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Wednesday, September 17, 2014


One thing about being in and out of 7 hotels and suitcases for less than 2 weeks, I don't have time to write often, nor the desire. I prefer staying in one location for 5-7 days and traveling out from there. Since you really only have one full day anywhere, you walk your ass off (oh, if only that was true) trying to see everything, which causes blisters and exhaustion. My body has rebelled in not-so-subtle ways, which I needn't explain. I am less than thrilled by this trip and have silently vowed not to travel like this again. Apparently my complaining hasn't been just in my head since I heard about it recently. I've never been known for subtlety.
What can I say about Brussels and Bruges? I felt like I was in the movie “If This is Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium.” We took the train, which was good from Germany, but the domestic shorter trip was a little difficult only because the seats have no place for luggage, so we had to find places in the back of a car and stash our bags nearby. Matthew hurt his shoulder a month before we left town and storing my bag overhead, even though it's only a carry-on, has made his injury worse. He's also had to carry it upstairs because it's still too heavy for me to lug.
We had a lovely hotel in Brussels, which had a great location that was awesome for walking to the Grand Place and other nearby places to see. The Grand Place is alive at night with restaurants and people who head there to sit outside and people watch. Lots of young people...and everyone smokes!

The first night, we found our way, after help from a handsome young Frenchman, to the Grand Place for dinner.
We'd been researching on Trip Advisor and trying to find a great eatery because I'd been told Brussels has the best foody places in all Europe. But everything on TA seemed too far or needed reservations, so we just wandered into a spot that looked good. I had ribs and Matthew had a Leffe, a famous beer and whatever meat dish. We both thoroughly enjoyed our dinners, and when we got back to our room, checked our choice out on Trip Advisor and it was #1,920 out of 2,360..or something close to that. We had to least we enjoyed it.
We did our usual, which was to take the Hop On, Hop Off bus to see the city and decide which parts we wanted to return to, if time allowed. Or sometimes we hopped off and stayed awhile and of course had no time to return anywhere.
We were there 2 nights, then headed for another 2 in Bruges. We walked from the train station over the cobblestones to our hotel, which was more unique. No elevator, and fortunately the proprietor hauls everyone's luggage up the steep, narrow stairs himself. The room was adequate, and since I couldn't figure out the difference between the room prices, we decided to splurge with the most expensive of the first type...which turned out to mean it had an extra bed. At least I finally had a place for my luggage. It was close to everything, though Bruges isn't very big, so that's pretty common. I will say it is by far the most picturesque town I've ever seen. It's surrounded by a canal with large trees and swans and the buildings are beautiful.

We were sent off to a restaurant nearby for lunch, and I ordered steak tartare. Now if my parents or sister were alive, they would understand, but the rest of the people in my life might be grossed out by now...unless you have no idea what that is. It's raw meat with seasoning. This one was finely ground and served with a delicious salad. I loved it!
When I was growing up, my dad would occasionally make steak tartare using the best ground beef, onions, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. He would mix it by hand, and we would eat it on sourdough bread. It was a great treat, especially since Dad didn't do much in the kitchen.

So now we're in Paris, which I need more time to write about than I have now. But I did want to say I had steak tartare here last night for dinner, which was more like how my dad prepared it...and they served it with Lea and Perrins Worcestershire as a condiment!!! Of course, I added some, a la Walter.

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