After realizing that we could not keep up the crazy travel pace we started with we decided that a place with a room just for us was needed. So we went B&B shopping for a place in Brussels. We booked a place, a nice room with a double bed and a private bathroom. Aaaahhhh peace, quiet, sleep, sanity finally. Upon booking though we realized that there was some small text at the bottom that said the landlord could cancel our request. Ummmm what does this mean and does that really happen? We should be fine right? So we get to the train station in London only to discover that our request was denied as the room was already booked, but you don’t get to see that when you put in your request. It was now a scramble at the station to find a new place and to hope that there would not be another cancelation of our request. Oh, and the train does not have Internet so we would not know until we arrived in Brussels where and if we had somewhere to stay.
So we put in our request and boarded the train, fingers crossed that it would all work out and that Kailey would not throw her husband if front of the next arriving train in Brussels. Well we arrived and after a fair bit of internet snooping called the B&B company and found out they had sent a confirmation minutes after booking, but it had gone straight to spam (thanks Gmail). So we headed out to our B&B, got slightly lost along the way and arrived around 7 PM. The B&B owner was a very nice man named Phillipe Mission, who greeted us and helped us get settled. He showed us a couple very nice restaurants in the area and we headed out for dinner. Dinner was at a nice Belgian bistro, Kailey ordered a salmon dish that had a salad, eggs, toast and “smoked” salmon. The “smoked” salmon was not quite the equivalent of lox and was a little more than Kailey bargained for. Sam had oxtail pasta which was very good. We then ordered a creme brûlée and ended the night on a very tasty sweet note. That night we passed out and had a very quiet, very long sleep without the distractions of a hostel.
The next morning we slowly made our way into the city center via a nice bistro for breakfast. We sat down in a really great organic prepared food store called Exki and had some really good fruit and sandwiches. There we caught up on photo editing, blogging and planning as well as figured out the plan for the next few days. We then walked around the city for a while, stopping by the tourist center and planned out which tours and sights we wanted to see. Later that evening we stopped by a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant and had a really good dinner, complete with a mesmerizing butterfly cut from a carrot which had Kailey enthralled for most of the evening. After dinner, we took a happy walk back to the B&B and chatted with the owner for a bit. He suggested that the next day we head to Bruges since it was a short train ride away and very nice. He said that the weather would be good and that Bruges being the “Venice of the north” was worth seeing. We agreed this would be a good idea and fell asleep. If you haven’t seen the movie En Brouges with Colin Ferrell and some other actor then I highly recommend it, its pretty funny.
We woke up feeling really refreshed and headed out the door, grabbed breakfast at Exki and ate it on the train ride to Bruges. Once in Bruges we walked from the train station to the city center, making a quick stop at H&M since Kailey was freezing cold. We picked up a scarf in order to keep her from getting frostbite and continued on. We then popped into a bank to change out the last of our British pounds for some more euros. I started speaking French to the bank teller who then informed me that I was in the part of Belgium that does not speak French, and that it was ridiculous for me to speak French. He equated it to me speaking French in Toronto, which I then informed him would be completely normal since most people do speak both French and English in Toronto. Undeterred he told me not to bother speaking French in Bruge. After changing some money, we then headed back out into the city to walk around the canals and explore the Markt which is the huge square at the center of town. I remembered reading in our guide book that a great way to explore Bruges was through the Canals and we headed to a dock to hop on one of the many boats that allows you to tour the city from the Canals. The boat tour was a really great way to explore the city and though a bit cold, we really got to see a lot of the city which was great. After the tour we grabbed a Belgian waffle (when in Rome…) and a hot coco and headed back to the train station. That night we went to the area that was supposedly the best for seafood and got our fix for Moules Frites (for Sam) and a great Sea Bass (for Kailey). Kailey said it was the best meal she had so far on the trip. We then headed back to the B&B for some more sleep, but not before reserving a spot on a beer tour the following day.
Waking up again at a reasonable hour we headed out, walked around the city picking up some souvenirs, chocolates and breakfast again at Exki. We then met our beer tour guide Ceasar in front of the tourist office and proceeded off on what should have been a 3 hour tour. 5 hours later we were happily sitting eating dinner, Sam was slightly intoxicated and the details of the last 5 hours will be dealt with in a separate blog to be written tonight by Sam. After a good dinner we headed back through the city at night to the B&B for our last sleep in Belgium.
Today we got up, packed our things and said goodbye to Phillipe who had been an amazing host for the last 4 days. His B&B was in the perfect location and allowed us to relax and catch our breath before heading out on what should be a pretty fast paced next month as we head to France, Germany and Italy before arriving in Russia. We had tea with Phillipe and talked about our stay, before grabbing our bags and heading to catch our train to Paris, which is where I am right now. High speed trains are really pretty amazing and I would give anything to have them in the US. As I’ve written this blog we are now about 15 minutes outside of Paris. Downside of this is that the train is so fast there hasn’t been any time to catch the usual Kailey passed out during transit photo…Luckily we have plenty more chances for that to occur. In addition we also discovered that at speeds over 200 mph Kailey tends to toe the line of motion sickness. I’ll post the photo journal along with the beer blog later tonight.
~ Sam & K