Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Land of Beer and Chocolate


The last leg of the trip was Brugge, Belgium. I don't think I knew anything about Brugge before this trip. But what a wonder it is. It was one of the wealthiest cities in the world during the first half of the last millenium, and then the harbor silted up and it was forgotten by the world. What a blessing that was. It's a world heritage site and the city center has been beautifully preserved. You walk around, spiralling here and there, never quite sure where you are, but the architecture continues to astound you. It's incredible how much has survived. And not a convience store or gas station to be found. It's almost like Disneyland, only it's not fake...it's the real thing. The Hotel Adornes we stayed at was perfect. We climbed the old city bell tower, which would never happen in America. The stairs spriral up and up and are incredibly dangerous and narrow, and yet it handles two-way traffic. The view was lovely, even if it was raining and the wind was blowing us around mercilessly. We also did the brewery tour...of course. And ate Belgian Waffles while walking the streets. We viewed some churches and an art museum. And Mark drank lots of beer and I ate and drank lots of chocolate. On our last full day the rain finally cleared long enough for us to take the hotel bikes and rode along a canal to the small city of Damme. The city was cute and had a wonderful gothic(?)church and lots of restaurants, but that was it. But we continued to ride around the countryside which was wonderful. After we returned to town we headed out for some dinner, but decided to take the long route. However, a sudden storm came along. It absolutely poured, and we were quite unprepared. We had to take sanctuary in a carriage way. For something akin to 45 minutes. I was quite chilly, but Mark volunteered to keep me warm. It was a truly romantic city.

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