And we’re off to Europe again. This time, however, we decided to switch things up and head inland. We’re starting today in Brussels (Belgium), taking a day trip to Bruges (Belgium), moving on to Heidelberg and Munich (Germany), taking an overnight train to Prague (Czech Republic), and making a quick stop in Hamburg (Germany) before visiting Dawin’s brother in Copenhagen (Denmark).

First up, Brussels!

After a long flight full of crying babies, we landed in Brussels at the early hour of 7am. We immediately discovered that our US credit cards don’t work in Belgium train ticket kiosks thanks to the lack of a special security chip that Europe has been using for years but the US has been slow to adopt. So instead, we had our first interaction with the locals at the ticket desk. Soon enough we were zipping into town on one of the quietest trains we’ve ever been on.

Upon arriving at the MIDI station, we wandered north to our bed and breakfast. Stephen, one of the proprietors, greeted us outside and showed us around, took our luggage, and gave us a key and directions to the sights of Brussels, a and we were back out the door to explore.

We started things off with a trip to the local flea market, where you could buy anything from VHS tapes to nice paintings and furniture. It was quite the hodgepodge of things spread out on the ground and tables. Not finding anything, we decided to start putting some miles on our shoes and wandered northeast, where we saw what I believe is the Palace of Justice, which they were in the process of restoring.

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We then headed towards the town square area, in the process walking by the local Notre Dame church…

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…a lovely garden…

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..and plenty of traditional Belgian buildings like these, where they’re very skinny and tall, and built right on top of each other.

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Once we arrived in the square, the main attraction was the Town Hall, a nearly 600 year old building with an imposing tower. The square also held a few museums and other buildings that dated back to the 1600s or earlier.

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It didn’t take Dawin long to fine chocolate and sweets, and we managed to find a shop for one of her favorite chocolatiers as well as another shop that was floor to ceiling sweets.

From there it was back to the bed and breakfast to get checked into our actual room. We were at the very top of the building in a loft suite, slanted ceilings and all. As you can see, we were pretty happy with the room, and Dawin couldn’t help but try out the bed.

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But however much we wanted to sleep, we still had half a day left to soldier through. So we headed back out again, this time to see the National Palace and park. First we came across the Brussels Cathedral, which was…large. As an added bonus, there was an English choir practicing inside that was fantastic.

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Unfortunately the palace was not open to the public (we were about a month too early) so this is the best you get for a picture.

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On the way back to the hotel, Dawin found a friend.

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For dinner, we first tried to go to a local seafood place where you sit at an outdoor bar, but alas it was closed on Mondays so we switched to a traditional Flemish restaurant. Dawin had some rally good meatballs and I enjoyed some rabbit, which seems very popular here. Of course I had a nice Belgian Trappist beer, and Dawin had the delicious European version of Fanta (man do I wish we could get this in the States instead of that neon orange stuff we have).

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We couldn’t hold out any longer (it was basically 3 in the afternoon back home and we’d gotten approximately zero hours of sleep on the plane) so we headed back to the B&B and hit the sack.

Tomorrow: Bruges/Brugge