{Belgium} One Day in Brussels & Bruges

· Canals, swans, and waffles of course! ·

August 22, 2016 0 Comments

On our honeymoon in 2012, one of our destinations was Brussels.  We were there on Christmas day and the city was filled with Christmas Markets and Christmas spirit.  The Grand Place was packed with people and there was delicious food and vin chaud to be found everywhere we looked.  It was a magical and wonderful time to be in the city.  We couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like in the summer.  And we also wondered about the beautiful city just to the north, Bruges.  When we had a short weekend available and found a very inexpensive plane ticket {hello 18€} we decided to stop wondering and go see what Belgium had to offer in the summertime.

Of course, the first thing we did was retrace our steps through the Grand Place and to the same shop where we enjoyed our very first Belgian waffles 4 years ago! 🙂 I can confirm, they were every bit as good as we remembered them being!  Another must, was stopping into our favorite chocolate shop in Brussels, Neuhaus, and picking up a couple of boxes of their assorted chocolates.  The Grand Place is one of the most amazing places we have visited.  The architecture in this square is right up there at the top of our favorite places.

Once our short tour down honeymoon memory lane was over, we drove to Bruges. On this drive we proceeded to eat half of the said chocolates from Neuhaus.  {Being an adult is great, isn’t it?}  We were stuck in traffic for longer than in desirable, so the chocolates were definitely a survival kit.

Speaking of chocolate, we had wanted to stop by this adorable little chocolate shop, in Bruges, that we had read about called Dumon.  Unfortunately, it was closed for summer holiday.  Supposedly, in addition to their amazing chocolates, they also have a hot chocolate bar.  I guess this gives me a reason to go back.  Possibly during the colder months?  I can’t imagine a nicer time then keeping warm in a cozy little chocolate shop and sipping hot chocolate, can you?

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Bruges is a pretty little city that is easily done in a day.  Since our trip was delayed by traffic and construction, we missed one of the tours I was looking forward to that takes you from the canals of Bruges to Damme.  The cruise is supposed to be very pretty with old windmills and dreamy tree lined canal banks and sadly, we missed this.  Next time, in addition to making this tour, I’d also like to rent a bike, because we saw many bike trails in the countryside during our trip into Bruges that looked like a very lovely time.

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Due to the lack of time and the abundance of the generic “hop-on” canal tours, we made like tourists do and joined the crowd.  The tour itself wasn’t anything special, but it was still a nice time.  Being able to see the canals from the water is truly the best.  The “Venice of the North” is a beautiful city full of historical architecture, and the views from the water are even better than the views from the street.  We really felt like we were in a different world while visiting this unique city.  It was also very nice to see all the swans up close.  The canals really seemed to belong to them, alone.

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I also appreciated the houses on the canals.  I was fascinated by their walled gardens and tiny stoops only a step away from the canal water below.

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The last place we stopped by, aside from a couple of hours of walking around the city, was the Princely Béguinage Ten Wijngaerde, which was originally founded in the 13th century, and is now inhabited by Benedictine nuns.  It is such a peaceful and picturesque place, and I am so sad to say that all the photos I took from this part of our day in Bruges have unfortunately been overwritten during transfer.  I was so upset when I realized that they had been deleted, because we visited right as the sun was on its way down and it was a very pretty time of the day to visit this special place.  Paul managed to get a couple of photos on the GoPro before we entered, but they don’t do it justice.  It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Bruges.

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