Belgium is one of those places that many people drive through without stopping. It's often considered a bit of a non-country, a few fields squished between France, Germany and Holland. After having spent last weekend in Brugge and Ypres, though, I would totally recommend it as a place to visit.
Belgium may have been so cold we half expected it to snow, and while there we had our first experience of the loud and obnoxious species, Drunken English Yobbos, but it was a lovely weekend nonetheless. First, it really is the land of beer and chocolate. The chocolate shops are everywhere, selling some of tastiest chocolate I have ever eaten, in various shapes, sizes, and flavours.I didn't want to post a photo of some of the R18 chocolate we saw
The beer was also in a league of its own. I discovered that my new favourite beer is cherry flavoured, and Tane discovered that drinking the 12.5% stuff at lunch is not as good an idea as you might think. Apparently in Belgium normal 5% is called 'table beer' and given to children it is considered so weak. A tiny section of the beer shop
Brugge, in particular, was lovely. It's a small town filled with either medieval or mock medieval buildings, as well as houses that look like they ought to be made with candy. We met and hung out with some great Australians, sampling chocolate, talking about the chocolate, sampling beer, swapping beer, complaining about feeling ill from too much chocolate, then buying some more. In between times, we also did a canal cruise which not only got us away from the chocolate shops but showed us Brugge at its best.
In a vain attempt to counter the excessive chocolate consumption, we also climbed the 300+ stairs to the Brugge Belfry. Climbing the tiny stairs was an effort, but the view from the top very much worth it, as was having the bells ring while up there. Lucky I am part of the i-pod generation that is accustomed to loud noises in my ears, although I won't be downloading "sound of bells while 2 metres away" any time soon.From the topThe way down. You would not want to try that after some 12.5%, that's for sure.
Tane will do a write up on the WWI sites we also saw while there later in the week as it didn't feel appropriate to entitle this entry 'The land of beer, chocolate, and en masse death in the trenches'. In the meantime though I will leave you with a photo of us in Brugge, and then go and eat the last of my chocolate.