July 27 - Divide and Conquer!
DH and I decided to give each other the gift of time alone in Brugge. Today was his day and tomorrow would be mine. We began with yet another rainy day in Belgium. My only complaint has been the lack of summer weather here! We headed for more groceries and I finally snapped a couple pictures in a Carrefour. Nothing too exciting really.
We really meant to do more but instead came back to the farm to spend the day. We rode bikes, went swimming, and played with animals while DH took a look around Brugge at his own pace. Here are a few of his pictures.
Check out all the bikes! It seems like everyone rides a bike around here. It's just the way of life.
Back at the ranch, the kids were having a great time with their friends from Scotland.
Another donkey ride for good measure.
I made some chicken and rice for dinner and we said goodnight to all the animals and called it a day.
July 28 - My day in Brugge and dinner in Gent
After a leisurely morning, I headed off to Brugge by myself! First thing I did was buy a nice warm caramel waffle and didn't share a bite with anyone. It's the little things I tell ya!
I wandered and shopped to my heart's content. I snapped a few more pictures of lovely Brugge.
I found a tiny pub called De Garre down a VERY narrow alley. It took me forever to find it! I had their house tripel beer. Mmmmmmm!
After more wandering - I probably walked 5-6 miles - I headed back to the farm. We gathered our things and drove to Gent. It was a surprisingly short 30 minute drive. Another beautiful city!
Well hello there castle right in the middle of the city.
We had a typical Flemish dinner. I tried the Gent specialty waterzooi - a chicken stew. DH had a yummy scampi salad.
We headed home, cracked a Belgian brew and called it a night.
July 29 - The Belgian Coast
After a quick bakery stop, we made the 30 minute drive to the Belgian coast. Everything is so close here! Check out these delicious baked concoctions:
We made our way to the resort town of Blankenberge. The small coastline in Belgium was built-up in the '60s and '70s with high-rise condos and tacky shops. I found it fascinating especially compared to the vast and virtually empty Oregon coast. Those little white shacks are owned by people. We saw a few for sale.
The kids rode carts around a velodrome. They especially liked the refueling stations, telephones, and ATMs!
Some major container ships make their way down the channel.
For lunch, we checked out one of the many frite/snack shops all over Belgium. We tried bitterballen which are kind of like fried gravy balls. No kidding!
After our "healthy" lunch, we stopped at a random beach bar. They had a play-area so the kids ran off some steam while DH and I enjoyed a beer. I'm amazed at how many restaurants offer play-areas. I'm envious!
We got away from the condos and highrises for a more traditional beach experience.
We stopped at another grocery store and made dinner back at the farm. Sausages and zucchini this time. Just another day in Belgium!
July 30 - Beer Pilgrimage Day!
Today was the big day to visit two beer sights - Westvleteren (St. Sixtus) & De Dolle Brewery. First stop was that yummy bakery again for another treat.
Westvleteren was about an hour away. This is true Trappist beer and the brewery itself cannot be visited. We stopped at the adjacent cafe for lunch. The cafe is also the place to taste this exceptional beer. Some beer lists rate Westvleteren 12 as the best beer in the world!
Here's a pic of the infamous Westvleteren 12:
Next was a visit to the De Dolle brewery. We had a 3:00 tour time that we had reserved. The guide was this sharp and funny woman who had been present at the brewery's beginnings. She was quite a character!
I even bought posters from the guy who designs all the artwork and labels.
We came home where the kids swam once again and played with their new friends from next door.
Of course the big news is that DD#1 finally lost her first tooth! She was so so so excited and can't wait for the tooth fairy to come to Belgium.
We are sad to be leaving this special place in the morning. I have a feeling we will return someday! There will be many goodbyes in the morning - both to animals and new friends.
Tomorrow is back to Germany and the Mosel River. DH will be taking a ring taxi around the Nurburgring! I'm not sure what the internet situation will be so it might be a few days before I can update. Best wishes everyone!