One of the huge perks about living in England is that we're within pretty easy reach of a lot of other European countries. France is the closest and easiest for us to get to and there's a ferry that goes from Dover to Calais. We've taken it before to get to Paris, but this weekend, we, along with Liz and Tim, decided to go hop the Ferry and drive from Calais to Belgium. It took us about 4 hours or so (including the drive to Dover and the 1 hour ferry ride) to get to the city of Brugge.
When we got there, we stopped into a little cafe to have some lunch and thus began our weekend of amazing food. After we ate, we headed out into the city. It was absolutely gorgeous! The architecture in Belgium is amazing... we had such an amazing time just walking around the city looking at all the different buildings. Also, we didn't think Brugge was going to be that big of a city, but it was huge! We kept walking around and finding what seemed like endless streets.
The best thing about Brugge is the chocolate shops. I swear, every where you look, there's a chocolate shop. It was a chocoholic's dream! I think we walked into probably 20 shops and that wasn't even half of them. All the shops were different, but they all smelled AMAZING! The minute you walked through the door, all you smelled was chocolate.
Blocks of chocolate complete with hammers to break it up!
Leopard print chocolate...awesome!
We did a really bad job of actually learning about the city and what the different buildings and stuff were. It was probably the first trip we've taken where we didn't really learn the history of where we were. We had actually planned on taking a Horse and Carriage tour of the city, but we ran out of time. Honestly though, I'm okay with that... just walking around and enjoying a beautiful city is worth more than knowing tons about it. Brugge definitely fit the picture I always had of European cities.
Oh, and of course, we had Belgian Waffles!!! Incredible!
After a day of walking around Brugge, we drove another hour to the Capital; Brussels to stay the night. Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, but its also the European capital. The EU headquarters are there, which we thought was pretty cool. We ended up getting to our hotel pretty late in the evening and when we went to check in we found out that they only had 2 rooms left... the Executive Suite and the Presidential Suite! Liz and Tim ended up with the executive suite and Christopher and I somehow ended up in the Presidential Suite! AND we both ended up paying the 95 euro's we originally planned on. That stuff NEVER happens to us! It was awesome!
Our room was incredible! We walked in to an awesome living room with leather furniture, a fireplace, view of the botanical gardens, and a mini-bar complete with a Nespresso Machine (I think this was Christopher's favorite part). After the living room was a huge bedroom with a king sized bed. The bathroom was walled in by glass, so you could see straight through it from the bedroom. The bathroom was incredible... I've pretty much took notes for our dream bathroom. We had a massive bowl shaped bathtub, sauna, rain shower, double sink, and heated floors. After the bathroom, there was a fitness room with a stair stepper and a stationary bike. It was most definitely the nicest hotel room we have ever stayed in! I looked online that night and if we'd decided to stay in that room the next night, it would have been over 500 euros!
Standing in the bathroom looking into the bedroom
On Easter Sunday we woke up, had some breakfast and headed out into the city of Brussels. It was a lot more industrial and dirtier than we all thought it would be. The way the streets were designed was ridiculous. There were one way streets that weren't marked well til after you'd turned down them and it was just nuts. Needless to say, we didn't spend much time in Brussels. We all voted to head back down to Brugge for the rest of the day.
One of the many cathedrals in Brussels
Awesome building we drove by in Brussels
Once we got into Brugge, we stopped and had lunch at a cafe and it was awesome! We had Moules and Frites (Mussels and fries), which is a big thing in Belgium and a crepe with chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries. Both were delicious!
After lunch, we walked around more of Brugge (including walking into more chocolate shops) before heading back to Calais to catch the ferry back to England. It was a really quick trip, but it was really awesome. I really didn't have any sort of expectations for Belgium. It was one of those places I wanted to visit because it was so close and accessible to us, but I really didn't know what to expect. Brugge, especially, was amazing. It might be one of my favorite places that we've been. It was quaint without being small, the food was great, they had more chocolate than people, and I dont know, it was just a great time!