Travel with Mia - Bruges

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Hello, hello! Today, I am writing you from Bruges, Belgium. Actually, on the train from Bruges to Brussels, for part one of the journey back to Paris. Two friends and I decided to come to Bruges for the last weekend trip before finals and Christmas vacation. Yay! 17 days to go. 

The clock-tower in Bruges city center  

The clock-tower in Bruges city center  

We arrived on Friday night and stayed at a cute mom-and-pop bed-and-breakfast called Hotel Butler, which was about 20 minutes outside the city. We slept late and missed breakfast, and got into Bruges around noon. 

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It was foggy and a chilly -1°C (~30°F) when we got to the city, so we went into a little pub restaurant to get warm and grab lunch before exploring the cobblestone streets. 

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We got Belgian waffles from Fred's, which, interestingly enough, is actually an Australian shop. They tasted incredible, but were also incredibly difficult to eat with a fork and knife while standing on the sidewalk.

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We wandered through the Christmas market and found a game zone area for kids and adults. There were bumper cars and ducktail and several stalls for Belgian beers. 

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We also ended up in Chocolatier Dumon, where all the chocolates are homemade and are owned by the same people. Of course, this was only one of the few chocolatiers we popped into - not even counting the Choco Story chocolate museum that we also went to (bonus: a €2 voucher for hot chocolate from the Choco Jungle Cafe across the street). I even picked up a few Christmas gifts to bring home for my family. 

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We walked around all day and although we were trying not to freeze, it was still beautiful and very fun! It's a charming place to visit, I only wish we went ice skating in the town square too! The whole town was so lit up with lights and Christmas decorations, it made me even more excited for Christmas. With only a few weeks left, it was a great refresher to get me through finals and onto vacation. 'Tis the season of cold weather, hot chocolate, and festive decorations everywhere!

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Until next time...

Mia

Travel with Mia - Edinburgh

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Hello! This post is super late, but better late than never... right?

Anyway, back during the last weekend of September, I decided to fly up to Edinburgh to meet up with my sister Taylor, who lives in London,  and have a little R&R after the first full month of school in Paris. 

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I got to our Airbnb (which was right in downtown Edinburgh) on Friday night, and we went to a stand up comedy show at The Stand Comedy Club. We were of the few Americans in the audience, and yes, we did get heckled a little bit. We had a few pints and a few bags of chips, and then we went to a bar nearby to get pub snacks. 

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On Saturday, we went to breakfast at the Elephant Cafe, which is famously known as the place where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Afterwards, we walked around town and got up to the Edinburgh Castle (although we didn't go in because the queue was insanely long and we were enjoying the rare blue skies so much!). 

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After breakfast, we went to walk around town. We wandered in and out of cashmere shops before deciding to go on a hike up to Arthur's Seat. 

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Once we got to the top of Arthur's Seat (which was quite a workout), we saw sweeping views of the entirety of Edinburgh. It was actually breathtaking. Cold and windy, but breathtaking. I could've sat up there for hours. 

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On sunday, we went to eat at a restaurant called "Scran and Scallie". We thought it was going to be a simple pub, but it ended up being incredible. After doing some research, we figured out that the two people who started it both run Michelin-rated restaurants. We had great drinks (Whiskey Sour for Taylor, Bloody Mary for me), and we each got a sausage and mash. We also had cheesy cauliflower, a side salad, homemade bread, sticky toffee pudding, and a brownie sundae. Clearly, we were STUFFED (to say the least). 

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Finally, after walking of our intense meal, we headed to the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens and walked through, what I can only assume was the entirety of the gardens. Taylor and I climbed trees and walked through each area we could find. It's been a while since I've been out in real nature, climbing trees, so it was really refreshing to be able to breathe in crisp air and run around the gardens. Pro tip: don't bring luggage with you to the gardens. It's huge, and lugging around your belongings is a serious drag, not to mention tiring. 

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All in all, it was a great trip and a great way to get back in touch with nature. It was also great to see my sister, because I had begun to get a little bit homesick after the first month away from home. Edinburgh is quaint, and a beautiful place to visit; I only wish I could've spent a few more days there. 

Until next time!

Mia