This morning we decided to take a day trip, and where better to day trip to than Belgium! Yes, we loaded ourselves onto the train and 3 hours later arrived in Bruges. For mor information on this adorable town consult the post titled “We did enough dark halls at the last place!” or any of the 3 posts after. The trip was not overly exciting, just a shop & wander day, but that was exactly what we were looking for. We walked around the various tourist & non-tourist shops until we found the market squares. This central square had a raised platform in it’s center and little market stalls all around it. The stalls were mainly food & treat vendors, but some also had crafts, jewelry & toques. The platform held a small skating rink. The degree for which everything had been Christmas-a-fied was magnificent!
As a break for our feet and to warm up a little we sat down for waffle and tea/coffee. We couldn’t come to Belgium and not have one last Belgian waffle…and by now the thought of eating them doesn’t even make Justine want to throw up anymore! It was a waffle with just powdered sugar on it…simple & sweet 🙂
By this point we couldn’t believe we were yet to visit a chocolate shop! You may recall that the place is teeming with them! We popped into Dumont, the Rick Steves recommended place, and noticed they had a Christmas card from the Steves Family…Kris was super jealous! We picked up a box to munch on…yum! yum! yum! We visited a few other chocolatiers on our way back to the center. Here we parked ourselves at the boards of the skating rink and analyzed everyone’s abilities. We wanted to be out there soooooo badly, but didn’t want to go out in rental skates. They were crappy, molded plastic…not cool to skate snobs like us! Instead we laughed when people fell and rejoiced when someone who had any skill took to the ice.
Our plan was to recreate the wonderous supper we had not once but twice during our previous visit to Bruges…but the gods of spaghetti seemed to be against us. The restaurant where we had chowed down on super cheap, super delicious pasta had closed the kitchen until 6 o’clock, and seeing as we had to be on a train at 6:58 this didn’t give us enough time to eat….especially since we anticipated we’d get lost finding the station. Instead we found another restaurant on the same side street and ate an early dinner there. Justine still had spaghetti, while Kristin opted for the ham & cheese omlette. The food was yummy enough to make up for the dinner disappointment.
After supper we went back to the market square to see it all lit up. We have this whole thing down: you need to eat supper early enough that you are inside while it gets dark, then when you go back out it’s into a Christmas wonderland! The important buildings were floodlit (as all important buildings in Europe always are at night) but the rest of the square was colorfully decorated with festive cheer. Around the skating rink were magical white lights to match the white tree in it’s center. We watched a bit more skating until we were too cold and headed towards the rail station.
On the way we munched on caramel popcorn (for Justine) and sugared nuts (for Kristin). As expected, we got a little lost, but the historic center is a circle with a ring road so once you get to the edge it’s easy enough to get anywhere. When we boarded the train we realized this was the last time we would be using our Eurail passes…they have done us well! We have taken 89 trains, 2 buses, 1 boat and several metros thanks to those passes…money well spent!
What We Missed:
Skating…or more specifically, our skates.
Love, Luck & Lipton Teas,