Friday, April 24, 2009


I am a BAD BLOGGER... I have been home since last Saturday and have a million pictures from my honeymoon and haven't written at all!
So, although I should totally be doing some work, particularly on my BowlAThon fundraiser that I'm hosting tomorrow (please check the link!), I will take a break and share, but just a little :)

We started our trip after a direct flight to Amsterdam, just for the night. Since we were only there for one day/night and were zombies due to the time change, I can sum up Amsterdam in few words... canals, bikes, Red Light, "coffeeshops", and a great dinner.

"Coffeeshop" is code...

This is where we had dinner, in our hotel's restaurant

The next day we got our car and took off for Bruges, Belgium. Bruges is the tourist capital of Belgium, and its easy to see why. The city is gorgeous, also with canals, and very medieval looking. It looks exactly like the movie "In Bruges", but there's no Colin Farrel. There's lots of history and tourist attractions there, lots to do, but also many restaurants to eat and and relaxing to be had. Add to that their world class chocolate, beer, waffles, and the best fries in the world, and we quickly settled in!

View from our hotel room

At the Church of Our Lady, one of the only Michaelangelo works outside of Italy

They really are the best fries in the world

View from the Belfry

At the FriteMuseum!

Bruges was the perfect way to start our trip. Its somewhere where you can choose to do as much or as little as you want and you don't feel guilty if all you feel like doing is walking around and eating fries and drinking beer...which we may have done on a couple of days. My tips for Bruges...

1. Tipping is completely optional. It is built into the cost. We had a very hard time adjusting to this, and felt guilty, so we usually left a couple of Euros. They must love Americans.

2. Its a great place to go if you don't want to worry about language barriers. Since its such a tourist destination, many people speak English as well as other languages, so its pretty easy to get around.

3. Make sure to eat fries, waffles, moules (mussels) and chocolates at least once, but if you eat them once, you're going to eat them again. I had 7 servings of fries in our 3 1/2 days there because fries are really one of my favorite foods and how can you not gorge yourself on your favorite food when its the best in the world? More on that and my love affair with cheese when we get to France...

4. Don't bother bringing heels to wear there. There are many cobblestone streets. Bring good walking shoes because you do a lot of walking.

5. You can totally get away with jeans every night at dinner, its a very casual place.

6. Tourist attractions we saw and enjoyed: The Belfry, Church of Our Lady, Hospital and Memling Museum (I was the only one that liked this), and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, where you can pray on a relic of Jesus' blood. We also went to the Frietmuseum, which at first glance appears to be geared toward kids, but there is a lot of information in there about potatoes, the fries, etc. For example, fries did not originate in France, but in Belgium. We call them "french fries" because Belgian soldiers brought them over here, but our soldiers thought they were French because of their accent.

7. We ate a great meal at Maria Van Bourgondie, the restaurant of our hotel. Its a short walk into a square, but totally worth it. Probably the fanciest of the restaurants we ate at. We both had steak and our first frites and it was all delicious.

We also enjoyed 't mozarthuys for frites and beers. They have the ever-popular steak on a stone, but we were never there for a whole meal so we didn't get it, although it smelled delicious. We liked this place for just grabbing a snack (snacks are HUGE in Bruges) or a beer outside. Its in its own little courtyard with a terrace and very relaxing to sit outside and enjoy a nice day.

8. Do NOT step out into the street without listening for horses! Bruges is very much a pedestrian town, but there are bikes and horse drawn carriages and the horses do not stop. This was one of the first things we were told when we got there.

9. I cannot recommend our hotel, Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce, enough. Our room was gorgeous, breakfast is delicious, the staff is unbelievably friendly and helpful, and there are drinks offered in the gathering room every night. It was almost too good to be true. And I'm sure this is common in all Belgian hotels, but the chocolates on our pillow every night didn't hurt, either.

10. Enjoy every second you're in Bruges. We loved it there and I believe it was Erm's favorite stop on the trip. We were sad to leave, but it was ok, because we were on our way to Champagne.

No comments: