A Day in Bruges

PictureWhile I was in Amsterdam back in April, I decided to take a day trip to Bruges, Belgium. Belgium seemed like one of those countries that one would just pass through on the way to another country – not really worth an overnight visit, but good enough for a quick view.  The tour company that I booked the trip with was Tours and Tickets, and the purchase came with a one-hour canal tour in Amsterdam through the Lovers company. I took the canal tour on my first day in Amsterdam and fell asleep by the way. The time change had me taking naps everywhere.

We departed on one of those two-level buses, and it was crowded with people from all ages and all nationalities. I think Tours and Tickets is the company that is used for the tours on Viator, so it was quite popular. The bus ride was about three hours, and there wasn’t much scenery. Again, I took a nap because it was 3 am in the U.S. and my body had not adjusted to the time difference yet. The Netherlands is pretty flat with lots of modern windmills, and I didn’t notice much difference when we crossed into Belgium.

When were arrived in Bruges, our tour guide took us on a walking tour of the city before we all separated for lunch. The walking tour was difficult because there was a busload of us, our tour guide was hard to see because she was short, and there were just a lot of people in Bruges in general.

Not to many people made it through to the end of the tour – especially the older people who had to walk a bit slower.

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The Best Thing I Ever Ate

PictureThere’s a small ice cream shop on a corner that might be hard to stumble upon on the tourist-filled streets of Bruges, Belgium, They’ll be a crowd of people hanging around eating ice cream in a waffle cone with much content, but that’s not the reason I would go there. Oyya Ice Bar also serves the best thing I ever ate – Belgian waffles. More specifically, they serve the traditional Liège waffle.

I stepped into Oyya and ordered a plain waffle with a vanilla milkshake, not knowing what was in store. I had a waffle maker at home that I used to make waffles for breakfast all the time, so I already knew that I would enjoy this. The waiter handed me my order, and I took a few steps down the street before I pulled off a corner piece of the waffle and placed it in my mouth. I don’t know what the hell that shit is that I make at home. It just didn’t compare to what my tastebuds were experiencing at that moment. The waffle was moist, chewy, a bit flaky, and not the least bit crunchy.

The traditional Liège waffle has been served in Belgium since the 18th century and was created by the Liege prince’s chef. What makes the Liège waffle so different from the Belgian waffles that I experience at home is that it doesn’t involve a batter. It’s actually a dough, which makes it more dense than the American brunch item that goes well with fried chicken wings. There’s no need for additional toppings on this thing, but it seemed as though I was the only person who ordered it plain. Everyone else was getting a variety of fresh fruit, warm chocolate, nutella, caramel, and/or whipped cream. It really is perfect when it is freshly out of the waffle iron. There’s no need for syrup like the breakfast waffle because Belgian pearl sugar is used in this recipe. The pearl sugar melts and caramelizes, leaving a sweet and syrupy crust that isn’t too crunchy.

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