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View of canal, Brugges, Belgium

Belgium is famous for its lace and chocolates. We were in enchanting Brugges, a most delightful, walled, Mediaeval town, arguably the loveliest in Europe. There are chocolatiers, a chocolate house, a chocolate museum. They take this stuff very seriously.

Brugges has become such a tourist attraction that today, they limit the number of tour busses and the number of tourists who can enter the town.

Meandering through the crowded streets one Sunday afternoon, we came upon a series of street vendors, selling a variety of wares along the sidewalk.

Nearly next door to a shop extolling the virtues of its chocolate, made to the specifications of a centuries-old, closely guarded family recipe dating back to the 1600's, a young girl of no more than 14 or 15 years had set up a small card table. On it, she had spread out some chocolates she had just made in her kitchen, a few doors up from the fancy shop. We stopped to chat with her, and she was most interested to learn how we had been able to get to Brugges with a wheelchair. As we were talking, she offered us a sampling of her chocolates.

We had NEVER tasted anything as delicious in our lives! We bought a small bag of 6 pieces for what would have been a couple of dollars, whereas in the shop next door, the confections were nowhere near as tasty- and about 10 times the cost!

We know the competition for who makes the best chocolate is fierce everywhere in the world. The Swiss think theirs is the best. The Americans think either Ghiardelli's or Hershey's is the best. The English think Thornton's is supreme. They are all wrong- that young girl beats them all!

Brugges is called the "Venice of the North". It is cris- crossed by a number of canals, and a canal boat is one of the nicest ways to explore. It was hard, but with a number of crewmen helping, we got Nan into one of the barges and spent a delightful afternoon touring this picturesque city.

Please go to our Disabled Travelers Guide to the World for many additional tips on arranging tours, transport and other details. See, especially, Chapter 8- About Tour Guides. There is also valuable information in Chapter 12- About Bargaining and Negotiating.

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