Bruges Other Sights (EuroTrip Day 7)

I finally have reached the end of our April 2016 trip to Amsterdam and Belgium. I will have two more posts wrapping up the Belgian food scene and a wrap up post of other tips, but this is the final activities post. This post details how we spent the rest of our day after our morning visiting the Markt Square and a taking canal cruise.

After our canal cruise, we were a bit chilled from the wind so we headed to the famous Old Chocolate House to warm up with cups of hot chocolate. They have a shop on the ground floor, but the real attraction is visiting their second floor tea room for the hot chocolate. Reviews also mention they serve tasty waffles, but we just opted for the hot chocolate. When you order hot chocolate, they bring out a bring cup of steaming milk with cups of whichever type of chocolate you ordered. You can add as much of the chocolate to the cup of milk as you like. We both dumped in the whole cup of chocolate into the milk. It’s simply perfection. I went with the white chocolate option, while Brian chose the Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate option.

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Bruges Canal Cruise (EuroTrip Day 7)

We had taken a canal cruise while in Amsterdam, but we weren’t going to miss taking a second canal cruise while in Bruges. A Bruges canal cruise is a more simple affair than in Amsterdam. You don’t have the options of pizza cruises and booze cruises, or at least that we found. But we enjoyed our small boat canal cruise through Bruges. There are several tour start and end locations, so basically chose whichever one is most convenient for you. During peak season and times, there can be a wait for a cruise. We did ours fairly early in the morning when we noticed the sun was starting to peak out. There wasn’t a long line and while we had to wait a little bit before the next cruise left, we got on the first one that left after we paid.

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Flashback: Athens, Greece 2011

After visiting Meteora, we drove into Athens. Our rental car company had arranged for us to drive to the hotel and they would pick up the car there. That was an interesting adventure being in the middle of the 2011 riots in Athens. We drove through a small one and witnessed spray painting all over a bus. Luckily they ignored our car and we made it to the hotel safe and sound without too much trouble navigating the busy streets. We arrived early evening and after checking into our hotel, we looked through our Athens guide to see if there was open later in the evening that we could visit before dinner.

As it turns out there was and we headed to the Acropolis Museum. The building itself is absolutely gorgeous and the collection of artifacts are both interesting and beautifully displayed. The museum was built to display artifacts found at the Acropolis and was redesigned and reopened in 2009. The building was designed with large glass wraparound windows in order to allow visitors to have a view of the Acropolis while viewing artifacts from there. The museum displays a variety of artifacts from sculptures that were from the Acropolis temples to objects used in historical Athens to the main display the sculptures from the Parthenon frieze. When we were there, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the museum, but it looks now you can in certain galleries without the use of flash.

Our first full day in Athens, we spent the majority of the day seeing the biggest sights throughout the city. Part of what makes me love Athens so much is how the modern city has been built around all these ancient historical sights. You’ll be walking down a street lined with shops and restaurants and then turn the corner and there’s the Acropolis or Ancient Agora or another smaller sight. It’s what made me fall in love with the city in 2009 and only cemented it in 2011. It’s not the cleanest city or the nicest, but for some reason, Athens has my heart. It’s one of my favorite cities in my favorite country and I know that I’ll be back to uncover more of what this city has to offer.

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February 2017

My 2017 resolution was to keep a better record of my day to day life, so I started doing monthly recaps. They aren’t going to be too exciting to most people, but more of a way for myself to be able to look back with better clarity on other events in my life. The biggest event of February was my husband’s car dying on his birthday and having to buy a new car. We had planned to start looking in March, but the death of his alternator and drive belt meant a $1300 repair on a car with almost 300,000 miles on it. Basically not even worth it, so we went car shopping a month early. We ended up with a Subaru Outback, which was what he had been leaning towards anyway even if we had had more time to really look around and shop for a deal.

New car

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Bruges Markt Square Area (EuroTrip 2016 Day 7)

For our final day in Belgium, we took a day trip to Bruges (or Brugge) from Brussels. Originally we had planned on basing ourselves in Bruges over Brussels, but the easier connections to various cities made Brussels a more logistical choice. We made visiting Bruges on a day trip a priority however. Bruges is a popular day trip choice from multiple cities throughout Europe and therefore tends to be very crowded in the middle of the day between 10am-4pm. I would love to come back here and be able to stay overnight and experience a completely different city. However, we did make a very early train from Brussels to Bruges and arrived before 9am.

Domestic train travel within Belgium is incredibly easy and all you have to do is buy a ticket for your destination and you can take any train that day. It provides nice flexibility on when to arrive and depart from a city and allowed us freedom once in Bruges without having to worry about making a certain train on the way back. Upon arriving in Bruges, you can easily take a bus into the city center but it’s not a very far walk and thus that was our choice. As a nice bonus, the city was fairly empty and quiet still and we enjoyed walking the streets and having them mostly to ourselves. This changed quickly and by the time we walked back to the train station at the end of the day, there were plenty of people everywhere.

Bruges

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Brussels Upper Town (EuroTrip Day 6)

Our last day in Brussels was spent visiting a variety of sights around the city. We had started our morning at Atomium, but were slightly underwhelmed by the attraction. Upon returning to the main tourists part of Brussels, we spent some time wandering around Lower Town again where we got to witness the Manneken Pis costume revealing ceremony. We had lunch reservations at a Michelin starred restaurant, Sea Grill, for lunch. I will detail that more in my food wrap up of Brussels. That took up most of our last day in Brussels, but we did have a little time left before attractions closed so we headed to the Upper Town area.

This will be a relatively short post as we didn’t have the opportunity to spend a lot of time in Upper Town. The Upper Town in Brussels surrounds the Royal Palace and is characterized by marble buildings and broader boulevards when compared to Lower Town. The majority of the city’s main museums are located here, though there are a few in Lower Town and a few even further away from the main districts.

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