Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chocolate, Waffles, Frites, and Beer

One of the top reasons to travel involves an acute interest in the culinary arts. In other words, food food food, nom nom nom, gimme gimme gimme mooooore... Jim Henson certainly did it right with the likes of Animal and Cookie Monster making a play for all things necessary in life. And so, we hop from city to city, country to country, seeing the sights, learning the languages, hearing the history, and yes... ferociously feeding on the food.

This was definitely our main agenda when my dad, stepmom and myself took a train to Belgium the Saturday after their arrival in Paris. I have never been to Belgium, and was thoroughly excited to see what I have often heard referred to as a quite a magical fairy tale little village. This was, of course, one of the things my dad planned several months in advance, constantly harassing me for dates and times and all that jazz. I respect this initiative because train prices are not always as cheap as you would like, and my schedule tends to have a mind of its own these days. We therefore set the date, and I was up at the bright and early hour of 6am in order to book my Uber transport and make my way to Gare du Nord.

To get to Bruges from Paris, you must take a train to Brussels first, then transfer. I was a bit hungry and cranky in the morning, so the fact that a swarm of various school groups seemed to be heading the same direction did very little to improve my mood. However, I had all of the riches of Bruges to look forward to... namely, chocolate, waffles, frites, and beer. Quite a merrymaking quartet in my opinion, and the culinary feast we planned our entire day around.

Not surprisingly, Bruges is a rather small little hamlet, wrapped in the charming architecture I would absolutely expect looking out from a holiday Christmas card. I have in fact been told that if you visit this picturesque town during winter, you will be met with ice covered canals on which the locals ice skate from place to place rather than walk. I truly hope that they wear classic fur-line capes and caps to boot. Aside from the 4 most important stops in our day, the main touristy thing we did was to take a boat ride through the canals so we could really get a glimpse of Bruges at its best. This was of course post-waffle but pre-frites. And for dessert, a stop in a chocolate shop that claims the rockstars of Rolling Stone as some of its patrons.

It was a little cloudy with threatening rain here and there, so we were happy to never had gotten poured on, and the few minutes the rains did fall we were quite cozily ensconced at a table sipping our Belgian beer. Filled with tasty treats and ready to conquer another train journey back across the border, we finally made our way home to dear France where of course, the food is only so-so. Well, aside from the pastries and bread and cheese and wine and everything else.

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