We left at 6am Monday morning for a long bus ride to Belgium. When we got to the white cliffs of Dover our trip became even longer. Our ferry across the channel had been canceled do to technical difficulties so we had to wait an extra two hours. This wouldn’t have been too bad of we could have maybe visited Dover castle or explored the town for that time. But, we had already checked in and so we couldn’t leave the dock. I just sat on the bus and read my book which wasn’t too bad at all.
|We were on the bus a lot this trip!|
We finally got on the ferry around 11. I liked the ferry haha. I got to eat my lunch in a comfy chair overlooking the English Channel, play some card games and watch a great tennis match on a TV (it’s going to be so weird to have one again). Then we had a few hours on the bus to Brugge. Brugge is AMAZING!! I had no idea what to expect of Belgium, but it might just be my favorite country we’ve been to. If I had to pick one word to describe Brugge I would say quaint. I actually think that word might have been invented just for the purpose of describing this city. It was really something out of a fairy tale. All the streets are cobblestone and all the buildings are small and squished together. There is a canal that runs through the city and it’s looks like a little touch of Venice. To add to the amazingnesss, the weather was glorious; I didn’t wear my coat once. After we checked into our ibis, we walked through the city to get a feel of it and then we took a boat tour. The boat tour was SO beautiful! The lighting was perfect and the town is just so… quaint:) For dinner we went to a restaurant right on the main square and got delicious omelets; for some reason we were all really craving them. Belgium is also famous for their fries, which they call frites, so we had to stop by a frite shop to accompany our omelets- yes, they do have whole restaurants for just frites. They were very yummy and unlike any French fry I have ever tasted.
|The main square|
|Me and my Annie before the boat cruise|
|On the boat|
|Cruisin on the river|
We walked up and down the streets a bit more and then we couldn’t help but visit one of the hundreds of chocolates shops. I wasn’t really hungry but I knew I had to try just one Belgian chocolate; after all, that is what they are famous for- well, that and waffles, but we’ll get there later:) Anyway, Belgian chocolate is beyond amazing!!! I don’t think I will ever have chocolate again once I come back to the US because it doesn’t even compare haha. We spent the night in our room having a girl party full of chatting and tv-fun.
Tuesday morning Paige and I got up early for a run. Brugge was extra fun to run on because of the rivers and canals and sunshine and flowers and pretty much just everything! It was gorgeous. The breakfast at the hotel was also really good. In the morning, we had an appointment as a big group for the chocolate museum. It was interesting to see how chocolate is made and it’s history, it was kind of like walking through an episode of unwrapped on the food network. After the “choco story”, we headed out to try the famous Belgian waffles. We found this little shop that was making them fresh and we each got them…. To our great disappointment they were nothing special. Tasted a little better than like a Denny’s waffle:( We were sad. But, nothing could ruin Brugge! Paige, Carly and I hikes the 366 stairs to the top of the highest tower in the center square of town. It was SO worth the hike! It was a gorgeous view; kind of reminded me of Prague. When we got back down to the bottom, we found our friends at the favorite frite stop and headed up to the grocery to buy water and I ended up getting lunch. I got a baguette, ham and cheese to make a sandwich and apples too!
|Biggest Chocolate Egg!|
|Hey look! We’re pieces of Chocolate!|
|We look happy.. but this was the bad waffle|
|Love these little streets|
|The big tower in the center “market” or square|
|A better picture of the Tower|
|Views from the top of the 366 stair tower|
|The itsy bitsy stairwell we climbed up|
We saw yet another waffle place and these ones looked really good, so in an effort to redeem our idea of a Belgian waffle we all bought one to split…. It was incredible!! Like no waffle I have ever tasted! Nothing will ever compare, the end.:) to wrap up our time in Brugge, we soaked up the sun, walked around and bought souvenirs. I was so sad to leave Brugge and I am determined to go back.
At least we didn’t leave Belgium (my new favorite country). We drove to Ieper. There we went to the Flanders field WWI museum. It was an amazing museum an I learned so much, I really enjoyed it. Afterward, Paige and I went to look at the Merien Gate. It’s this huge WWI monument/arch with the names of thousands of British soldiers who lost their lives in the trenches of WWI in the surrounding area. Then Paige and I walked on top of the wall that surrounds the city. Yet again, Ieper was a quaint and pretty little town with a beautiful cathedral in the middle.
Then it was off to France! I had only been to Paris so I had no idea what to expect with the smaller city of Aimens, but it was adorable. At first, all we saw of the town was a modernized city, but when Paige and I went running in the morning we found the beautiful old town area. Little shops, restraints and houses lines the Somme river and a massive cathedral stood at the center. We ran across the river and through a beautiful park. We got to see lots of the city. After breakfast, we went back to the cathedral. Now, we have gone to A LOT of cathedrals an most of them look pretty much the same… But this one was different. The Amiens Notre Dome is the biggest Cathedral in Europe! It is ginormous!! It was also a lot more beautiful inside than some others we’ve seen. It was really cool.
|Its so HUGE|
|France in the sun!|
Our London Lovies group (that’s what we have named our close group of friends haha -no, it’s not second gradish, we love it:) well, we spend a lot of time talking in the cathedral about how amazing our experience here has been, how fast it’s gone by and how much we still want to do before we go home. I can’t believe I only have one month left in Europe!! Where did time go?! It’s sad but at the same time it’s exciting. I can’t wait for my family to be here and I am starting to miss home. Anyway back to the journey, we grabbed some lunch and hopped back on the bus. We drove to a Canadian memorial and historical site of the Somme battlefield. This was were the largest battle took place in WWI; 60,000 men died in one day. It’s is indescribably horrible. It was very cool to walk through the trenches and no mans land of the Somme. It was sunny and green and beautiful and not the way it would have been years ago. It was really great to learn more about WWI this trip.
|Walking through the trenches|
|The German trench|
Well after the battlefield, we drove to port, drove on to the ferry, boater across the channel and drove home. It was such a wonderful trip to Belgium and France! And, everyone MUST go to Brugge once in their lifetime!!!
|The English Channel on the ferry home|