When in Bruges…


So, FINALLY, we arrived in Belgium.

It started snowing in the Holland/Belgium area yesterday morning. So we thought, JUST in case, we’ll go in early and make sure our train was cancelled. Well, sure enough… it was cancelled. We were supposed to take a Fyra high speed train, but apparantly the cold weather damaged the trains and now they’re banned from entering belgium. So, we spent all morning trying to get switched onto another high speed train with a different carrier. We were one of the last people who got tickets onto that train, thank God! The only thing that was a bit annoying, was that we had to switch trains in Antwerp, but that wasn’t too bad. It was however FREEZING!! So we finally arrive in Brussels where we were going to rent a car from Budget. We arrived, and all the car rental companies were there…. except budget. So we finally figured out that we had to take a short shuttle to the local airport hotel, where they were located. By the time we arrived, they had closed 15 minutes before we arrived…. and we had prepaid for our rental car. Needless to say, we were pretty irritated at this point. We took the shuttle back to the airport, and the first rental car company, no one was at the desk. The second one, they were completely booked until the next day. The 3rd one, it was 200 euros to rent the car, and then finally the 4th one, we were able to get a rental car for cheaper. By the way… remember when I mentioned it had been snowing all day? Yep, we drove an hour to Bruges in about 5 inches of snow, which had only been halfway cleared (probably mostly by other cars driving on it). So we finally made it to where we were staying… Woohoo! Quickly, here are some photos from yesterday…

Train station in Antwerp, Belgium

Walking around Bruges at night with the snow

Small square in Bruges

our yummy Italian dinner. It was so authentically Italian that the speaker was speaking to us (and his staff) in Italian .. Thank god I know enough restaurant Spanish to have understood what he was saying!

Then we stopped at a little pub/bar area to try a few of the trappist beers. Toby’s goal is to try at least one from each brewery while we are here. The first one was the Rochefort, which was SURPRISINGLY good! and this is coming from me, who does not like beer.

Then, while looking through the menu, I found this… (mom and Grandma Rich, I thought you’d like this one…)

Sorry it's sideways, but it says "Provincie Brabrant"

Sorry it’s sideways, but it says “Provincie Brabrant”

For those of you who don’t know, Brabrant is my grandmother’s maiden name. And apparantly, there is a Province here called Brabrant.

Next, we tried the Achel Trappist beer. It was pretty good, although in my opinion not as good as the first one (the Rochefort)

The next day (today), we got up to drive to the Westvleteren brewery. This is one of those trappist beers where the monks make the beer and the cheese that they sell. They have special rules around the beer at this brewery as well. You are only allowed to pick up a case every sixty days. To make sure you do not do it more than then, they record your license plate number, phone number, and name. They also don’t always keep each kind of beer they make in stock, so you’re stuck with what you get. ALSO they are only open certain days, and you are limited how many cases you can buy, and their beer is not sold anywhere else but there. So we were pretty worried that we weren’t going to get any. Anyway, we made the trek out. Luckily the highways were pretty clear, it was the small streets that got ya…

We finally found the brewery!

Toby was pretty excited (and nervous) about seeing if they had their beer. (Which by the way was awarded best beer in the world!)

Luckily they had some! Toby was on cloud 9!

We got some cases!

They also had a little restaurant there, so we sat and each drank one and had some food.

We got back, and we were going to try to have a hot chocolate and waffles at a well known chocolate and waffles place here in Bruges, but they were closed today. So we’re going to try again tomorrow. However, we did walk around town a little bit.

Then, we went to dinner tonight at a place called Ribs ‘n Beer where we ate yummy ribs and had some more trappist beer

All in all, it’s been a pretty great time in Bruges so far. Both of kind of wish we would have come straight here and skipped Amsterdam, ha ha. It’s such a great city, it’s almost eerie how quiet this town is after about 6:30 or 7pm. And the town is beautiful! I can’t imagine how beautiful this town must be in the summer!

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