Our time in Belgium was cut shorter than planned and a bit stressful, but I will get to that later. We enjoyed our time in Brussels and Bruges and they are both what I would deem quite livable cities.
We left London and ventured out of the United Kingdom and into the continent, headed for Belgium. After a quick shot through the Chunnel, we arrived in Brussels and made our way to our B&B which was essentially a studio apartment. It was beautiful and in a very nice location. We spent the first afternoon getting our bearings and looking around. We didn’t really have a plan and this was the perfect city for the plan to be lacking.
With the French influence everywhere you looked, Brussels seems to be designed for wandering. Small, narrow cobbles streets and grand plazas filled the city, making it a great place to get a little lost. We tried our first REAL Belgian Waffles, I got Nutella and bananas and Erik had strawberries and cream. We had dinner in our room: a bottle of wine, bagget, cheese, and salami, watched a movie and called it an early night.
The following day I went down for breakfast and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. We have had very standard continental breakfasts: toast, jam, cereal, and instant coffee. This however was a whole new world of travel breakfast: hard boiled egg, croissant, toast, cereal, fruit, yogurt, REAL coffee, REAL orange juice, and a variety of Belgian spreads. Now when you have been traveling for 3-weeks without consistent access to a kitchen and a tendency to sleep through breakfast it is the small things like orange juice and a hard boiled egg that make your day. It really was an excellent breakfast and I got to try a bunch of Belgian spreads: a variation on Nutella, a fruit spread (which was excellent), and Spekuloos which I think was made of graham crackers. We explored the city again, saw the royal palace, visited a church, wandered through the streets, and put my limited knowledge of french to the test when we sat down for lunch. I managed without too many heart palpitations to communicate and we had lunch and tried Belgian beer. Again we had a relatively early night as our feet were bothering us and again had dinner in the room: waffles, wine, and chocolate!The next morning after a second wonderful breakfast we set off for Bruges. This is another beautiful Belgian city with very evident German influence. Whereas French was the primarily language in Brussels, German was spoken almost exclusively in Bruges. We got a weird hotel and wound up spending most of the afternoon there as it was raining rather heavily. It was here in Bruges shortly after we arrived, that we discovered we would not be able to take a train from Belgium to Italy as we had planned. So we were not too disappointed by the wet weather, as we had a new plan to hatch, research, and figure out. Unfortunately for our budgets we were forced to cut our time in Belgium short and book a flight to Rome. We spent our last day in Bruges exploring the area and wandering the streets as the weather was beautiful! We had a nice morning in historic Bruges before getting on a train back to Brussels and starting our travel day from hell.
Everything worked itself out and we arrived in Italy after not too much trouble where we met up with my friend Rachel.