the {big} brugge round-up

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two trains and 3.5 hours - hello brugge! original flooring and glass stained window at our B&B St. Jacobs horse and carriage i ate the whole thing. by myself. last shot of the night before the rain picked up ready for exploring the aftermath of the first day's/night's storm taking it all in (love the step peaks of the buildings to my right) brugge canal. some bridges dated as far back to the 15th century watch your head! these little solder looking fellows held window shutters open all over the city brugge parking lot - love this! one of three cats we saw in a shop window display. how much? reminders of the city's textile past stocked up at Depla Chocolatier hot chocolate with amaretto for me, irish coffe for Joe. santas doing a polar bear swim arrival free treats while we watch - thanks, Santa! brugge parking against a typical color-glass window so festive at night the local brew

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Phew! This round-up took longer to put together than expected but there it is - bits and pieces of our adventures in Brugge! Since there are so many tidbits to share, I'm just going to list a few instead of doing a formal write up (yes, I'm being lazy but there's more to come this week).

• bikes are parked everywhere you go, some with a lock and chain but most just rest against a wall (lotsa trust in this town). people were out riding their bikes even in the worst of the storm, too. made me feel like a pansy knowing that I would never do that.

• with church bells chiming, horse and carriages trotting along, canal boat tours and more,  i found myself thinking "this place is like Disneyland" when really, Disneyland looks and feels like this place. it's seriously that charming!

• the waffles, chocolate, and beer are as good as everyone says they are. i've never eaten an entire waffle without getting a food coma but these were special and light - i could eat two...or three.

• polar bear swimming means variety show. we just wanted to see people jump in the canal and be crazy but instead, groups of swimmers each did a cheesy skit before anti-climactically diving into the water. We stayed for three of those, got our candy from Santa and moved on. However, it was funny to see the cold swimmers be greeted with a shot of Jägermeister and branded knit hat once they got out of the water.

• the town shines for Christmas. lights, decorations, festive markets - its medieval architecture is the perfect backdrop for a classic holiday experience.

• our B&B owner was super friendly and knowledgeable about the best local spots (I'll share his amazing recommendations for chocolates later). we definitely recommend St. Jacobs B&B for a modern, homey, and cozy stay in the city but away from the crowds.

• unfortunately, i didn't do any vintage shopping but Madam Mim is a well curated little shop worth returning for (and the canal-side flea market they have in the summers!). Lots of other antique shops on that street, too.

There's lots of reasons to go back to Brugge - flea market or not. It is one cool town. Stay tuned for more!