Wetter.de predicted sunny weather, so we packed our bags and drove west towards Belgium! A medieval Flemish city with winding canals and picture perfect architecture, Bruges is a confusing mix of cultures and languages. We heard Dutch, German, French and English, all during one sit-down lunch.
Besides the delicious Belgian waffles covered with caramel (for Corey) or strawberries (for Jon), the best part of Bruges was the picture-perfect Markt Square. Complete with horse-drawn carriage rides and bell concerts from the massive bell tower overlooking the square, we loved sitting on a bench and taking in the atmosphere.
Although beautiful, especially at night, Burg Square was filled with people playing Pokemon Go on their phones. We much preferred the view from the top of the Belfry of Bruges – the impressive 11th century watch tower originally built to watch for city fires and other dangers. The 366 spiraled steps were brutal in the morning summer sun, but the views of the square below were worth it!
Checking out the local brewery was a must. For centuries, Bruges was home to hundreds of breweries, but the only one left within the city walls is the family-run De Halve Maan that brews the Bruges Zot (‘Bruges Fool’). We took a tour of the brewery, enjoying the views from the roof deck and the brewery’s boasting about constructing the only beer pipeline in the world.
We finished our trip by stockpiling as much delicious Belgian beer as we could carry to the car. Our spoils included the elusive Westvleteren, which is sold only in small batches to those that travel to the brewing monastery doors (or those who are willing to pay the steep price of 10 euros a bottle in a cool bottle shop – yikes!). Now we can remember the beauty of Bruges from the comfort of our apartment with a nice cold ‘best beer in the world’!