Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

Brussels and the Grote Markt

When I had imagined Brussels, I really could only picture one place. The most famous square in all of Europe, the Grand Place. Let me tell you, it's pretty darn awe inspiring.

Whenever I go to a place that is this old (think 14th century), I always imagine what it was like back then. What were people doing? What were they wearing? What were they worried about as they wandered through this square. How did they build such amazingly intricate structures with basic tools?

Today this square is full of tourists taking selfies. Tourists getting a Starbucks (there is one in the square and it made me like Starbucks a little less).  A gypsy woman was trying to beg money from tourists with a fake baby, which I found fascinating. It was quite obvious the bundle she was carrying around was not real. 

While we only got to spend a day there, it was still one of the coolest places we visited. I will say it's a pretty gritty city. There is plenty of graffiti and guards walking around with machine guns in the train station. About a month prior to our visit they had a terrorist attack in the underground train station. The beauty of the city definitely comes with it's fair share of ugliness.


We took a little (read long) day trip to Dover from London on our last day on vacation. I'll be honest, I was exhausted and had tried at least once to stay back at the hotel for the day. But, it turned out to be one of my favorite days of our entire trip.

Since we had hit several major European cities on our itinerary, this outdoorsy girl was ready to get out of the hustle and bustle and breathe a little fresh air. Dover was the perfect antidote to all that city stuff we had been seeing. There was a brisk (read freezing) wind blowing and we got to see the beautifully white chalk cliffs of the port of Dover. I learned alot about the history of this town and more than I had ever known about the British in WWII.

Love these goofballs!

"They'll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Just you wait and see.
There'll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
When the world is free."
- Nat Burton

Bruges, Brugge, or Chocolate Central

Belgium was the one country on our trip where I was the head itinerary planner. I had to find our hotel, schedule transportation, and a rough itinerary. I honestly didn't really know where to start because I hadn't heard much about Belgium other than Brussels, chocolate, and waffles. The more I read about Brussels the more I thought staying out in the country might be a nice break for our group.

I had read that Bruges was a must see and was worth spending more than one day in. So Bruges it was and I am so glad I picked this little town as our base of explorations. The town itself is a great place to sight see and there are lots of things to do from there.

We stayed at a little hotel along a canal which had a great view. The downside of that great canal view was some serious mosquitoes. Opening the windows in the evening was great, but we all suffered with multiple mosquito bites the next morning.

This was also the first place I tried Belgian waffles and let me tell you, they are probably one of the best things I've ever tasted. Vendors sell them on the street, in the subway, everywhere. And anywhere you have them, they are delicious. If you ever have a chance to try them, I would recommend it. They are amazing.

Our hotel was on a street with probably four or five chocolate shops. I'm a bit of a chocolate fiend, so I also had a fair amount of chocolate while I was there too. Thankfully we walked so much every day (sometimes with Elinor on my back), that it didn't matter how many chocolates or waffles I ate.

My dad, two brothers, and miss Chloe.

Grandma and Lizzy!

Hah, I couldn't help but share this picture. They did lots of crazy things with chocolate!!