We took the SeaFrance ferry after the kids got out of school from the white cliffs of Dover over to Calais, France. The ferry ride was very interesting, none of us had ever been on one, and it was funny to marvel that while Jon and I were in our late 30s doing this, our kids were young and already doing it. We had a hard time walking on the ferry, the rocking was a bit difficult to adjust to, especially for Joe and I. We ate a quick dinner on the ferry and before we knew it, we were there. We were able to drive straight off the ferry and into France, and though I had been excited to get another stamp in my passport, it didn't happen.
We drove into Brugge, Belgium and got there late, checked into our hotel and went to bed almost immediately, anxious to start our adventure the next morning.
In the morning after getting around, we drove into the city center, and I fell in love with Brugge. We ate in a little cafe next to a building that had been built in the 1600s. While eating a ham and cheese omelet we watched the tour groups, one after another, walk by talking about the buildings surrounding us. After breakfast, we toured the city ourselves.
The main civic center is enormous. It houses government buildings, restaurants, museums, cathedrals, and more chocolate and lace stores than you can imagine. Speaking of chocolate stores, there were tons of truffles and lots of 'naughty' chocolate shapes as well, for both men, and women, insert your visual image 'here'. In the civic center there were horse and buggies that you could rent to have a tour around the city, and with Jocelyn's current horse fascination, we decided that we had to take one. So, while we were on our buggy ride, Jon and Dad went to have a couple of Belgium beers to whittle away the time. The kids LOVED our little buggy ride. Halfway through, we had a stop to let the horse rest, and during that we visited a little monastery, which had a serene beauty about it, which was broken, of course, by me yelling for Jocelyn not to run ahead. As we made our way back to the horse, we noticed that the driver was getting his horse water from an actual horse fountain, installed just for the horses of Brugge.
After our little adventure and walking around a bit, we ate lunch at a fantastic cafe, and Dad and I shared the best pot of mussels with garlic cream sauce, that I've ever had. They were so fresh they tasted like the sea, a clean sea.
Later on our walks through the city we went to 'Our Lady's Church' where they have the marble statue 'Madonna' by Michelangelo. We bought lots of chocolates, and marveled at the canal system that meandered all the way through and around the city.
Brugge is a place that I will never forget. It was charming and so lovely, and I would go back there again if given the opportunity to do so.
The kids did so well on the ferry, and on the road for all of our travels.
The building that we were next to while eating our fabulous breakfast of ham and cheese omelets. The kids ate REAL belgium waffles, which are more of a dessert here than a breakfast.
Joe and Joci were fascinated by this little water fountain. Both, of course, had to turn it on and off.
This is all Mom. She wanted her picture taken with Humphrey Bogart whom we found as we strolled through the streets.
Jon and the kids found this right outside of the 'love bridge'. Jon had the kids stay there and start to yell and beg to be let out as one of the tourist canal boats went by. They got a pretty good laugh from the people passing by.
Jon and I on the love bridge. To get this picture was a near miracle. It was the busiest spot in Brugge and there were so many people I was shocked that there was nobody else in the picture. Everyone was clambering to get a picture on the bridge.