Little late with this one, as we actually went to Bruges what seems like ages ago. In the meantime we've been quite ridiculously busy, both at home and at work (decoratingnewcomputerhendovisitvideowrapetcetc), and we never quite got round to blogging about it.
It's all a bit late now to go into massive detail, but here's a few highlights:
Eurostar is great! Really easy, very quick and pleasantly non-stressful. Brussels main station was slightly intimidating, but we managed to find our connecting train with about 30 second to go!
Somehow we managed to get three days of really sunny, warm, wonderful weather that brought out the city wonderfully and enabled us to have some extremely pleasant wanderings.
Goes without saying really, but the chocolate was excellent. :) I'm not really a chocolate person (unlike Leiali), so the fact it got me so excited really is saying something! Remarkably we managed to make the chocolates last for about a month on our return! Whether that was down to restraint or simply the mass quantities we bought is debateable, though...
Bruges is home to a wonderful collection of art and history museums. From an ooooold hospital to an eclectic collection of European art throughout the ages to a surprisingly interesting examination of chocolate (aside from a rather suspicious lack of due attention to the unfortunate slave trade connections...), it was all fascinating stuff.
Bit of a mixed bag this one. For some reason, Belgians (or at least Brugesians) are obsessed with chips. Every damn meal comes with chips! Now, I'm not averse to chips, but it even became rather much for me. The first night we found a superb little restaurant, though, that was a little different from the masses of cloned eateries around the market square. It was here that I discovered Waterzooie, which is essentially a collection of seafood (prawns, salmon etc) in a fantastic creamy sauce. Not my usual fare, but absolutely delicious.
Climbing the Belfry at the market square was my personal highlight. Astounding views from the top and an exhilerating climb, combined with brilliantly intricate clockwork machinery in the bell system itself. For Nadia, however, it was nearly her undoing. If it wasn't for a conveniently placed bench, she may very well have been too exhausted to make it back down the steps, and would instead have found herself known as the Moany Woman of Bruges Belfry.
The only real snag we hit was on our return to the UK, when we arrived at the London Underground only to find that they'd just started a strike, about 10 minutes beforehand. Due to being away for a good few days we were blissfully unaware of this and got stuck in a rather mad human traffic jam, a few hundred feet underground. It was rather unnerving for a while, but we eventually fought our way to the surface and Nadia used her London Know-How to bus us to Liverpool Street.
All-in-all it was a marvellous weekend, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find us back in Bruges in years to come.