Beer. Before we went, I would have said, "oh, yeah, Belgian beer. Light wheat beers, good stuff." I had no idea.
The cream of the crop among Belgian beers are the Trappist ales, brewed by Trappist monks. Five of the six remaining Trappist monastaries are in Belgium. The beer is typically strong -- 6% or higher -- and the taste is soooo smooth. (I also found out that it has triple the calories of other beers, but I'm pretending not to know that.)
Also, see what else is in that picture? (Besides John, of course.) Big bowl of cheese. Gouda, specifically, of which there are also many more kinds than I knew about. Served with beer. Sooo good.
A bicycle trip. Having our bikes in Cambridge has convinced us that cycling rocks. Conveniently, we live in a very flat place, and Brugge is very flat as well. Someday we'll be fit enough to cycle in hilly places, but if we never go to hilly places, it won't be a problem! (See previous notes re: beer and waffles.) Nevermind, though: We had a great time. The trip took us about 10 km north to the village of Damme. We rode along the canal most of the way. We could have kept going another 10 km and gone to Holland. Our cutie patootie tour guide says, "How do you know when you've reached Holland? They'll be a Dutch guy standing there in wooden shoes smoking a joint with his arm around a prostitute."
The Begijnhof. This is a convent of sorts, home to Benedictine nuns and 50 or so Beguine women -- women who have devoted their lives to God and taken the vows of fidelity and celibacy, but outside the formal order of nuns. The Beguinage was founded in 1249. We walked into the church in the complex, to find 10 or so nuns singing their recitations. (Anyone know what they would have been singing?) The combination of the peace of the Beguinage and the chants of the nuns made it a memorable place.
'Sweet Caroline.' We were walking back to our B&B when we could hear music from the courtyard and the base of the bell tower. We stuck our heads in to discover this flag team performing to 'Sweet Caroline.' We were amused. At the end, they ran off the stage, and a bunch of kids in wooden shoes ran on and performed. Wouldn't be a trip to Flanders without some wooden shoe action!
It was a great weekend getaway. As per usual, there are dozens of photos here, including more detailed commentary. And look, we actually had someone else take a picture of us for once: