Brussels and Bruges in Belgium

We had a long weekend in November so we decided to make the 3 hour trip from Paris to Belgium.  We drove into the city at dusk.  The buildings had a little bit different feel than in Paris, but they were still pretty.

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Our hotel was on the north side of the city, but still very much in an urban setting.  This was at a point where the road went way and you had to drive on the tram tracks.  Things like this always make us a little nervous, but it was fine.

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The next morning we were up and around early.  We took the tram into the city to do some exploring. I liked this window detail just outside of our hotel.

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You could see this cathedral, Saint Marie, I believe, from our hotel.

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This is more what the view was really like though.  It is amazing what a little bit of cropping will do to a city.

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There were not many people out and about early on a Saturday mooring.

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We had a beautiful day.

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Brussels is a beautiful city and it is not as well known as Paris so it is fun.

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We passed by a lot of museums.  In a perfect world we would have visited several of them, but with 4 kids 7 and under in tow we enjoyed the view from the outside.

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We ended up at the Grand Sablon market.  Everything at this market is at least 30 years old.  They were still setting up, but I could tell that this market was a little fancy for me.

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I did find these beautiful lavender books that were a good deal and they are so pretty.

A good start to a chilly morning in Brussels. #brocante

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The view at the market was just beautiful.

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I love exploring new markets.

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Next we did visit one museum.  This was one of the gates to the city.

A fun castle in Brussels. A very kid friendly stop. #belgium

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The museum was great for kids with a duck scavenger hunt through the different rooms.

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My kids ran all the way up and down 4 flights of stairs to see everything.

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I love looking up!

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This piece of furniture was in the attic of the museum.  I wanted to take it home, but it wouldn’t fit in the car.

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A few stained glass windows.

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The transom on this door to the attic was beautiful.

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We took a little break at the top to rest our legs, again looking up is always rewarding.

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One of the statues in the middle of the staircase.

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Just before and just after the museum stop we walked through the market at the Place de Jeu.  I had so much fun at the market and I filled my bag to the brim.  Here is just a sampling of what I found.  The prices were good, but I still found some of them to be high.

I am a happy girl. #brocante #belgium #scale #torchon

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On our way back to the hotel we stopped at a beautiful little park across from the church we were at earlier.  There was a wonderful little bakery with to go coffee just across the street.  The coffee was good and the pastry I had was delicious.

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We saw a little bit more of Brussels the next morning when we were on the hunt for an open Starbucks, but we were ready to move on.  Our next stop was Waterloo, just 20 minutes outside the city and we were at a fabulous market and a significant historical sight.  Sunday mornings there is a big market in the parking lot of the Carrefour parking lot in Waterloo.  I had too much fun!

I didn’t bring my big camera, my arms were full of all my treasures.  I do have a few instagram photos of the day.  This scale was a heavy dream come true for me.  The dealer had 2, but we only had room in the car for one.

I finally found one in my price range. The Waterloo Brocante is amazing. #brocante #vintage #scale #belgium

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After I had my fill of the market we stopped for a quick lunch at McDonalds.  There is a decent location right next to the market, it was a good reward for my patient children.

Then we headed to the site of the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.  There is now a hill with 226 steps to the top.  Here you can survey the battle field where Napoleon lost.  We all made the trek to the top and then the kids and I came back down while my husband spent some time enjoying the military history.

 

After Waterloo we made the 1.5 hour drive to Bruges.  Our hotel here was right downtown, it was perfect.  We had a one bedroom room with kitchenette and beds for each of the kids.  We could see the bell tower from our patio.  We have stayed in so many questionable places it was a treat to have a good location.

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We were up and around early on Monday morning and we got to explore some of the city before anyone else .  This map of the city made out of lace was pretty neat.

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Then we walked to Our Lady church where Michelangelo’s Madonna is.  This is one of the pieces of art in the movie, The Monument’s Men.

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Again, we were there before most everyone else was there.  It is so special to experience these beautiful piece of art.

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From the church we went to a boat ride of the canal.  It was one of those things that everyone said we should do, and they were right.

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This boat ride was so beautiful.

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Bruges has become one of our new favorite cities here and I would highly recommend a visit if you go.

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We also visited the Historium, a nice little visit with a history of the Middle Ages in Bruges.

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Our evening included a horse and carriage ride that was another beautiful way to see the city.

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I will leave you with a few more pictures from our boat tour.

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I hope you enjoyed this mini tour of Belgium.  I hope you get to go somewhere fun soon too!

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