Info

+ Photos and ramblings from a Denver-based couple as they discover the world, one country at a time.

Pretty housesIce cream truckBottlesUntitledPile o' cherries at the MarktDumon ChocolateThe CanalBeer at the oldest pub in Belgium!Belgian waffle with the worksChocolateRoom with a view2x fried

BRUGGE

If you can’t tell by the photos, we went to Brugge to stuff our faces with all of their best edibles; chocolate, waffles, 2x fried chips, and beer. The city is small and charming, but you don’t really need longer than two nights in the area, as you can see most (if not all) of the sights in just a few days. Eating out in Brugge is insanely expensive (€18+ at most places) and so we did a lot of takeaway (considerably cheaper) and grabbed some stuff from the market. Not to mention, we gorged ourselves on chocolate and waffles, so there wasn’t much room for “real food” while we were in Brugge.

Chocolate
Pralinette – The chocolate was rich and creamy, but a bit on the bitter side. I’m not usually a fan of bitter dark chocolate, but it was surprisingly tolerable.
Chocolate Oe Praline – I tried the dark chocolate bark with almonds. The chocolate was flavorful and creamy, but the bark was lacking in the almond department.
Depla Chocolateir – Second favorite chocolate shop; very rich (but not bitter) with light notes of vanilla. I love when you can actually taste the vanilla in chocolate. The dark chocolate covered hazelnut rows are not to be missed.
Chocolatier Dumon – Hands down, the best chocolate in Brugge, and the best chocolate Ashlae’s had in her entire life. It was rich and creamy, and melted almost instantly (which probably had more to do with the heat). Ashlae highly recommends the plain chocolate, as nuts and berries, or fancy fillings, only detract from the incredibly flavorful chocolate – but Thom says go for the truffles.
The Chocolate Line – This place was good, but had been talked up by locals and we didn’t find it nearly as delicious as some people claimed.

Waffles
Laurenzino – Apparently the best Belgian waffle you can get in Brugge – but Thom’s belly doesn’t agree. The waffles were heavy, as were the toppings. However, if you prefer your waffles on the dense side, this is your place.
Chez Albert – Despite Laurenzino being praised as having the best waffles in town, Thom preferred the waffles from Chez. They were light and airy, and easy to cut. And with the small, flimsy fork they provide, that’s a pretty important aspect.

Drink
De Garre – Tucked away down a narrow alley, this pub has loads character and a large selection of alcoholic beverages. But you should skip the fancy stuff and go straight for the Tripel.
Café Vlissinghe – The fact that it’s the oldest pub in Brugge is reason enough to not miss this place. They have a great patio, an adorable pup wandering the grounds, and local brews on tap. Get a postcard and send it to your favorite beer drinker.

Go
Hire bikes and ride around town (or to the coast, it’s only 18km away).
Take a canal tour, but make sure you arrive early – tours fill up quickly and waiting in line is no fun.

Sleep
We had a private room at the Lybeer Travellers’ Hostel and really enjoyed the facility. The spiral staircase is narrow and steep, so you may want to think twice about coming here with a large suitcase. They’re in the middle of a renovation, but that aside – the place was great. The common area was super funky and comfortable and the shower was clean and had great water pressure. Bonus: You get a free beer if you like them on Facebook!

Run
If you’re a runner, running along the canal will surely be one of the most beautiful and enjoyable runs of your life. Steer clear of the cobblestone streets because those aren’t exactly easy on the ol’ ankles.

Grand PlaceFlea Market Place du Jeu de BalleFlea Market Place du Jeu de BalleINVADERBrusselsCafé-Tasse chocolatesWall of condiments and alcoholFresh squeezed OJTextiles at YetiYeti CafeBelgian waffles in Brussels

BRUSSELS

We spent a mere four hours in Brussels, which was just enough for us. The city is pretty rough around the edges but has a handful of charming spots that shouldn’t be missed if you’re in the area. We walked from the train station to the heart of town and wandered around the Grand Place, admiring what has been deemed one of Europe’s most beautiful squares. We then headed over to Café-Tasse to stock up on chocolate bars from one of Ashlae’s favorite chocolatiers (extra noir, alstublief). Before we skipped town, we brunched at Yeti then headed back to the Grand Palace area to get Thom one last real deal Belgian waffle from Le Funambule.

View from the Albert DockCask ale from the PhilharmonicHappy girl with a belly full of ginPainting at the bombed out churchDried up paintLanterns at the bombed out churchLunch from Chop! Chop!Albert DockAlbert Dock

LIVERPOOL

Not a huge fan of the Beatles? No worries, because Liverpool has so much more to offer.

Eat
Chop! Chop! – This place was a just a few streets over from our hotel. Despite being a hole in the wall, the owner and her son serve up delicious street style Korean food made with fresh vegetables and protein. The best part? Our total for two people was less than £9.
The Egg Cafe – Vegetarian grub and killer desserts. The facility was a little grungy, but the food was delicious. We went back another morning because I was craving the insanely thick, whole grain bread.

Drink
Philharmonic Dining Rooms – An old gentleman’s bar designed by the same people who designed the Lusitania – the woodwork is exquisite and the entire building is absolutely beautiful.
Hannah’s – Swanky bar with a nice view of Liverpool. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner, and he popped a bottle of champagne for us. Needless to say, we liked the place.

Go
International Slavery Museum
Albert Dock – Grab an ice cream cone or cold beverage and explore all the dock has to offer.
Bombed Out Church – Bombed during WW2, all that remains of this church is its structure. Inside you’ll find plants, gardens, meditation, painting, and more.

Sleep
We stayed at the Z Hotel after plans with the flat we booked through Airbnb fell through. The hotel was clean and minimal, and we highly recommend it.

Run
If you’re a runner, one of the best ways to see the city is to run along the pier and through the winding streets. You can easily get a good feel for Liverpool in just under an hour.

UntitledBuckingham PalaceTower BridgeP I M M SVeggie burger and chipsGosh! (comics)British LibraryPlatform 9 3/4Hearty breadChocolate éclair from Borough MarketSouthwark BridgeUntitledMediterraneeBlue doorThe Old Operating TheatreFishSpotted: space invader in LondonStonehengeCedric and the stonesNatural History MuseumNatural History MuseumNatural History MuseumNatural History Museum

LONDON

A lot of people come to London to see the Palace Guards and Harrod’s and Elizabeth Tower (err, Big Ben) – but you can see all of that in a couple of hours. We highly recommend veering off the path of the tourist and finding things you can interact with more deeply; the neighborhoods and cafes, flavors and sounds, and all of the other things that make London so wonderful.

Eat
Mildred’s – Hands down, one of the best meals during our time in London. Hearty vegetarian and vegan fare.
Bibimbap Soho – Delicious Korean food. Go for the bibimbap!
Cafe Vitao – Vegetable heavy eats with hippy vibes and takeaway options on the cheap.
Fresh Healthy Eating Cafe – We stopped by for post-Mildred’s smoothie refreshments. Fresh squeezed juices and milkshakes are also available. Be warned: Milkshakes in the UK are unlike milkshakes in the States – they’re heavy on the milk.
The Great Nepalese – Incredibly tastey Nepalese right across from Euston Station.
Whole Foods Kensington – Just go. And eat. And be happy. And try the saffron gelato. Or the cacao coconut milk yogurt if you’re not into the whole dairy thing.
Marks and Spencer – Great for snacks and meals on the go.
Rock & Sole Plaice – Take your fish and chips to go or else you’ll pay about £5 more to dine in. They have a variety of fish from which to choose, and a hearty serving of chips to go with it.
Carpo – For your dried fruit/chocolate/nut fix.
Govinda’s Pure Vegetarian – Large portions of delicious Thali food. One of the employees shared his birthday cake with us so the restaurant gets bonus points. Warning: There are some serious Krishna vibes floating around this place – if this makes you uncomfortable, you should probably eat elsewhere.
Le Pain Quotidien – This place is a chain, but hardly feels like it. We stopped in for a bowl of fruit and a watermelon refresher.

Drink
The Ship & Shovell – What’s better than one bar? Two identical bars right next to eachother. Go to the smaller of the two for a better atmosphere, or stand outside, at of the barrels, if weather permits.
St. James Tavern – Ask the bartender for whatever’s local.
Dog & Duck – Big fan of the freehouse.

Go
National Gallery – Not necessarily a must see, but give it a walk through if you’re in the Trafalgar Square area and have some time to kill. There are works by Rembrandt, Picasso, and Manet (just to name a few).
Tate Modern – Stunning Art collection and one of the best gift shops we’ve ever visited. The museum features works from Picasso, Rothko, Pollock, and many more.
Soho – Quirky little neighborhood with an abundance of cafes, bars, and gelto shops.
The Old Operating Theatre – Easily the most interesting thing we saw on the trip. I highly recommend you visit, but be prepared to walk up a narrow, spiral staircase and endure 90?+ temperatures (in the attic) if you’re visiting during the summer months.
Platform 9 3/4 – This is obviously a must if you’re a huge Potter fan.
Banksy originals
Churchill War Rooms – If you’re a WW2 geek, this is a must see. And even if you’re not, it’s entertaining enough to be worthy of a visit. Bonus: Check out the interactive daily report of the war.
HMS Belfast – This Navy ship was involved in the D-Day invasion at Normandy – and now it sits perfectly placed next to Tower Bridge.
British Library – On view for display is one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, as well as one of DaVincvi’s notebooks and a letter from Isaac Newton (amongst other notable documents).
Stonehenge day tour – The direct afternoon/morning tour takes about two hours each way, and you’re allowed one hour to roam around the place – which is plenty. Bring snacks!
The Museum of Natural Science – We could have spent all day wandering around the museum, exploring its many exhibits – which featured rare gems, fossil remains of dinosaurs, and a first edition of the Origin of Species. Cherry on top: The building is straight up immaculate. GO.
Borough Market – Quaint market near the Old Operating Theatre. They offer everything from brownies and cheesecakes to cured meats and falafel. We went as soon as they opened, and then again in the afternoon. We highly recommend going early to avoid the crowds.

Sleep
For longer stays, we prefer to use Airbnb so we can cook, do laundry, and feel like we’re at home. We rented a spacious, modern flat in one of the up and coming neighborhoods – making it quite a bit cheaper than places closer to the city center.

Glen NevisView of Ben NevisGlen NevisView from our 20km highlands hikeHikingLoch Ness

FORT WILLIAM

Fort William isn’t your typical destination, but we we’re really into the idea of visiting the highlands to squeeze in some good hiking. We were originally going to summit Ben Nevis, then realized we didn’t have the proper gear – and although we could have rented it on the cheap, the trail was insanely busy (and clouds hovered over the summit all morning) so we opted for a self guided hike through the highlands, instead.

Eat
Spice Tandoori – They’ll make you feel extremely uncomfortable if you don’t order papadums or a starter, but laugh it off. The main courses are delicious and the view of the loch isn’t all that bad.
Cobb Cafe – Vegan options available, but the kicker for me was that they were the only cafe (in town) that had soy milk for my morning coffee.
Morrisons Supermarket – Great for premade salads, baguettes, trail mix, raw fruit/nut bars, etc. We visited nearly every day so I could get my fill of leafy greens.

Drink
Grog and Gruel – We went here every night. Great atmosphere, good food, and even better brews.

Go
Hike through Glen Nevis
Loch Ness day tour

Sleep
I cannot recommend our B&B as I booked it over the phone and it turned out to be a bit outdated (and one of the furthest from the town center), but there are a handful of charming (on the outside, at least) B&Bs at the end of High Street. No need to prebook.

Winding stairs to our rental flatView of Old Town from the bridgeHustle and bustle on CockburnThe Royal MileTravelin' gnomeThis always happensFlower boxesUntitledFresh baked breadFog over Arthur's SeatMore dropletsThe beginning of 750+ craggy stepsFoggy view from Arthur's SeatGraveyard with a viewWest BowBrew Dog

EDINBURGH

I fell in love with Edinburgh. In fact, it’s my favorite of the places we visited in Great Britain. It’s an incredibly charming and cozy town – and if you can get over the fact it was built on a hill (meaning you spend a lot of time walking up steep inclines), I think you’ll find it charming, too. We didn’t wander into New Town too much, but that was fine because Old Town did it for me. There’s loads of greenspace, quaint cafes on every corner, and a variety of entertainment for the masses. I’d plan for 5-6 nights in the area – we only had 3 and I felt like we could have used a couple more.

Eat
The Edinburgh Larder – This cafe is small and cozy, situated just off the Royal Mile. They have delicious coffee, homemade baked goods, and super healthy, whole grain salads available.
Cafe Gurkha – Oh man, this is the Indian food of my dreams. The vegetable curry was so good we went back for dinner the next day.
Spoon – If I had to pick a favorite breakfast cafe, Spoon would be it. I had porridge swirled with jammy strawberries and Thom had the vegetarian haggis. Both were delicious and filling.
Circus Bistro – Lots of vegetarian and vegan breakfast/lunch options.
Viva Mexico – I didn’t particularly care for my tacos, but if you can do the whole cheese + sour cream thing, you’ll be golden. Be warned: it costs a fortune.
Black Medicine Coffee Co. – Strong coffee and simple, takeaway eats.

Drink
Brew Dog – A local brewery with Colorado beers on tap. I was digging the low key vibes and could have hung around all day.
Jolly Judge
Roseleaf – Booze comes in quirky tea pots. Need I say more?

Go
Arthur’s Seat – An incredibly quick climb, with a steep incline. We made the summit in 30 minutes but didn’t get to reap the usual benefits of the climb, as the fog was wildly thick that morning.
City of the Dead Tour – Terrifyingly disturbing. And cold, so bring a jacket.
Wander. For real, just walk aimlessly around the city. Leave early in the morning before the locals rise and explore Edinburgh at its finest hour.

Sleep
We stayed at a sunny flat on Cockburn Street – and I highly recommend you do, too. The apartment was airy and comfortable, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending my mornings sitting at the kitchen window and watching as the city came to life. It was the perfect location – literally 1 minute (up the nearest close) to the Royal Mile, 5 minutes to the train station, and 10-15 minutes to Arthur’s Seat. Mind you, Thom and I are incredibly fast walkers so it may be longer for some.