29 Monday Apr 2013
No tags :(
Before the month of April gets away from me, I want to make sure to finish writing about our friends’ visit from earlier this month. Their trip started with watching the Ronde van Vlaanderen and continued with a visit to Luxembourg and Paris. We rounded out their week here with a trip to watch Paris Roubaix, but we spent the two days before the race doing a little sightseeing in Brugge, Belgium, and Lille, France.
We arrived home from Paris on Thursday night, so we had two days to take advantage of before the race in Roubaix on Sunday. Jordan was staying in Brugge, Belgium for work on Friday night, so we opted to drive a little out of our way and stay in Brugge that night as well. It worked out well because we got to see Jordan again, and we got to see Brugge. I had heard Brugge was a neat city, so I was interested in exploring. We got there around lunch time and were able to spend the afternoon and evening wandering the city.
We had lunch at a very Belgium pub called Bierbrasserie Cambrinus and were treated to local specialties, like frites, croquetttes, and Belgian beer. The food was good, and the service was great, but the menu itself was amazing. It was about an inch thick with a few pages set aside for food and the rest dedicated to all the beer choices. Even a person who doesn’t like beer (*ahem*) should be able to find a beer she likes at this place!
After our meal, we headed out to find a good chocolate shop. Brugge is famous for their chocolates with dozens of local chocolatiers having shops throughout the city center. In order to narrow in on the best one, I did some online research and went with my good standby, Rick Steves. He recommended the Dumon Chocolatier. I had to laugh because when we got there, there was another American and his son already in the shop, and the employee who helped us asked us if we were referred by Rick Steves. Clearly that guy is very popular for travel recommendations. We appreciated the recommendation. The chocolate was delicious, and the employees were very friendly and helpful.
We walked around the city a bit more and then found a place to have dinner before heading back to our hotel and calling it a night.
In the morning, we headed to Roubaix, France for the Paris Roubaix Challenge. The Paris Roubaix Challenge is a ride that lets recreational cyclists ride the same roads that the professionals ride during the race. Our friends had signed up for the ride, so I dropped them off near the Roubaix velodrome where the ride started and wished them luck. Then I drove a few miles to Lille, France to do some sightseeing on my own.
I only had a few hours, so I probably didn’t really see all that the city had to offer, but I had time to walk around and see a lot of the notable landmarks. I also did a bit of window shopping.
After a few hours in Lille, it was time to head back to Roubaix to see how our friends had fared against the Roubaix cobbles. They reported that the cobbles were unlike anything they had even imagined – extremely difficult and bone-jarring, but they did the whole ride and didn’t look any worse for the wear, so I’d say they did awesome. Next up it was off to Compiègne, France to settle in to our hotel for the night and prepare for the last leg of the journey: spectating the Paris Roubaix race.
It’s always really nice to have friends come to visit. I had a really great time hanging out with them and exploring new places. I feel like we did a good job of maximizing their time here, and we got to see a lot of cool things and have a lot of unforgettable experiences.