When we returned to Frankfurt after spending Christmas in Michigan, Brian and I had our own little Christmas at home. Even though we weren't home much for the month of December, Brian was so sweet to help me decorate our tree and apartment since he knows how much I love Christmas decorations :)
Brian's big gift this year - his Citiz Nespresso coffee maker. He loves it!
For New Years weekend, we went to Brussels and Bruges. I'll preface this post with the fact that I got food poisoning or some sort of stomach virus on New Years Day, so my memories of this trip are kind of jaded :) But the cities were beautiful and we really had a good time when I wasn't sick...so here we go!
On Thursday, December 30, we left work a little early and drove to Brussels, Belgium. We were excited to go on a road trip after having spent so much time on planes! We arrived in Brussels around dinner time, so we dropped our bags in our hotel and headed downtown to get some food! When we came out of the metro station, we found the gorgeous Brussels cathedral.
Downtown Brussels was pretty nice - cute shops and fun alleyways with lots of restaurants. We were completely focused on finding something to eat!
We picked a restaurant off the "main tourist strip" because those restaurants looked quite sketchy and the Turkish and Italian guys trying to get you to eat at their restaurant were just a little too much.
Guy with non-Belgian accent, jumping out in front of us: "Come and eat at my restaurant!"
Brian: "No thanks"
Next guy, same description, same line
It was exhausting walking past all of those restaurants! It was like those guys could smell my hunger.
We were happy with the restaurant we chose and really enjoyed our dinner of oysters and mussels.
After dinner, we walked around the city to see what else we could find. Apparently this little statue called Manneken Pis is quite famous. It's just a 1-foot tall statue of a boy peeing! But we got our picture with the little urinating guy.
Brussels' town square, called Grand Place, was gorgeous! The buildings were ornate and beautifully lit. We took some pictures, enjoyed the view, and then headed back to our hotel. It had been a long day, and we were exhausted!
The next day was New Years Eve, and we had four goals: eat a Belgian waffle, drink Belgian beer, buy some Belgian chocolate, and try some Belgian french fries. For breakfast, we found a great waffle place - check! While walking around, we found this chocolate shop and bought some yummy treats - check!
We continued exploring and found some other fun shops. Later in the day, to meet the french fries and beer goals, we went back to the square.
The restaurant we chose was so cool. It was really narrow and four stories tall, and it felt like it was at least 100 years old. We sat on the top floor, enjoyed the view out the windows, and had some great beer and fries!
Later in the afternoon, we got in the car and headed to our next destination, Bruges. Bruges is a beautiful, quaint town. I expected it to be really low key, but I was impressed with how it incorporated a busy tempo and modern stores into it's old town feel. Brian and I spent the earlier part of New Years Eve exploring the town.
Bruges still had its Christmas market set up, which had some great food and a really cute ice skating rink. Instead of a zamboni, teenagers would skate around with ice scrapers to resurface the ice.
A little later in the evening, Brian and I made our way to an Irish pub to warm up and have a beer before heading to the town square for the New Years Eve count down and fireworks. The pub handed out green noisemakers, hats, and masks, which we made great use of.
On our way to the town square, we stopped by our hotel to grab the champagne we had brought for the celebration.
And we headed to the square to welcome 2011 with thousands of other people. We didn't have the best view of the fireworks, but it was still an impressive show for a little town like Bruges.
On New Years Day, I wasn't feeling the best, but we went for a walk to see some other parts of the town we hadn't visited yet. Unfortunately, I didn't last too long before having to retire to the hotel room for the rest of the day. I was so bummed, because I love long walks, especially in a scenic city like Bruges! And, I really love long walks in cities where you can reward your activity with crepes covered in cookie crumbs! We have never seen that type of crepe before, and Brian seemed to really enjoy it. I sipped on my Sprite, longingly watching him consume his delicious treat. Grr...sickness. I was thankful that our hotel room was nice and had an English movie channel, though. It played a John Wayne film and then tons of episodes of CSI, which we found interesting - old school movie and then a recent, semi-popular TV show. Oh well, at least it was English and kept my mind off my fever.
On January 2, I woke up feeling better, but we thought it would be best to go ahead and call it a trip. Brian drove the entire way back to Frankfurt and let me sleep most of the time. I think we'll try to take the motorcycle back to Belgium at some point before we move back to the States so that we can experience it a little more, but we enjoyed the time we had over New Years. Happy 2011!