After crossing the English Channel, we found a rental car and immediately set off for Westvleteren Brewery in Belgium. This brewery produces three beers that are consistently ranked among the best in the world. However, the Trappist monks only produce enough to finance their Abbey so it is difficult to find in the USA. I tried all three.
After a few pints at the Abbey, Katie drove the rest of the way to Bruges. Our plan was a couple nights in Bruges, then continuing to Bastogne, and ending at Luxembourg.
Once in Bruges, we kept our sightseeing to the central district. The highlight was the Church of Our Lady which contains a statue by Michelangelo. Chocolatiers were everywhere and we brought home 2lbs.
After a couple nights in Bruges, we continued our roadtrip to Bastogne. This small town became under siege during the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944. The 101st Airborne division held the town for eight days over Christmas until reinforced by Patton’s Third Army. We heard a story that during the siege, paratroopers found an abandoned pub in the town and filled their helmets with beer. This image has been immortalized in a local “Airborne Beer” that comes served in a small helmet.
On the northeast side of town, the Bastogne War Musuem and Mardasson Memorial give visitors a timeline of the siege and good context over the larger Battle of the Bulge. We toured both briefly before continuing on to Luxembourg.