We loved Brugge the minute we arrived. It is so pretty and so clean. And if the beautiful mix of Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic architecture isn't enough, Brugge is surrounded by canals that weave through the city making it even more picturesque.
But first, the hotel. Hotel Heritage was the perfect place to spend four nights. Everything about this hotel is pretty and we loved it. So, bear with me as I show you around (I was a little camera-happy).
|Hotel Heritage Lobby|
The lobby was welcoming and comfortable.
The sitting area was cozy and I would have loved to spend more than 5 minutes in this room. But you know what it's like when you are traveling--you rest when you go to bed at night!
The breakfast room. Through the mirror you get a glimpse of the handpainted ceiling. It was always quiet in this room because Leslie and I were usually the first ones up and at 'em.
Even the hallway outside the elevator had style. I know it's odd to take the above pic but I loved the colors and the trim work.
And after one not-so-lovely night in Brussels, we were thrilled to walk into our room and find ample space and lots of comforts including a desktop computer for our use (no extra charge).
As is usually the case when you reserve a twin bedded room in Europe, you will find that the beds are set-up like this--but you pull back the covers and two beds appear which can be pushed apart for a bit of space. The bathroom was also great but I'll spare you the details (although the bathroom amenities by Hermes were mighty fine.)
OK, back to the city. Brugge is an easy walking and biking town (which I love since I don't live in that type of city). We immediately got going with our map to begin navigating the twisting and winding streets usually using various spires and towers as our "you are here" points. Leslie is a stellar map reader, me--not so much. If left alone I would resort to leaving breadcrumbs strewn along the paths. If I did that at home, the rotten birds would just eat them up, but the birds in Belgium seemed better behaved.
Water everywhere. I don't know about you, but when I see bodies of water I immediately relax. My brain knows I'm on vacation since I live in the dry, arid, desert (which actually I love).
We figured we road a solid five hours. We stopped for lunch, dinner, and a break in-between (see Leslie above).
In the late afternoon, as we rode along the cobble-stoned streets we heard music--for a minute it seemed as if we were in some magical place with its own theme song. As we rounded the corner we came upon a dance class. It was if a director said, "Action! Cue the music".
In the Burg Square, a talented family put on an impromptu mini-concert. These kids were excellent. Quite a nice crowd gathered for this free (but we tipped, of course) unannounced music-fest.
Sunset reflecting on the Government Palace. Part of the above picture is the post office--yep, just like home.
Waterzooi. My oh my. This was my favorite Belgian food (other than chocolate and waffles, of course). Gorgeous chunks of fresh fish in a sauce spiced with dill, tomatoes, watercress, and no doubt cream. This was served at den Gouden Karpel Restaurant which is famous for its fresh fish. I wish I had had the sense to ask for the recipe because it was the best fish stew I've ever eaten. Waterzooi (fish stew) is a famous Belgian dish and very popular with the locals. And its such a pretty dish, no?
Belgian waffles covered in strawberries and fresh cream--basic Belgian street food. Don't you love street food?
I liked best with powdered sugar. The sugar enhanced the caramelized, crisp edges.
Heaven might also be known as Dumon Chocolatier. Cute Mrs. Dumon pictured above. We heroically tested all sorts of chocolates and determined we liked Dumon's the best.
Plus, I loved Mrs. Dumon's darling shop. We stopped by so often that she actually waved to us from the window (slightly embarassing).
My new Belgian boyfriend, didn't get his name. He hopped in the picture since it was taking some time for Leslie to get the shot given the number of passers-by. Glad we weren't on bikes that day--it was very crowded. But even with the crowds I loved this city.
Next up: Flanders Fields