Friday, March 23, 2018

Mons, Belgium

Our last day in Belgium we stayed in Mons. A cute little town closer to the airport because we were flying out early the next morning. We stayed at the Dream Hotel which is an old church converted into a beautiful modern hotel. We didn’t have a lot of time in Mons but we walked around the pretty square did a little shopping in the shops lining the cobblestone streets.

Mons was actually really cool because it was not touristy at all. Everyone there seemed to be local except for us. There were many people who didn’t speak English like when we ordered dinner they only spoke French and we made it work. I loved the feeling of the town. And there was also fun yarn art on the lamp poles, trees, and the fountain. So fun.
We also saw the bell tower and a beautiful church called Saint Waltrude Collegiate Church. The outside alone is magnificent but go inside as well. It is awesome and free to enter. There were stones on the ground marking graves that were buried under the floor, dating back to the 1500s. The marble carvings, wood carvings, and the organs in the back were very unique. It is a lovely church.

We also saw some floral blossoms starting to pop on the trees! Spring is coming!!!!! Yay. Also we came across two really pretty street art murals. We didn’t see any street art in Brugge and if you have been following along for a while you might know that I love street art!

So yeah, a great little stay in a cute town.
Love, Carlee

Bruges, Belgium

I just got back from Brugge or Bruges depending on the language you speak and it was amazing. A true fairytale town. I went with my friend and her daughter. We drove from Charleroi Airport to Brugge and stayed in Martins Brugge hotel which was in the best location just one block from the city center. The first thing we did after checking into our hotel was go see the famous Markt square with the beautiful buildings and the Belfort tower. We then found a place to eat some yummy dinner, I had Flemish beef stew and my friend had Mussels which are served everywhere in Belgium. My friend recommends the garlic and cream mussels. We then walked to the town hall square and all the buildings were lit up green for St. Patrick’s Day! So pretty and festive. We then ended the first night in Brugge with some ice cream and waffles from Fred’s !
The next day, first full day, in Belgium we set out for some breakfast and ended up eating at Le Pain Quotidian Stevinplein, which is actually a chain restaurant and we didn't even realize it haha. They had great breakfast and fresh bread and pastries and coffee. We then got to the Belfort (bell tower) first thing so we could climb up the 366 steps to the top of the tower and see the 360 degree view of Brugge. The view was outstanding but the wind was blowing so hard from the top it was freezing. Actually while we were there the weather was really cold like 32 degrees or below especially with the wind chill it even snowed a little in the afternoon one day! What the heck it is almost the end of March.
We then walked to Minnewater Park and fed the swans before we read the signs that said no feeding the animals, whoops! We also saw the gorgeous monastery, Begijnhof, with the blooming daffodils, although the daffodils were a little wilted because it was so cold but still beautiful. After we desperately needed some hot chocolate so we found a tea room and sat down to warm up. Along with our hot cocoa we also had scones and pound cake! Also the Belgian hot chocolate is amazing - they bring you steamed milk and then the spoon with the hard chocolate and you put it in your milk and it melts. And you could choose between dark or milk chocolate.
After we warmed up we took a boat tour of the canals! Did you know they call Brugge the Venice of the North? While cold, the tour was awesome and our boat captain was great and really funny. He also spoke 4 languages, French, Dutch, Spanish, and English. It was really cool to see the pretty row houses and bridges from the water. There was even icicles under some of the bridges because it was so cold. Next we went to Julie’s burgers and beers for lunch. It was really yummy. I recommend the onion rings and chalky cheddar burger.
We walked along the canals some more, stopping lots along the way to take photos. We popped into a few cute shops and so many chocolatiers. There was some blocks that only had chocolate shops literally one right after the next. So many in a row. I was thinking how do they all stay in business. But you know people love their chocolate. I sure do.
For dinner we ate at a place in the main market square. I didn’t have anything as I was still full from lunch and waffles, oh yeah waffles on a stick from go.fre so yummy! Go get them. My friend had mussels again and we enjoyed some quiet time while getting out of the cold. We also wanted to rest a while to make room for some more dessert. We ended up having really yummy gelato at Da Vinci! Give me all the ice cream all the time. #sorrynotsorry

The next morning we woke up early and ate breakfast as this amazing bagel sandwich place called 
Sanseveria Bagelsalon then we walked to the Basilica of the Holy Blood which houses the supposed blood of Jesus Christ! We got some more waffles (of course) and then drove to a park that lines the outside of the old town to see some really big and pretty windmills. We then made our way to Mons, Belgium!
Jesus Christ's supposed blood is behind this alter!

Summary of recommendations:
Martin's Brugge

go.fre: waffles on a stick
Da Vinci: gelato 
Oyya: gelato and waffles
Fred's: gelato and waffles
Jilles: burgers and beers
Sanseveria Bagelsalon: Bagel sandwiches
Le Pain Quotidien Stevinplein: breakfast, bread, coffee
Tea-Room De Proeverie: hot chocolate, coffee, cakes, pastries!

Basilica of the Holy Blood: houses the supposed blood of Jesus Christ! 
Bonne-Chieremolen: Giant windmills that line the outside of the town
Minnewater Park: So many swans! 
Markt: The main market square were you see all the pretty buildings.
Belfort Brugge: Climb to the top! The views of Brugge are amazing. It cost 12 euro per adult and there are 366 steps and it gets pretty narrow at points. 
Burg: A square that houses the town hall and also the basilica of the holy blood. 
Begijnhof: The beautiful monastery that was blooming with daffodils when we were there. 
Boat Trips Brugge: take a tour of the canals!
The Beer Wall: a pub with a fun wall full of beer.