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Published: June 22nd 2017
Geo: 51.2089, 3.22424
After breakfast, we visited De Halve Mann Brouwery and signed up for their 11 o'clock tour. It was five o'clock somewhere. Our tour guide told us quite a bit about the brewing process and was quite entertaining. She could have had a career in stand-up comedy. We also encountered another Mets fan, probably the only one in Belgium, just like our good friend Fred is probably the only one in Lansing. We learned that here, glasses are specifically chosen for each individual brew and are designed to maximize the quality of pour and flavor. It's not just a marketing thing as we had previously thought. Every place we have visited has actually matched the glass to the brand inside.
Once we were finished with the brewery tour, we popped into the Our Lady church which is undergoing extensive renovations. Unfortunately, we weren't able to see much inside because of this.
We had lunch at Saint Laurent outdoor café and then were off to a canal boat tour. The previous canal tour line was ridiculously long, so we hoped to catch the tour at a good time. Jake input “boat” into Siri and she led us to the short line. On the way, we passed a sandwich board sign that read, “our beer is colder than your ex-girlfriend's heart” and made a note that we would return.
The canal tour provided a unique glimpse of the “Venice of the North.” It was interesting to see a part of the canal that was being used as a swimming pool. One girl at the front of the boat used her selfie stick to video herself during the entire tour. We all secretly wished to see her stick get caught on one of the low bridges. There were swans alongside us for many parts of the tour. A long-necked mayor had once been murdered by the townspeople for colluding with the Austrians. Legend has it that the “curse” would be that swans would forever inhabit Bruges. It turned out to be a pretty pleasant curse.
We then split up for some souvenir shopping and regrouped for dinner. Rich and Barb discovered a smaller square during their hunt for chocolate that seemed like the perfect place for dinner. It was not crowded like the main square and the menu looked appealing. It turned out, as discovered during a bathroom break, that our restaurant of choice faced two squares. Ours as well as the main one.
After dinner, we headed back to Café The Top, the place with the unique signs. Posted in the window was a sign that read, “reopening at 21h” (9pm). It was 21:08 and the doors were locked. Not to be deterred, Jeannette began pounding on the door. We weren't sure if she was reenacting Black Rod opening Parliament or the zombie apocalypse. Either way, after a few bangs, a shirtless man on the second floor said in a strong English accent, “All-right, I'll be down in a minute! I had a hard day and night.” Eventually he came down and was about as abrupt with his comments as Donald Trump, but was more likeable. We had planned on sticking around for a round, but the clock kept spinning. He asked what kind of music we liked, and then provided us with a personalized soundtrack. Because he opened the bar for us and was so engaging, we felt obligated to stick around and then we were spinning. We ended up meeting a bunch of interesting people. So, we made it home around 12:30am. Oh what a night!
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