While exploring Belgium, we stayed at Hotel Amigo which is conveniently around the corner from the Grand Place, the beautiful central square of Brussels that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  With its looming grand-scale structures (which I could not fully capture with a 50 mm lens, sadly), gilded ornate spires and intricate architectural details, the square was truly a sight to behold. BrusselsBrusselsNightly, a light show commenced that illuminated each towering spire set to a surreal instrumental melody that echoed around the square, much to all the revelers’ delight. BrusselsBrusselsAs soon as we arrived, we started sampling the world renowned Belgian chocolates. Asking locals about their favorite chocolate was akin to asking whether they had a favorite child for each chocolatier has his own specialty, working with distinct flavors, textures, and styles.  Competition is quite fierce even among top chocolatiers. Popular shops had lines out the door and at Pierre Marcolini‘s bustling shop, Pierre himself was on the floor greeting customers.Pierre Marcolini, BrusselsFrom Brussels, we took the train over to Bruges, which happened to be the most charming place I have been in recent memory.Bruges
BrugesBrugesBruges also has a spectacular central square, but with the added charm of a canal winding through town making the ancient brick buildings even more preciously picturesque as if frozen in time and immune to the modernization of the world around it.Bruges BrugesBrugesBrugesFor lunch, we wandered past many tourist-cramped spots, but were drawn to the stylishly decorated Malpertuus.  There we enjoyed a scrumptious Belgian version of a chicken pot pie with frites … Sometimes you absolutely can judge a book by its cover.  BrugesBrugesBrugesBrugesArriving in Antwerp, we were treated to the beautiful Central Railway Station with its glorious architectural details built well over 100 years ago.AntwerpAntwerpAntwerpIt was indeed difficult to choose a favorite chocolatier, but if forced, I would have to choose Mary for not only is the chocolate divine {original recipes date back to 1919}, the pretty packaging and decoration of its shops in Rococo style with pale pastels and Louis XV furniture makes me want to linger awhile and consider becoming a chocolatier myself.Antwerp

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