language of love to the harder toned and spoken Flemish, so we were both out of our depths.
It was only a 1.5 hour trip and before we knew it we were standing in front of a statue with no map wondering which direction to take. Just head towards the big church tower I guess.
As usual mother nature blessed us with yet another cloudless and sunny day. The only clouds were the many jet streams going in almost every direction, this I am truly fascinated over. So first stop, you guessed it, the Church with the big tower. AKA St Saviour's Cathedral, with it's grand golden organ.
We then walked down the street of Steenstraat which looked to be the shopping street for clothes, and mixed in between are about 7 to 8 chocolate shops.
Ah Belgium, what a tempting but dangerous city to live, Chocolate, Waffles and Beer!! But looking around at the locals it doesn't show, they seem all fit and healthy, no obesity here. I wonder why? could it be that a large majority of locals cycle everywhere. It's amazing to see so many old people cruising the streets of Brugge in their two wheelers. 

The Brugge centre is easily walk-able, defined by the canal that circles it. Intertwined are smaller canals, the Venice of the North. The streets are mostly cobble stoned and the architecture is of a style of it's own. A majority of houses and buildings with terraced façades. 
We arrived in market square which houses the Belfry tower and government palace.
After indulging in a Chocolate Éclair we stopped in one of the major beer shops. I think it was called "Way 2 go". Along the path towards the "Pub" housed a wall of different Belgium beers accompanied with matching glasses. In the shop you could stay there for hours looking at all the different variety's of beer that you would want to buy, along with the glasses. I kept thinking that if they had this in Australia, how many people would collect the different beer bottles and matching glasses.

 A must in Brugge is to take a boat ride through the canals, yet another perspective to view the city. Other options are to take a guided bus, horse and cart or follow the tour leader holding the green flag.
We made our way through the cobbled streets to Astrid Park for some lunch. On such a beautiful day how could you not sit and enjoy. After a bite to eat we then followed the outer canal around and cut back in towards the town centre. Stopping by lake of love, the Beguinage and the Wijngaardplaats. Beguinage was built in the 13th Century and now houses nuns. 

We ended up on Katelijne Straat and grabbed one of the boating trips along the canal. The captain was pretty bilingual, but when it came to Japanese he had to play a recording and point.
The boat trip was really nice and it lets you enjoy the surroundings.
Upon disembarking the grand ship we were once tempted again by Waffles and cakes. Of course I had the chocolate with whipped cream waffle.
We made our way down Katelijne Straat with it's many many chocolate, waffles and embroidery shops to another towering church steeple, this time the Church of our lady. Unfortunately it was completely covered as they were doing renovations on pretty much the whole thing.
The day was coming to an end, so we did one last shop for some chocolate and beer supplies and headed back to the country of frogs legs and snails. 
Even though it was for one day and only a small part of Belgium was seen and experienced, I still enjoyed it immensely and loved what Brugge had to offer. It's definitely a city to see.
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