So, it has been a little while since we've updated this blog ... but with the weather turning rather chilly - snow overnight and -2, it is a good excuse to get typing
After the Tour adventure, we wee keen to keep travelling - we had been given alot of good info about Brugges, it is close, very cute and famous for beer, moules (mussels) and chocolate - so why wouldn't we go...????
A quick rush to get the Eurostar across to Brussels on Friday after work and we were off. We decided to spoil ourselves and travel first class on the Eurostar - so after taking our plush seats, we were asked whether we'd care for any champagne - to which I responded 'Only one????' So after a couple of lovely glasses (yes real glass) we settled back as the train cruised out of St Pancras station and quickly accelerated through London and out to the east of England.
We were promptly delivered a menu to choose our entree and main course and naturaly the most important thing - the wine list. The biggest decision was whether to pair the rack of lamb with a Bordeaux or a Spanish Rioja - how terrible! The French waitress had me sussed out pretty quickly and after my third top up of wine - she decided to bring me 2 bottles each tie I gave her the nod.
We arrived at Brussels central and a quick change and out to Brugges - we were staying in a B&B in the old part of Brugges, and I had to phone Jacques (our host) when we arrived. I rang Jacques when we got to Brugges station - Jacques, I quickly learned, has 2 vocal volumes - very loud and zero. Although it was a 10 minute walk from the station to his B&B he insisted he picked us up from the station.
When we walked out of the front of the station, I had a feeling I was going to LOVE Brugges - I looked out over a sea of more than 1000 bicycles.
Jacques, was lovely, he gave us a quick spin around Brugges which lookd stunning at night and then took us to his B&B. Well, he informed us that his B&B was actually full and that we would be staying just down the street at a 'friend' of his .... ok, I got a little suspicious, but no problems. We arrived at the house, knocked on the door and waited and waited ... eventually we heard the pitter/patter of feet and the door opened. On top of dropping the suitecase, I also had to pick my jaw up from the floor .... standing in the door way was a lovely Belgian lass, blond hair, blue yes, very tanned (yes it was the sun bed type) and obviously she was getting herself ready for bed - she had a very, very skimpy pair of 'shorts' on and a singlet .... which barely covered a set of boobs that occupied their own postcode! See, I knew I'd love Brugges!
Anyway, onto the city - it was lovely, beautiful old churches, town squares, canals and people cycling around with beaming smiles ....... and the best bit ... it was lovely and warm!
We wandered around the town on Saturday - did a quick canel trip, which was just lovely. We managed to find a nice restaurant - a bit touristy, but I tucked into a big bowl of moules steamed in white wine and garlic and a large plate of frites (french fries) with mayonaise and of course a coule of glasses of very strong Belgian beer. The Belgains obviously have not heard of the 'mid strength/low alcohol' trend sweeping the conservative parts of the world ...... all oftheir beer is at least 7% alcohol .. and some of it upwards of 9% - so a few of these over lunch, sitting in the sun, makes for an intersting afternoon.
On the Sunday, Susan finally relented to my persistent moaning about hiring bicycles and touring around the city ... so we picked up some hire bikes from a one of the hundreds of bike shops and sought some advice on where to ride ... this was great. The shop owner told us about a cute village about 5kms from Brugges where you can ride along a canel, on a bikepath all the way - so this is what we did - and it was absolutely fabulous ..... Interestingly, if we kept riding for another 10kms, we could have crossed the border into the Netherlands - how cool, riding from one country to another! Like hundreds of other tourists and locals, we arrived in Damm, went straight to the local beer cafe and had a couple of beers and a plate of frites - YUM!