After spending copious amounts of money on chocolate (most of which is already gone) and having a royal time in Belguim I have decided I am ridiculously broke. But it was money well spent. Belguim is a beautiful country with lots of quaint medieval towns.
I flew in to Brussels but headed straight out to Antwerp where I spent a few hours enjoying the shopping district. Honestly, while it seemed like a nice city, a few hours there and I was ready to leave. I made my way back to the train station and managed to catch a train to Brugge without getting lost. I'd wanted to go to Brugge for ages and it was definitely worth the wait. It was magical due to the Christmas festivities. There were Christmas lights set up everywhere and in the square there were little stalls set up for a Christmas market with an ice skating rink in the middle. I made my way onto there for about 20 minutes before deciding that I didn't want to be run over by a 15 year old who thought that they were brilliant and didn't care that I was slowly crawling around the ice. They zoomed straight past me twice before I'd even made it around once. But it was fun and that's the whole point of experiencing Christmas during winter.
Some people say that Brugge is touristy and fake and yes, there were loads of tourists but it was nice all the same. I would recommend going there, especially at Christmas. The smell of hot chocolate was wafting through the air and while I decided I do not like waffles, you could smell their sweet scent as you walked through the town. There was no McDonalds which I found quite reassuring.
I would have liked to have spent more than a day in Brugge just to soak up the atmosphere. I had the yummiest hot chocolate where they gave me a hot chocolate in a mug, a small jug of mint syrup, a small container of clotted cream and sugar cubes (one brown sugar cube, one white - just in case!) You then added these items to your hot chocolate as you pleased - so it wasn't just a 'standard' hot chocolate, it was personalised. I really enjoyed it. They had 52 flavours of chocolate - hot and cold. I wish I could have tested more.
I went on a canal cruise which almost reminded me of Venice and Amsterdam although Brugge is unique in its scenery. It's so serene. So many people exploring such a small town but there were many times when I was exploring the streets yet I encountered no one. I felt quite safe.
I then successfully made my way to Brussels where I spent the night in a gorgeous hostel called Sleep Well (check out www.hostelworld.com) and woke up the next morning rather refreshed and ready to explore this Gothic style city. I was exhausted by this stage (even though I slept well) and was a bit over wandering around a foreign city. I lugged my backpack with me which got really heavy as I'd bought a bit in Brugge the day before. I decided I didn't want to take a suitcase with me which seemed like a great idea at the time - not so great for my back afterwards. Still it all comes down to an experience! I also got chatted up by a few Belgium boys but they were kinda scary so I stopped their conversations pretty quickly!
Anyway check out the photos! It was a pretty great weekend away if I do say so myself. I loved almost every minute of it (the minutes I didn't love was when I had a cold shower in one of the hostels!)
P.S I can't figure this out - Sweden = Swedish... Australia - Australian... France = French... Italy = Italian so Belgium = ??? and Finland does that = Finnish? Yes, I have a confused mind!