In Bruges

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So the only thing I knew about Bruges was that it was the setting for a movie that starred Colin Farrel as a grumpy assassin. Oh and that it’s in Belgium.

But I was soon going to learn that it is a gorgeous, quaint little town that makes you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time. But before we get to that, let’s start at the beginning…

As I said previously my friend Matika had invited me to go on a trip to France for the day with her and her friend Jo. Jo had found an amazing deal that included a trip on the ferry from Dover to Calais and a 6-pack of wine for the ridiculous price of £20. What a bargain! So of course I decided to tag along.

Jo picked us up and we headed off and it wasn’t long before she let us know that in fact we were going to spend the day in Bruges. Okey doke, sounds good to me!

After a quick trip down to Dover, a smooth ferry ride to Calais and a short drive to Bruges (Jo driving expertly on the wrong side of the road) I was ready to experience my first European town.

White Cliffs of Dover

Castle on top of the cliffs of Dover

On board the ferry to Calais 

Bruges was absolutely gorgeous, with delightful cobblestone lanes and charming buildings. The town had that feel of European sophistication but also of a quaint village appeal that made you feel like you could most definitely live there. It wasn’t a large town and I think you could certainly see the majority of the sights in a day, especially if you jump on board one of the cute horse drawn carts that frequent the streets or a boat ride on the canals. There are some grand buildings to take in but I think the most spectacular part of the town was watching the boats and ducks making their way along the canals and reflections of the enchanting buildings and bridges on the water.

Another of the amazing things about Bruges was being able to sample Belgium’s famously delicious fares – waffles, chocolates, mussels and of course, beer! Everywhere we walked around the town there were brightly lit chocolate stores tempting us with their mouth-watering delicacies. Lunch consisted of the most incredible waffles, smothered in chocolate sauce, icecream and strawberries and accompanied by a glass of Belgian beer. Towards the end of the day we stocked up with bags and bags of all the different flavoured choccies and then headed to a cozy restaurant to enjoy an enormous pot of steaming mussels. We were in culinary heaven!

After dinner it was back in the car for the trip to Calais and ferry ride back to grey old England. What a day! I was absolutely delighted by the beauty of Bruges and extremely satisfied with the delicious cuisine on offer. Thanks Mitika and Jo!

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Bariloche

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The only thing I didn’t like about Bariloche was that I was only able to stay one night there.

Bariloche is just over the Andes in Argentina and sits very close by to a volcano which has been erupting on and off for quite some time. You Australians may remember the ash that swept across Australia canceling virtually all the flights in the southern states earlier in the year, well this is the same volcano that caused that. Which means that a lot of the surrounding areas are covered in ash and many of the trees and other plants have died. Bariloche residents were still in the process of cleaning up te last lot if ash when we arrived. It was a beautiful town and the hostel I stayed in (Penthouse 1004) had the most amazing views over the lake.

The view from my dorm room. Not bad eh?

Bariloche is the perfect place to do lots of different outdoor activities such as kayaking and paragliding, but because I was there for such a short amount of time I didn’t really get the chance.

Bariloche is also famous for it’s chocolate and has a number of huge stores around the town where you can buy any kind of chocolate you like by the kilo. So instead of getting into the outdoor activities I got into the chocolate, and boy was it good!

I met a great group of people in the hostel from all around the world and we had a huge cook up before going out partying. It was an absolutely fabulous night, mostly spent dancing, and also provided us with great views from the hostel when we got home at sunrise. Gorgeous!

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