Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chocolate, Waffles and Fries, Oh My!

Any country that is famous for its chocolate, waffles, fries and beer is just fine by me. Trust me, Belgium lived up to all of the hype, and more! Dan and I found a good deal on flights and hotels to Brussels, so we made a long weekend of it. As we were telling people our plans, over and over we heard that Brussels is great, but we should try and spend as much time in Bruges as possible. We switched our plans and decided to stay two nights in Bruges and two nights in Brussels instead of all four nights in the capital. That was a GREAT decision!

We flew RyanAir into Charleroi Airport which is about an hour south of Brussels. We only figured out we weren't flying into the main Brussels airport as we were checking into our flight in Manchester. Oops. Luckily for us there is a bus that goes from Charleroi right into the main train station in Brussels. That was perfect because we were planning on spending the first two nights in Bruges. The train runs every half hour and only takes an hour.

We got to Bruges after 5pm so it was already dark. That was fine by me because we got some beautiful views of the city as we walked from the train station to the hotel. This is a great time of year to visit Europe because so many cities are decked out for the holidays. Bruges was no exception. There were lights on all of the trees and a small Christmas market in the square. Of course we stopped to grab a quick crepe with chestnut filling. 

We spent the next day and a half just walking along the canals and cobblestone streets. Dan and I both fell in love with this city. It is so simple, but so beautiful. 


Of course we had to sample the local cuisines :) We pretty much went to every chocolate shop in the city. Chocolate in Belgium is not like chocolate elsewhere. It really is so much better than any other chocolate. It's a lot creamier and smoother. Amazing!

One of the shops we stopped in was performing a live candy making demonstration. It was so interesting. I am still in awe how they took boiling sugar and made it into works of art.

Pouring boiling sugar onto metal table
Pulling hot sugar to add volume
Final product.  Pineapples are in the candy before it's cut!

Another favorite activity was sampling the street foods. We stumbled across a market and decided to make that our lunch. We bought a smoked herring, a block of local cheese and some freshly baked bread. It was heaven.

We also checked out the Disney ice sculpture exhibit. It was a little expensive and had the potential to be a big rip-off, but it was actually really awesome. There were a ton of Disney characters that were all intricately carved. There was also a reindeer-pulled sleigh with fur-covered seats, a bar, and a two-story ice slide! It was absolutely freezing in the pavilion so we didn't stay too long, but it was definitely worth the price of admission.

Each night after exhausting ourselves with walking, eating and more walking, we came back to the hotel and celebrated Chanukah. Really, can you think of a better present to ourselves than fresh chocolate?

Stay tuned for part two of this tale, when our heroes travel to Brussels. There will be lots more chocolate, and our first introduction to waffles and fries :)

Read more about my trip to Belgium
Christmas in Brussles


  1. Looks like a fabulous trip! Thanks for sharing! Miss you -- I'll e-mail you so we can schedule a date to catch up soon!

  2. Thanks Katie! Miss you tons! Let's talk soon :)

  3. Love it! You know, the NYTimes Travel section did a whole piece on how Belgium is the center of the universe when it comes to chocolate! Glad you guys had a great time!

  4. Bravo! Encore...