Browsing through Brugge…

Today we explored more of Belgium. We had (or should I say “I” had) a bit of a late start, enjoying Dawn and John’s beautiful country home, which was converted from a barn. They live in the small town of Rouvreaux (say that 10 times over), outside the slightly larger town of Sprimont, outside of the city of Liege. It’s a beautiful hill town however, with plenty of goats and cows by the roadside, as well as 2 friendly outdoor cats that love to try to cuddle for food.

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One of the cute outdoor neighborhood cats, begging for food

After this, we drove into the town/city of Liege. Worth mentioning is Dawn’s GPS system. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Most normal GPS’s have a computerized female or male voice mechanically spouting out directions. I guess English-speaking Belgians have “Helga”, as I’ve named her. She sounds like a Hungarian grandma, stating directions with a thick accent: “Listen to me…. If you can, I think you should turn left…. Oh God, you need to make a sharp turn…. If you have been listening to me, you should have arrived at your destination… Merge onto the highway, but not too fast because it scares me…” I haven’t heard anything like it. I have to see if we can get that in the States.

Anyway, back onto our adventure. From Liege, we took the train into Bruges, or Brugge (depending if you’re Dutch or French). Brugge is a cute town that sits on canals and is full of tourists. It was fun to once again meander through the small cobblestone streets…

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Building (maybe a church?) along the canals

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Random chicken crossing the road… with her chicks

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Lots of swans around Brugge. Fun (sort of) story about these swans: Apparently the emperor wanted more money from Brugge, but the town didn’t want to give it to him. So they beheaded his bailiff/tax collector (depends on who’s telling the story) who’s name happened to mean “Long Neck” in Flemish. As a punishment, the emperor ordered the people of Brugge to always keep long necked animals in town. Therefore, they have the swans there down to this day.

There was no way we could leave Belgium without visiting a local brewery. I mean, Belgians are famous for their beer, right? We were fortunate because in Brugge there was a local brewery called De Halve Maan or “The Half Moon” in English. They are well-known for their Brugge Zot (which means “Brugge fools”) beer, but they do 4 in total, ranging in alcohol content from 6-11%. Yikes! We were able to take a 45 minute tour of their brewery and were rewarded with great views of the town, as well as a beer at the end (of course!)…

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Entering the “Brouwery”…

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Rooftop views of Brugge from the brewery

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It was nice to be rewarded with a view like this after climbing 200 very narrow, very steep stairs to the top!

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Our 2nd reward for climbing down the very narrow, very steep stairs (some we could only go down backwards) back down to the bottom

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Enjoying our beers!

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I think it’s time to cut Boo off…

After this, we had one more Belgian thing to try – having the famous “moules frites”, or mussels and fries. We were able to do this at an awesome restaurant with super friendly waiters. What a great way to end the day…

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Ladies at dinner

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It doesn’t get much more Belgian than this!

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We were running for the train, but I still had to stop and take this last photo of Brugge

Leaving Brugge via the train, we were serenaded by a drunk guy who repeatedly sang “God Bless America” over and over again and spoke French to no one in particular. Oh, the joys of train travel…

Tomorrow… Morocco!

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