Tag Archives: fries

European Vacation – Bruges, Belgium

The next stop on our trip was Bruges, Belgium. We stayed at the Hotel de Goezeput, the only hotel typical hotel we used while in Europe.

This was the most laid-back and relaxing leg of our vacation – not because we didn’t do anything, but because nothing was really planned ahead of time.

We started with our traditional McDonald’s meal.

The best part of Belgium in my opinion was Chez Albert. We ended up grabbing snacks from this shop many times and got to know the owner, Sabine.

I particularly liked this statue. It might be called “The Lovers” or some variation on that, but I couldn’t find definitive information on the Internet.

We did some wandering around the city, including some exploration of windmills.

Here’s a closer look at my friends. It looks like they were up to something.

There was a hill near one of the windmills that gem couldn’t help but roll down! I might have done so too 🙂

When we got back to the hotel, we got ready for bed. gem and Anela played Papers, Please on my laptop while I showered. Glad they enjoyed it!

We started the next day with more Chez Albert. I told you Sabine would get to know us.

Chocolate is a must in Belgium, so we did some shopping. I really liked a shop called Chocolates & Happiness, which put cute quotes on their boxes of chocolates. I bought a few boxes to take home.

Next up was the “In Bruges” walking tour by “Can You Handle It? Tours” with our tour guide, Steve. It was a fun a little tour, and the highlight was probably the beer museum. I enjoyed Arthur’s Legacy (Limited Edition), Kriek Boon (a delicious cherry beer – my favorite), and Rosso Red Fruit beer. The tour also took us to Chocolaterie de Burg, a chocolate shop that came recommended to us.

Sometimes we have to take a quick break for a photo!

Here we all are with a canal behind us.

This is the Madonna and Child, sculpted by Michelangelo, in the Church of Our Lady.

And this is a touristy photo in front of it. Honestly, it was a bit lackluster to me, but I’m glad I got to see it.

Here’s another nice shot of us together.

We found a shop with a chocolate fountain and bought some sweets mostly so we could use the fountain. I dropped some of my chocolates though. Sad times.

Oh no! We were running low on sweets! Sabine could save us though.

We had dinner at ‘t Vagevuur because it offered a discount to people from the walking tour. The discount applied to a limited menu, and I wasn’t that impressed. However, we did run into Stevie again. For those of you not keeping track, we met her on a train in the Netherlands a few days earlier. How awesome is that?

After dinner we got some drinks at a bar and then stuffed ourselves with fries covered in various toppings from a little stand before heading back to the hotel.

The next morning we got some delicious bagel sandwiches from Sanseveria on our way out of Bruges. We met a couple from Atlanta who had breakfast with us. They were in Belgium for a conference. One of them worked for the CDC and was a public health professor at a university – pretty cool. After our tasty breakfast, we took a train to Kortrijk. We were supposed to continue by train to Paris, but that’ll be a story for next time.

Stand up paddle boarding and the OC Night Market

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This weekend held a few fun things – like stand up paddle boarding! First, I had the wrong address number, and we drove 10 minutes out of the way. Next, we used East instead of West in the address and drove 10 minutes incorrectly again. Finally, we got to the board rental place and locked the keys in the car. We decided to worry about that later because it was time for Kaylin, gem, and I to have fun!18634341171_610cf22c36

gem wanted to do yoga, and then I wanted to do yoga too.18445942169_6eb740d03c

Due to wrist pain, I’ve been avoiding anything that puts pressure on my wrist, but you put a paddle board under me, and I decide I don’t care.18634341031_02bbae9314

Oof.18445940189_c6a58bacb3

I tried for a while to balance on one foot, but I just couldn’t do it. I guess that’s no big surprise.

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We got to see lots of cool animals while on the water such as this SUP dog! It fell off the board once while we watched and just swam back up to the board. It had a handle on its harness, so its owner just picked it up and put it back on the board. Adorable! We also some saw some birds of course as well as seals or sea lions. I can never tell the difference, but they were cute and liked to aarf. One kept trying to jump onto a boat; we watched him a fail a few times while we cheered him on, but he gave up. Another was just napping and started aarfing at us when we got too close.

It was a ton of fun! The wind picked up near the end, making us take forever to get back. We were on the water for a bit under three hours, and I guess it was a pretty good work out. Unfortunately, I did get sunburned, but gem gave me aloe from her aloe plant! When we got back to the beach, Kaylin stayed with us while figured out the keys. Hooray for AAA.

Akropolis in Newport Beach

After paddle boarding, gem and I grabbed lunch at Akropolis. The Greek food was amazing! We started with this huge appetizer platter. I was really craving dolma, and this platter delivered it and more. Everything was amazing.

Akropolis in Newport Beach

We also had a Greek pizza, which I considered the best pizza I’d ever eaten. gem said it was just because I’m hungry, but I think that’s a valid factor. Experience counts.

It had sauce, cheese, gyro meat, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and tzatziki. Oh, wow. It was really amazing.

I also talked with the guy working there a bit. He confirmed that it was Greek owned. He’s actually half Greek and half Persian, and he asked if I was Greek because he noticed my name on my card. Neither of us were taught Greek, although he knows Farsi, which is cool! I’d love to come back here.

oc night market

That night I went to the OC Night Market with these awesome people, gem, Anela, and Jonathan.

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We ate a bunch of tasty things like this donut with ice cream in the middle topped with chocolate chips and mini Oreos. Actually, it was just kind of meh. I don’t think the donut added anything except unneeded carbs, and I’ve had much better mint chocolate chip ice cream. But it was fun to eat it anyways haha. We also went back to the same booth that took an hour with our order last time; this time it only took a couple minutes, and the servings were much larger! Anela craved fries, so we ended up getting curry fries, garlic crab fries, and Spam fries. We all expected the Spam fries to be fries topped with Spam, but they were more literal. It was Spam cut likes fries and fried. Yummy but salty!

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My biggest goal for the night was to find Orion’s Cookery and get their new Hot Cheetos Brick, essentially a Rice Krispies Treat made with Hot Cheetos instead of Rice Krispies. They only had two left when I bought mine. Huzzah! After my first, small bite, I thought it was a little odd – not bad but not amazing – and maybe slightly stale tasting. Then I ate more, and as I took a bigger bite, I was pretty impressed. Win!

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Anela wanted the Turkish ice cream, with which she was familiar. I’d never heard of it. According to Wikipedia, it’s called dondurma and is also popular in Greece as dudurmas or kaimaki. It’s thicker than normal ice cream and more resistant to melting. The vendor let me take his picture before he got our ice cream. I liked his clothes! He makes a bit of a show of serving it, which also shows off how it’s different than our typical ice cream. He’d put it in a cone, swing it around such that typical ice cream would fall from the cone, hand it to Anela, twist and grab it back, etc. It was fun!

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And how was it?

Tasty, tasty! I’d definitely get it again, especially given the show of it. Wikipedia also mentions that that showmanship is typical of dondurma vendors. Buy some if you get the chance!

Okay, that’s it. You can stop reading. Thanks! 🙂