After some serious train travel on Day 12, the Younger Fives really needed a day off. So, it was perfect that we had an entire day to spend in Bruges, Belgium where they could take the lead. As soon as we stepped outside of our hotel on a very sunny Sunday they were in charge of picking what we should see and do in this lovely canal lined city.
The kids were immediately enamored by the green spaces all along the perimeter of the city, and so we walked along the canal enjoying the towering trees, green grass, and open spaces to run free. The first half of the day was all about playgrounds. The kids were super excited to find two American playmates on one of the larger playgrounds (they were visiting Bruges from Germany, where their father is stationed with the military).
From there we had a special surprise in store for High Five. When we visited Venice, Italy this past December he was very disappointed that we didn’t take a gondola ride. After reading about the open-air (and reasonably priced) boat tours of Bruges’ canals we knew that this would be the perfect chance to make it up to him. The boat tour lasted about 30 minutes (perfect for little kids) and it cost the whole family less than 25 Euros. High Five had a blast leaning over the railing of the boat and trying to pet the passing ducks and swans. While a bit chilly on the water it was a great way to see the gorgeous buildings of Bruges, and it seemed to more than make up for the missed gondola ride.
Next the kids headed towards the four remaining windmills on the eastern edge of the city (there used to be more circling Bruges). These windmills date back to the 18th Century, although some have been refurbished since. While the kids have seen plenty of modern day wind turbines, these beautiful wooden windmills were really fun to check out. The area around them is all park and we were joined by many people out enjoying the gorgeous afternoon.
Finally it was time to eat. While finding vegan food while traveling is not always so easy our relaxed day carried over to our shopping trip to the local grocery store. The kids helped us scan through the many chocolate offerings to find more vegan treats, and since we didn’t partake in any of Bruge’s famous double fried french fries we picked up a few bags of local potato chips to round off our falafel sandwiches. Since our hotel room is super small (think college dorm room) we soaked up the last of the sun while picnicking outside near the train station. With no mess to clean-up and lots of yummy chocolate in our bellies everyone declared the day a huge success.