Coffeeshops and Waffles: Our Trek through Belgium and The Netherlands

Coffeeshops and Waffles: Our Trek through Belgium and The Netherlands

We booked our trip to Amsterdam back in June and honestly it felt like it would never get here but it finally did! We got a solid deal ($585 RT pp) on our tickets using Google Flights like I outlined previously here. Our dates were set, but our destination was open so we just waited to see what interesting destinations showed up cheaply and Amsterdam was it!

As far as planning goes, once again we used our favorite trusty companion – Rick Steves to help organize the trip and tour us around. I would recommend using his books for any trip to Europe.

If you’re going to Amsterdam, it’s especially important to book your tickets to the Anne Frank House 2 months in advance to avoid waiting in line for hours. This was one of the tips suggested by Rick Steves and it was very helpful.

After booking our flights, we decided to take one trip outside of Amsterdam and go to Belgium. Austin picked the destination – Bruges, Belgium and I was not involved in this part of the trip planning at all. We rented a car and drove there, stayed the night and then came back to Amsterdam via Antwerp.

In Bruges, we stayed at the most adorable boutique hotel – Hotel Van Cleef.

Welcome at Hotel Van Cleef
Welcome at Hotel Van Cleef
Arrival at Hotel Van Cleef
Arrival at Hotel Van Cleef
Hotel Van Cleef on this canal
Hotel Van Cleef on this canal

The town of Bruges was quaint and walkable. You were able to get from one side of the town to the other in about 30 minutes.

Bruges
Bruges
The Market Square
The Market Square
Another view of the market square
Another view of the market square
Other side of market square
Other side of market square
Bruges
Bruges
The Market when it actually was functioning as a market
The Market when it actually was functioning as a market
So many canals and waterways
So many canals and waterways
Andrea: "Hey babe, want your picture taken?" Austin: "No, I think I'm good without one" Andrea: "Ok go stand over there" ... lol
Andrea: “Hey babe, want your picture taken?”
Austin: “No, I think I’m good without one”
Andrea: “Ok go stand over there”
… lol
The Streets of Bruges
The Streets of Bruges
One of the parks in Bruges
One of the parks in Bruges
Bruges
Bruges
The Market
The Market
Bruges
Bruges – our happy hour spot
Bruges
Bruges
He's kinda cute.
He’s kinda cute.
More Bruges.
More Bruges.
The leaves were starting to change.
The leaves were starting to change.
Gorgeous views
Gorgeous views
Had to get some Belgian waffles while in Belgium. They did not disappoint. At all.
Had to get some Belgian waffles while in Belgium. They did not disappoint. At all.
Canals on canals
Canals on canals
Swans
Swans
So peaceful
So peaceful
So many swans
So many swans
Where all the swans come!
Where all the swans come!

Bruges was amazing – although it felt like we were some of the youngest tourists there. We then continued on to Antwerp. #Funfact: Antwerp is the diamond capital of the world. There is also a lot of traffic – just be forewarned!

We were ready for a meal!
We were ready for a meal!
The square
The square
A pano pic
360 degree view
Some of the awesome architecture
Austin in front of some of the awesome architecture
Pretty
Pretty

From there we headed to Amsterdam and stayed in an Airbnb. If you haven’t ever stayed in an Airbnb before, it’s definitely something you should consider if you want more of a local feel. If you use this link, you will get $40 off your first stay. In Amsterdam, we ended up with a large studio apartment in a very central location for cheaper than we would have paid for a hotel.

The first spot we checked out was a local brown café that is reminiscent of the days when you could smoke tobacco inside, despite that currently being illegal. These are cozy places – perfect for a drink.

In the brown cafe
In the brown cafe
Beers at the Brown Cafe
Beers at the Brown Cafe

You’re going to get tired of seeing all of the canals but I thought they were wonderful, so here they are, pictured about 1,000,000 times.

Right outside the Anne Frank House
Right outside the Anne Frank House
Beautiful canals
Beautiful canals
Right near the Anne Frank House
Right near the Anne Frank House
These canals though - so beautiful
These canals though – so beautiful

We also did some touring of the infamous Red Light District. Think like a walk-able Vegas Strip…

Red Light District
Red Light District
Condomerie in the Red Light District
Condomerie in the Red Light District
Condomerie in the Red Light District
Condomerie in the Red Light District
One of the more well-known coffee shop chains
One of the more well-known coffee shop chains
Royal Palace of Amsterdam
Royal Palace of Amsterdam
Royal Palace of Amsterdam
Royal Palace of Amsterdam
Amsterdam Central
Amsterdam Central
Amsterdam Central
Amsterdam Central
Another beautiful canal
Another beautiful canal
Beautiful views in Amsterdam
Beautiful views in Amsterdam
Dinner with a view
Dinner with a view
More canals
More canals
Peaceful Amsterdam living
Peaceful Amsterdam living
#wanderlust
#wanderlust
Brouwerij 't IJ
Brouwerij ‘t IJ
Brouwerij 't IJ
Brouwerij ‘t IJ
Canals
Canals
Canals
Canals
More Amsterdam views
More Amsterdam views
Yummy beers...they always have a unique glass for each beer
Yummy beers…they always have a unique glass for each beer
Walking through Amsterdam on our way to a comedy show
Walking through Amsterdam on our way to a comedy show
Westerkerk
Westerkerk
Sunset in Amsterdam
Sunset in Amsterdam
Boom Chicago Comedy Show
Boom Chicago Comedy Show

This was a fabulous trip. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here in Europe. Can’t wait to go back!

Currently reading: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

Currently listening to: Chop Wood Carry Water: How to Fall in Love with the Process of Becoming Great by Joshua Medcalf


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