Well, I'm falling behind a bit. Last weekend was our first 'sleepover' in the city of Bruges, Belgium. Known as the the Venice of the North, Bruges is the best preserved medieval city in all of Europe. History of Bruges dates back to the 4th century but most of it's current architecture dates from the time it became a merchant trade town in the 12-15th centuries. That's right, it's current architecture! I am constantly amazed at the age of the structures I encounter and these buildings are still in use.
We stayed at a wonderful little hotel, Hotel Ter Duinen. I highly recommend this place. Small, quaint with very helpful and friendly service and located just outside the 'noisy' center of Bruge. We felt like the location was more a neighborhood. The breakfast the next morning was also great as we sat by the window overlooking a canal.
The best word to describe Bruge is simply charming. Some think it's a bit touristy but we found it fun to explore the city and it's history. The main square, which is impressive and reminds me of Brussels, and is bustling with people includes the tall belfry and the Church of our Lady.
But the real fun we had in this city can be summed up in three words, waffles, chocolate and beer! Waffles with your favorite topping are like street food. The shops will sell from their storefront to people passing by and they are really good! While there are many chocolate shops, only a few actually make their own chocolate on the premises. The Chocolate Line was recommended and it didn't disappoint. Just standing inside the store you get a big wonderful whiff of chocolate. Lastly, we went to the Half Moon Brouwerij for a tour of their beer making process with a nice sample at the end of the tour. We ended the day at Spinola and had one of the best meals to date since arriving to Europe.