Sunday, November 11, 2007

Another day, another brewery tour (Alternate title: Into every European trip, a little religion must fall.)

Brugges is indeed lovely like so many people had told us. We have more fantastic lodging, thanks to Ms. D, the Z & W couples are sharing a loft while D has a room downstairs with her mom. We went out to a huge seafood lunch shortly after arriving. It was recommended by out hosts, who we later learned have ties to the seafood industry so I think we ended up with a real winner. The ladies all selected mussels and the fellows had eel. The portions were ridiculous and we quickly determined that the prices was not quite as high as we had thought considering what we got, and we realized we'd basically never want to go out to dinner that night so after a bit of wandering (and a bit of beer of course, though I had a coffee with amaretto) we did some shopping for cheese, sliced meats, fresh bread, a few veggies and some beer, of course. We got home just as it began to rain and enjoyed our little picnic upstairs. This might have been a good place to end the evening, but we had noticed the presence of an Irish pub near our B&B so of course we had to go check it out. There was live music, which sadly was not authentic, but the drinks were! We all enjoyed some favorites from the last European adventure and then called it a night.

The next morning we had breakfast and it was lovely, the breakfasts on this trip really have been good! There was fruit and yogurt, breads (and Nutella!), good coffee, and one of our hosts made us omelets. We set out for, surprise, surprise, another brewery tour. We do love those so. This one was very interesting, mostly because it came with a rather funny guide. She did the tour in two languages and still delivered all the info with great wit. At the end of the tour we were all served a beer, which meant we started drinking before noon, which means we could officially claim that we "drank all day." Photos were taken of watches and glasses as evidence, but did you really need it?

The rest of the day included more wandering, buying an art tile to add to our collection for this country (again, very easy, we're lucking out), some frites, some beer... and some of the best street sweets yet. I had these apple rings, dipped in batter and fried. Heaven! Everyone laughed at me, or rather the smile that was stuck on my face for the next hour. We never did sit down to a lunch, so we went out in search of a good sit down dinner. Now, throughout the day, though properly bundled up, we'd all been quite cold. The wind had picked up and when it hit my face I almost felt like I was back in Zurich. Aha! A dinner idea! I suggested going back to the fondue place PZ had noticed earlier in the day. We found it and were promptly seated upstairs alone, which was actually quite all right with us. We fried a little meat, dipped bread and fruit in delicious melted cheese, and even had a little salad. It was a good time.

Today we started with a walk out to the edge of town to see some windmills, and the rain started coming down as we headed back towards the center of town. The weather made it a good morning to hit a few museums and churches. Much of the art at the big museum in town is religious, and honestly, it all starts looking the same to me. But there were plenty of pieces I did enjoy. Including one called Venice at Night, which was practically all black, except you can just make out some arches and metal work that seemed to scream Venice. Around 1:30 we decided to get some lunch, we were all feeling like some veggies would be a good idea, and we found a vegetarian place with some tasty salads. The group split up for a bit, I picked up some more liquorice from a place I found yesterday, D bought a cute little bag, and CF continued to practice his counting in French. I grabbed another toasty waffle and we came back to the B&B. And that's where we are now!

Tonight is our last night in Belgium, CF is coping well with the separation anxiety. He's done a fantastic job of guide us through this nation of beer. I've learned... and actually enjoyed... quite a lot. We're going out for beer, then going to dinner at a place with a good beer list. Hopefully we'll be smart enough to go to bed at a decent time. We leave for Paris early tomorrow morning! Goodbye waffles, hello crepes!

We're so lucky to have this opportunity and these friendships. We're having a great time.

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