Luging, biking, animals, and exploring
It's been many days since I've written a thing. We are in Belgium now for our week long farm stay. This relaxing place draws you in and has finally made me slow down the pace of our vacation. We've been in Europe for a month now and have enjoyed slowing down a bit. Our friends from Warsaw have joined us in Belgium for the week so we are having a particularly good time.
Let me back up a bit and describe the days before Belgium.
Day 24 - Drive from Berlin to Bamberg
Berlin was huge, exciting, and tiring. We were ready to move on to somewhere quieter, Luckily, we had picked a small brewery/inn located about 30 minutes from Bamberg. We drove for around four hours on speedy German autobahns and checked into Lowenbrau inn for two nights.
It was a nice afternoon so we decided to check out a nearby luge. What fun! We raced down a small hill on tracks. We all loved the speed and setting. Some of the little German boys kept trying to take cuts in line. DD#1 held up her foot to keep them in line. Of course the luge park had a biergarten with yummy bratwurst.
We headed back to our inn and walked about one kilometer to the inn's biergarten in the woods - Lowenbrau Keller. The setting was perfect! Playground, trees, lots of happy Germans, and delicious food and beer. DD#1 broke a flip-flop on the walk back and DD#2 had had enough walking for a while, but we still managed to have a nice evening. Our room was on the top story of an old building with plenty of room to spread out.
The toilet had the best sign of the entire trip!
Day 25 - More Luging, FIsh, Caves, and Bamberg
We woke up and enjoyed our favorite German breakfast of the trip! So many choices of meats, cheeses, yogurts, cereals, eggs, baked goods, and a cool automatic espresso machine. We took our time filling up and savoring our last couple German breakfasts.
We drove about an hour to a pretty mountain town called Pottenstein. We were eager to try a much longer luge and bobsled run. The runs were fast and exciting unless you got stuck behind a slowpoke.
We drove a little bit further down the road in search of a snack and found a yummy smoked fish place and fish hatchery. Kind of funny to eat the same fish that we later fed. At least we knew it was fresh!
Next to the fish place was a cave that was open for tours. We joined a German group and went up and down about 400 steps checking out the stalagtites and stalagmites.
We were hungry for a snack and needed a few items: shampoo, ice packs (I left an ice pack in Berlin. Oops. Needed for the vast amount of chocolate we have purchased!) We found a grocery store where we pushed a bakery button and out popped a pretzel or a croissant! Pretty cool!
We continued on to Bamberg to check out the beautiful city and hopefully eat dinner. Unfortunately, the kids were wiped and cranky. We decided to take a few pictures, add Bamberg to our list for our next trip to Germany, and eat at the hotel restaurant instead. All and all, a wise decision.
Day 26 - Drive from Bamberg to Bruges
We had a long drive to Bruges - around 7 hours. I was thankful that this was our last long drive of the trip. We had hoped to find a grocery store en route to stock up our kitchen for the week. Unfortunately, all grocery stores in Germany and Belgium are closed on Sunday - at least all the ones we found. We probably wasted an hour of driving around trying to find an open store.
We arrived at our cute farmhouse in Bruges which would be home for the week. Our friends from Poland joined us for what would be a great week exploring and catching up. We found a nice place for dinner on our first night that had a great outdoor play area for the kids. I so wish we had more kid-friendly restaurants with good food in the US. It seems like such a simple concept!
We enjoyed visiting the many animals on the farm: bunnies, donkeys, horses, sheep, chickens, birds, cats, etc... More pictures to follow.
Day 27 - Rainy day in Bruges and an awesome lightning storm
We slept in (again) and decided to hit the nearby bakery that we enjoyed three years ago. It was delicious just as we had remembered. I accidentally ordered a pate croissant of some kind with some sort of liver product. Gross! I thought it was some sugary goodness. We've had a few culinary misses on this trip.
We settled in at the farm, played some ping-pong, visited some critters, and finally drug ourselves to the huge Carrefour Hypermarket for a big grocery run. The beer aisle was particularly impressive. Tons of great beer for far more affordable prices than home. We stocked up.
We cooked an easy pasta/salad dinner, enjoyed catching up and settling into our home for the week.
I am a couple of days behind but will catch up soon with more pictures and updates from Bruges. Even though we're taking things a bit slower at this point of our trip, we are still managing some fun day trips.