28 June 2011

Woollie in Belgium

So no this time I wasn't in Amsterdam, although the windmill and the canals were enough to think that I was. 

I am just back from 5 days in Belgium for work and a little leisure - visiting Brussels and Bruges.

I have worked in the Policy and Europe team for 13 years and yet this was my first work related visit to the home of the European Union in Brussels. It was an interesting visit, attending an EU awareness session, a conference to launch the Smart Cities agenda and the networking forum to search for potential project partners for European funded initiatives - all in all an interesting 3 days in Brussels.



On Wednesday afternoon I headed to Bruges (Brugge in Dutch) for another meeting and some me time. 

Bruges is a beautiful small city about an hour by train from Brussels whose medieval centre is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a range of architecture and most of it's medieval centre intact, winding canals and chocolate shops galore it's hardly surprising that it's a bit of a tourist mecca - it did at times feel a little like a medieval Disneyland, complete with "It's a Small World" boats plying the canals.


Life revolves around the many squares that dominate the city centre, with restaurants and bars with summer time tables outside.


However, perhaps the best bar is Staminee de Garre, which is not to be found in one of the squares, but up a narrow alleyway, hidden from sight. On two floors (I wouldn't like to be descending from the upper floor after too many beers) the bar is tiny, with only about 40 seats but sells perhaps the largest range of Belgian beer (127 to chose from) and jenever (Flemish gin). They also brew their own beer - and each drink is served with a little plate of cheese - very tasty!



My meeting was Wednesday evening (which included dinner in the town hall, being entertained by medieval style court jesters, musicians and magicians) and Thursday morning so I had Thursday afternoon and until about  2pm on Friday to wander Bruges, drink beer, eat moules frites and buy chocolates.







Bruges is a great place to spend a couple of days......

9 comments:

Ali said...

well crap... and I've been to Brussels and Bruge... I note you don't show the little boy peeing!!! Do they still have the Atom in Brussels? I brought home a plastic ashtray with a picture of the atom on it!! I think it was in the very late 70's so it was ok then to buy ashtrays!!! LOL. fun trip!!

Di said...

Hi Ali
I know! Didn't even see the Manniken Pis - did see the Atomium in the distance from the train. Bruges - all I can think about it the smell of chocolate on almost every corner! YUM!

Thimbleanna said...

Some girls get all the luck! It sounds like a wonderful trip. Your pictures are so beautiful -- a place to visit for sure!

heather said...

i was just writing about belgium and bruges the other day for some strange european cruise article gig i have. it's so pretty!!!

Arctic Mum said...

I want moules frites. Now (sudden pregnancy craving came up while reading your post).

Bethany Hissong said...

You did tell me that you were going to Belgium... I should have known that!! Di, your photos are just gorgeous...framable!!! It looks like the perfect place to visit. I have a big craving for chocolate right now! I was wondering if the EU uses Cisco teleconferencing? Craig could help them out with that! ;)

lykkefanten said...

I've never been to Brussels or Bruge... have ever only driven through Belgium, but I'm planning to ammend that in the near future ;)

Looks like a wonderful trip.

Heidi said...

Living vicariously through your travels! Great pix!

Anonymous said...

looks beautiful and yummy. great pics!

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