I had one mission and one mission only for Belgium. Try as many Belgian beers as I could.
If you’ve had drinks with me back in the states, you know I love my Belgian beers. Get me a Hoegaarden or anything Belgian white, wheat or blond and I’m a happy gal.
But there was a lot more to Belgium than beer.
After spending about a week in cramped, smelly, busy hostels, we decided to stay at a little B&B outside of Brussels where we could have our own room (and bathroom!) and sprawl out and relax.
When we arrived at Shelter Studios, the owners didn’t speak a lick of English. They were incredibly sweet but it was hard to communicate when Chelsea and I don’t know any French words other than, “Wee” and “Merci.” We’re starting to make up our own sign language.
Also, when we got there, the entire town was shut down. There was one restaurant and one grocery store open and that was about it. So we got some spaghetti and headed back to the hotel.
As we learned in London, we really needed to do some planning. So we spent the first day laying around in the hotel trying to figure out how we were going to get around and do this three month adventure. We needed a day off from sightseeing anyway.
Our ultimate decision was that we need a Eurail pass. Because we are planning on booking transportation at the last second in order to go wherever our hearts desire, a Eurail pass is really our most cost effective option.
Lucky for us, we were able to purchase Eurail tickets right in the Brussels train station and it was only about 100 Euro more than if we had purchased them online ahead of time. We could handle that if it was going to save us some Euros (and dollars) in the long run.
So we jumped on the train in our little town headed for Brussels. It cost 3.50 Euros each way and only took coins. For some reason our cards wouldn’t work in the ticket machines (and they were all in French so we don’t even know why) so we pretty much used every last Euro while treking back and forth to Brussels.
We got to the ticket counter and asked for Eurail tickets. No problem, we just needed to show our passports.
Guess whose passports were back at the B&B 15 minutes away? These girls. Guess when the ticket office closes? 30 minutes.
Really? We can’t catch a break.
So, no Eurail passes for us. Instead we splurged on some ice cream to heal our wounds and headed back to our B&B.
We woke up fairly early the next morning and with passports in hand, headed back to the buy the Eurail passes.
Once we got them, we were free to travel on any domestic train we wanted. Our friend Lauren suggested checking out Bruges, a smaller town about an hour north of Brussels. So off we went.
It was endlessly charming. Bruges was the cutest little town and looked right out of Beauty & the Beast. We walked around for about an hour taking photos and looking at the intricate architecture.
We grabbed lunch (and Belgian beers!) at a restaurant right in the town square and spent about two hours trying different foods and enjoying the beautiful day.
And we HAD to try Belgian waffles. When in Belgium, right? (Side note for my ABCers – the Dinges truck is better 😉 )
But it cost us. Of course, since we were in the most touristy part of town. 53 Euro. Want to know how much that is American? For one meal? I can’t even get myself to write it. We really need a budget. Any financiers want to help!?
Whatever. One day of an expensive meal. We’d skip dinner. It will be fine.
I had heard of a bar in Bruges that has 400 different Belgian beers and since that was my mission for Belgium, I had to check it out. Chels and I did a beer tasting of four different ones. One that tasted a lot like Hoegaarden, one IPA, one blond that tasted like Blue Moon and one cherry wheat.
Oh, and we each had our own!
A British man came up to us and asked, “Are you girls going to drink all of those!?” Why yes sir, we are. And boy, do we need it.
By 6:30 p.m. we were back to Brussels. Both of us passed out on the way back so we didn’t get to see much of the scenery but for the few seconds I was awake, it seemed to be mostly cows and fields.
We only had two nights in Brussels and the next morning we were out of there at 7 a.m., but after getting the most out of our day in Bruges, I felt that we had enough time.
We fell in love with Bruges. Of what we saw of Brussels, we weren’t its biggest fans. But Bruges, adorable. If we were to do it over, we would have stayed in Bruges instead of Brussels. Being outside of the main cities is so much more enjoyable.