Part 12: Durbuy, Belgium | Europe, 2015

And, finally, five weeks into our trip we reached our last destination, Belgium! Land of infinite beer. Infinite amazing beer. Our journey here was a bit long: we took the water taxi back from Murano to Venice, then took the train to downtown Treviso, Italy—where we managed to somehow find the right bus and get to the Treviso airport for our cheap flight to Brussels. Nothing on Italian transit is really indicated, so I’m amazed we ran off the bus in the nick of time at the stop that looked like a bus station but was actually the airport. lol. We flew into Brussels pretty late, so we stayed at a hotel close by and then took the train to Durbuy the next day. Whew! Made it:

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The Old Town | Durbuy, Belgium

The Old Town | Durbuy, Belgium

We came here to visit my husband’s friend, who has the cutest hotel & tavern called Les Mignées right outside the ‘smallest town on earth’, cute right-out-of-a-storybook Durbuy, where we stayed for a few days. You guys, I’m not biased when I say that him, his wife, and their friendly staff make the best food in the world. For reals. We ate as per his suggestion the whole time and it was all amazing. The locals come here from Durbuy to eat, it’s so good! And so much care is put into the beer they carry (mostly trappist, or made by Monks as per tradition dating back to the 1600’s) and the locally sourced, high-quality ingredients. We were in heaven, seriously. And after all this travelling and carrying the backpack and starting to miss clean clothes and such, the first thing I did was have a nice, long bath when we got there. lol. We were pretty exhausted.

Between pinching ourselves, drinking beer, and visiting, we spent a day visiting little Durbuy, which is just a ways down the hill. It’s so cute that I wanted to move there! It has a little castle! And it’s full of trendy home ‘antique’ stores with little homemade chocolate shoppes at the back of them (the best chocolates ever). It had a pirate bar and some of the best real antiques I’ve ever seen. Ohmyword. I just wanted to stare at this one shop’s collection of sixties patterned dishware all day. We had supper in town and watched the motorcycles roll in and out (it must be at the end of a good Sunday ride, I’m guessing) and then, at this point, were so exhausted that we headed to the park and had a nap in the sun. lol. For half the day. But it’s so small that we still pretty much saw it all and got some much-needed rest.

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Battle of the Golden Spurs | Kortrijk, Belgium

Battle of the Golden Spurs | Kortrijk, Belgium

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International Rose Garden | Kortrijk, Belgium

International Rose Garden | Kortrijk, Belgium

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After a few days visiting, it was time to move on—we were so sad to leave! But my brother in law recently moved to Kortrijk, so we were excited to visit him in his new digs: we took the train through Brussels (which, we learned, is the dividing line between the French-speaking part of Belgium and the Flemish-speaking part, did you know? I did not)—up to Kortrijk ( or, confusingly, ‘Courtray’ if you're coming to it from the French side). It dates back to the 13th Century, and has a history that revolves around the battle of the golden spurs (they successfully fended off the French armies in the 1300’s), so there are lots of monuments and even an old church with the spurs hung from the ceiling at one of the altars. Despite being so old, it feels really metropolitan, there: very Vancouver-like, actually: I think it’s the trendy restaurants, new-looking buildings, and the exact same rainy weather that gave me this vibe, at least downtown: the outskirts are older, obviously. So we got to spend the last part of our trip with my husband’s brother, mom, and our little nephew—hitting up all the playgrounds in the city, having ice cream, visiting the rose garden, and coloring up a storm. Such a nice visit! We happily found a local bakery by our hotel every morning, too, and enjoyed a coffee in the city square before starting the day.

On our last night, we said our goodbyes and took the train into Brussels, where we stayed with another family friend for the night: we had plans to go to the toy museum or the comic strip center and see some of Brussels, but we just didn’t have enough time! Another place we have to come back to! Then, after six weeks of travelling, we hopped on an early plane and (sniff) waved goodbye to Europe. Until next time, you beautiful continent, you!