Brugge, Belgium: Canals, Chocolate, Waffles, and Beer
April 28, 2016
Mary Alice and I were up early for breakfast in the dining room. Afterward we grabbed our bags and warm clothing and headed to the gathering place for our day tour to Bruges, Belgium. We were on the same tour with our new friends from California, Wes and Irene. As we stepped outside we were met with a cold rain. I had hopes for better weather day. Thankfully as the day progressed the weather did improve a bit and the rain stopped about noon.
The bus ride was only thirty minutes and we soon arrived at a park near one of the main canals that feed Bruges. First thing I noticed was a large number of police officers and after seeing all the tourists buses arrive I figured out they were watching all of us and watching out for all of us.
Our guide walked us as a group through the south part of the town. The light rain continued as we made our way to one of the canals where we boarded a 20 passenger open boat for a 30-minute canal ride. The skipper was a guy from England. He kept us busy listening to his version of some of the history about the place. I was more interested in trying to keep dry and warm and to his credit, he provided everybody with umbrellas.
After the boat ride, our guide led us to the main market square and then to another square where we would meet at 4:30pm for the walk back to the bus. If you’re thinking we did a lot of walking, you’re right. Both of us logged over 11,000 steps on our Fitbits.
After our guide turned us loose Mary Alice and I decided to get some lunch. We walked back to the main square and found really a nice restaurant. It was warm and dry and had a great gas fireplace. We parked ourselves and had one of our favorites, a Margaretta pizza. After lunch I wanted to walk around and take some photos, and also to go into the cathedral and see Michelangelo’s “Madonna & Child” sculpture. M.A. stayed out in the weak sunshine in the park.
Got my photos and we decided to have a Belgium hot chocolate. I had spotted just the right place about a block away. It was a small chocolate shop, The Old Chocolate House, with an upstairs sit-down tea room. The small spiral staircase up there was as challenging as some of those 900 steps at Mont Saint-Michel yesterday.
We got a table by the window and ordered hot chocolate and a cappuccino. The hot chocolate was very Belgium. The owner-waiter brought me a large hot cup of milk with a smaller cup made from chocolate and filled with chocolate bits. I dumped the entire thing into the hot milk and stirred it up. Everything melted and it made the best tasting hot chocolate I’ve ever had.
It was by now about time to make our way back to the square where we would meet our guide and others from our group for the walk the half mile back to the bus. The guides get very nervous when folks are late. It’s a big no-no to bring a busload of tourists back late to the ship. We were thankful the drive was only thirty minutes to the ship. We arrived on time, happily worn out.