The last full day of the the cruise is usually sad but we were really looking forward to our first visit to Belgium. Plus, I think we are all ready to be heading home tomorrow. We had room service deliver coffee and pastries as our arrival was at 7:00am. I opened up the curtain and saw gray skies and steady rain. This did not make us to excited to run off the ship. Veronica and I were still not feeling well and Chris was not too keen on a rainy day either. Moments later, we heard a loud crack of thunder. We decided to dress and wait hoping for it to clear up.
Around 10:00, we were seeing blue skies so we decided now was the time to leave. We found a taxi right at the port. The driver was very friendly and gave us tips for things to see in Bruges. He was very impressed with our knowledge of Belgian beers. He dropped us close to the center of town, gave us his number and told us to call for pick up back to the ship.
Bruges is a beautiful medieval town with canals. It is amazingly picturesque and I fell in love with it as soon as I stepped into the centre of Bruge and saw the Belfry of Bruges. Before the trip, we watched the movie “In Bruges” and this spot is featured prominently in the film. You could hear the tower chiming out its melody as soon as we came in view. You can climb the tower but instead we were all hungry and eager to try a waffle. We found a place and Veronica ordered a waffle with strawberries while Chris and I shared a plain. It was nothing like a “Belgium waffle” that I’ve had in the States. It was magical. The texture was unlike any waffle I’ve ever tasted. Now with some food in our bellies, the search was on for the Beer Wall our cab driver told us about.
On our way to the beer, we we passed the Basilica of the Holy Blood. We went inside to visit the Church. This Church houses a relic of the blood of Jesus Christ collected by Joseph of Arimathea. It was brought to Bruges during the Second Crusade. The phial dates back to the 11th or 12th century and was never opened since its arrival in Bruges. The chapel is beautiful and we saw where the relic is stored. We lit two candles and then an announcement was made that veneration of the relic would be at 11am which was only five minutes away. We took seats in the front and waited. A priest appeared with the relic around his neck accompanied by an altar server. They went up a few stairs to a small altar. The priest said a short prayer and placed the relic in a glass case. We were all permitted to go up to the altar to view the relic. You could donate money and then place your hands on the case to say a short prayer. The altar server then gave each person a prayer card. It was a very spiritual experience for me and something I will always remember.
We continued our travels to the Beer Wall. It is located inside 2be bar and shop which is inside a 15th century mayor’s house. Here on display is all the Belgium beers next to the appropriate drinking vessel. We marveled at the majestic site of 1915 Belgium beers on display. We decided you can’t just look at them so we shared a local tasting. Four 4oz beers with 3 snacks sounded like a great place to start. Veronica and I went out on the terrace with views of the canal and Chris appeared a few moments later with our tasting. The snacks were a small piece of cheese, a little cup of sausages and a little cup of peanuts. The beers were amazing as was the snacks. Chris wanted to look for lunch and maybe some frites. We wandered the quaint streets of Bruges but nothing seemed like what we wanted. What I wanted was more beer so I suggested to go back to 2be and each get our own tasting. Veronica liked this plan and how could Chris argue. Back to the wall we went. This time we each got our our tasting. Since this was Veronica’s first legal drinking, she did the Light tasting while Chris and I both chose the Strong. The beers were once again fabulous. I thought it was a great “lunch”.
After our beers, we all wanted frites. We also wanted to buy some chocolates to bring home as thank you gifts, We stopped in one of the many chocolate shops and bought a few assortments. I asked one of the workers where he likes to get frites and he gave me a recommendation. We passed by a beer shop so we popped in to look. Of course we bought a few beers we have not seen at home to try.
The frites or fries were at a shop right in the center of town across from the tower. The outside seating was crowded and there was a line so that’s a good sign. We decided to share a large. They have 18 different sauces to choose from. We got a sample of three, warm brown beer sauce, andaluse and frikadelsaus. The last two were recommendations of the server after we wanted one that was spicy and one sweet. The fries were awesome and we enjoyed all the sauces. The beer sauce was like a beef gravy while the other two were mayonnaise based. After the fries, we called for our taxi. We found him at the pick up spot very easy and it was a short ride back to the ship.
Back on board, we all went to evening trivia. Veronica was having dinner with her friends so Chris and I went to the buffet. We wanted to go to pub trivia for one last visit with our Faukland friends. They were such a fun bunch to play trivia and talk with. We hope to one day visit their hometown on a trip to Antarctica.
After all this trivia, tonight was the prize redemption night. We had lots of signatures, close to 140 or so. There was a line out the door of the card room but we didn’t wait too long. We asked for a t-shirt and was told they only had one left. So, we took that. There weren’t many gifts left. No coffee mugs. Just really cheap water bottles and pens. We took 5 pens and I think a deck of cards. The line was even longer when we left so I don’t think people will be too happy. They probably shouldn’t offer trivia so many times a day on a two week cruise!
We went to Galaxy afterwards and did some dancing. We sat at our usual seats at the bar to enjoy Reinzi, RJay and the other bartenders one last evening. It was another great team who worked here this cruise. We left a little early and wanted to visit Champagne Charlies to say our goodbyes to the bar staff there. We saw friends we had made enjoying a drink and we sat with them for one last round. Mike decided a shot of Limoncello was in order for everyone so how could we say no. We closed out the bar at midnight. The best part about this last evening was we set the clock back one hour to London time! We said farewell to our friends and went back to the cabin. We had to put out the suitcases and waited for Veronica to return from her last night with her friends. Tomorrow, we leave for home!