fries, lace, waffles, & a little something called CHOCOLATE.
Yes, I'm talking about Belgium.
The most amazing place I have visited to date.
To start, I need to address the fact that I'm starting to feel like a celebrity on tour....or something. Not because the Europeans gawk at my American presence in their streets or because I have an entourage that follows me around to make me look pretty (it's actually quite the opposite--they think we are silly & I've never felt this hygienically gross in my life), but because for the last month I've very literally been waking up each day in a different place. It's been crazy. I even woke up the other day not remembering who or where I was.
It was nuts.
Anyways. Let's talk about the quiet, quaint town of Brugge. Our introduction was made with a canal boat ride that very literally bewitched me. The canals forked all around the city center and provided the best scenery, especially of the many tall church spires reflected along the serene surface of the water. Mmm. So lovely.
The sites only got better by night. (As if that was even possible.)
You know those times when something is so physically stunning your gaping mouth can't close? Or the happy, invincible feeling you get from endorphins after running? Ya? Are we on the same page? Can you imagine what it was like to see and smell chocolatiers on every street?! It was pure bliss and torture all at the same time.
The woman at Depla Chocolatier managed to pull out ahead of the competition, beating even the experts at the Chocolate Museum (which you better believe we visited). She's a confection genius. Somehow, by some twisted miracle, I conjured up the willpower to limit myself three pieces--one of which included the truffle. It changed my life. It rocked my world. It penetrated my soul.
And I'm not even being dramatic.
The Choco-Story Museum gave us some laughs with their chocolate statue of Obama AND their frequent depictions of the cocoa bean (NOT a potato).
The next morning we woke up to sunny skies & warm weather. We rented bikes. I learned tandems aren't so easy to steer.... But we were on uneven, cobbled surfaces. And my mind was aloof on the blossoms. That's the story I'm sticking to.
Other aspects that made Brugge so great:
A. The cute man playing the accordian on the street. Yes, the accordian. My mother used to play it, too.
B. Exploring the city at night & reaping the benefits from Brenden's unsung photo-taking dexterity.
C & D. The fries & waffles. And hot chocolate, oliebollen, and croques. It's so nice to travel with these boys because they NEVER pass up the opportunity to experience the edible culture. They order everything. Which means I don't have to. They allow me a nibble. It's a great system we have worked out.
E. The evidence of spring's presence could be seen everywhere. I relished having sun shining on my face and being able to play outside in the fresh flowers without a constricting jacket on. London is still behind..
F. One of the exhibits in the Choco-Story Museum was this toy set of a dentist--the exact same lego toy set I used to play with when I was stuck at my dad's dental office for the afternoon in elementary school. It brought back a river of memories. The exact same toy! So random.
And as if our visit to this country wasn't already perfection incarnate with the included, we came across this carnival during our quick stop in Leper to visit the In Flanders Field WWI Museum. But that's a different story for a different day...