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Belgium, Christmas 2006

Belgium, Christmas 2006 |

Belgium is famous for its beer, chocolate, mussels, and frites…it sounded like Christmas.

My flatmate, Nick, and I departed foggy London on our couch tour on Saturday morning. After the reasonably short coach ride and ferry crossing we arrived in foggy Bruges mid morning. We gathered our bearings during a walking tour of the very picturesque medieval city – churches, their dominant spires, horse and carts, still canals, ancient buildings, and more chocolate and lace shops than you want to imagine. We later retreated from the cold to our (excellent) hostel bar to indulge in a diverse selection of fine Belgian beers. An unfortunate restaurant in Markt Square was later subjected to a group of 40 or so excitable Antipodeans before we ventured to a more suitable local bar.

We were entertained by stories of Nick’s drunken antics on the coach ride to Brussels on Sunday. We enjoyed a coach tour of the host city to the EU Parliament, before embarking on a walking tour of the Grand Place (city square). There were murals of Tin Tin and the occasional Smurf, the Manneken Pis statue, waffles, frites, and the Christmas markets. We indulged in some ice-skating before being entertained by a spectacular lightshow in the Grand Place. The illuminated 15th century gothic Town Hall and gabled merchant houses complete with Chistmas music and a grand finale of an explosion of bubbles was excellent – it finally felt like Christmas.

Back in Bruges, Christmas day began with a civilised wander around the city – the architecture, cobbled streets, windmills, gate houses, and canals maintaining its reputation as one of Europe’s most perfectly preserved medieval cites. We later celebrated the day with a very festive group lunch in the hostel restaurant before discovering a local bar to pass the night away.

We climbed the Belfort on Boxing day for foggy views of the city and the chorus of amazing bells as the clock struck two. After wandering the streets for chocolate and frites, we were soon on the bus departing for the Calais ferry and Britain.

An fantastic short break destination with amazing sights and excellent food!

Additional photos can be found at: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AauWTVk3bt2Ei

Locations Visited: London, Bruges, Brussels, Bruges, London

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