Over Thanksgiving week of 2017, the Franklin and Yourishin families decided to do one last couples only trip across the pond before children. Granted, Caylee was already pregnant and the doctor advised not to travel following the trip. So it ended up being #cayleesbabymoon.
Where to go with a limited timeframe? Airfare dictated the first city. $250 flights from Denver to London and Brussels to Denver. Purchased! Next? What filler locations can we also include? Paris and Bruges. If you haven’t heard of the little town of Bruges, google it, take a trip, and tell me that it isn’t one of the coolest medieval towns in Europe! Well known for its Beer and Chocolate, Bruges is a must visit!
What to do with three days in London… A lot!
The city of Love!
A quick day trip outside of of the city, you get to one of the most visited Chateau’s in France. This LARGE palace was once home to King Louis XIV.
Canals, cobbled streets, and medieval buildings give a resounding image that one has just time traveled back to the dark ages and must now peddle your wares in the Burg (town square).
Take a stroll along the canal. Every local will tell you the exact same route. It’s gorgeous sightseeing, romantic atmosphere, and allows for stopping at a restaurant, brewery, or shopping.
Bier! Belgium Beer is amazing and inspires so many craft breweries around the United States. We were told by a friend to go down a sketchy alleyway that reminds one of Nocturn Alley from Harry Potter, up some rickety old stairs and into a small pub to find the WORLDS BEST TRIPEL! (If you want to know the location, give us a like, a share, and send me an email with a favorite gem to you). The hype was real and this beer did not disappoint. Most definitely my favorite Tripel and it is brewed in a nearby town and produced exclusively for this pub. Be careful as it is a 11% ABV and just a few can get you fairly sloshed. I also grew quite fond of the Rodenbach Grand Cru, a sour red ale that inspired the New Belgium La Folie. You can’t go wrong with sitting in this cozy pub enjoying a few beers with complimentary edam cheese and talking with the locals.
Chocolat! Belgian Chocolate is world reknowned and the best place to get it is in Bruges. There are three master chocolatiers in the town and we were directed to seek out the little shop called Pur Chocolat.
Short and sweet! Our train arrived around 7pm and we disembarked to walk the 6 blocks to our hotel. After checking in, Hangry wasn’t a term to be used lightly around my wife. We quickly dropped off our bags and headed to find some food near the Bourse de Bruxelles (Brussels stock exchange) and were satisfied at Balls and Glory. This restaurant serves healthy meatballs. We also had to try the “Belgian” Fries and went to nearby Fritland to order a basket.
Side note: Belgians believe that the French stole the idea of Fries from them and that they invented the fried potato goodness.
We met up with a friend that was in town and strolled the streets. A couple blocks to the east and we reached the Grand Place in front of the Hôtel de Ville de Bruxelles (Brussels Town Hall) and stopped to appreciate the architecture and grandeur of this marvelous building. The market was filled with people even at this later hour. Christmas decorations were everywhere and a large Christmas tree stood in the center of the plaza. The night air was crisp and we bundled ever deeper into our coats and scarves. We could feel that the holidays were upon us. Such a magical feeling.
As we left the square, we headed south toward our hotel. We intended to find Manneken Pis. Highly recommend seeing this little statue of a peeing boy made into a fountain. The Belgians love this statue and it brings a bit of comedy to an otherwise swirling world. Many shops have small figurines of this peeing boy, but until you gaze upon him, the figurines do no justice. Highly recommend strolling to this fountain and anyone will tell you how to find him.
We spent the last night in Brussels before needing to catch an early morning flight back to the states. Having spent less than a week in Europe, we sure packed in a lot of activities. It allows us to come back at a different time to experience the places we truly fell in love with once again.