Last year for my 30th birthday, my husband bought me a weekend away in Bruges. Pretty much all I knew about Bruges before we travelled there was it’s famous for chocolate and its gothic architecture (from the infamous film ‘In Bruges’).
We travelled by Eurostar from Ebbsfleet in Kent for a two-night break. We got the Eurostar to Brussels and with a fifteen-minute change over we were on the train to Bruges. I love travelling by train in Europe as it’s so different from my regular British rail commute to London.
Walking from the train station to our hotel, which was about 15-20 minutes, we passed through lots of cobbled streets and canals (really pleased I didn’t have a mini suitcase as there are a lot of cobbles!) and felt we had transported back in time to this quaint medieval town.
We first hit up the main square (Markt), which is overlooked by the imposing Belfort, which I remember well from ‘In Bruges’ for having a damn lot of very narrow stairs. We had lunch at one of the restaurants on the square and watched the horse and carts pass by. I was amazed at the number of beers and how they were all served in different glasses from steins to quarter yard glasses, sod having to wash all them!
We had a short wander around the city, trying to get our bearings, following canals and churches, my Fitbit must have thought what on earth was going on the number of steps! The next morning we climbed the Belfort. I am slightly claustrophobic, and at 5ft 7 I am not short either, crikey was the staircase narrow and winding! I did feel bit puffed out when I got to the top. Well worth it though to see the views over the city. Unfortunately, the weather was quite cloudy, but it was worth going so early in the day as meant I didn’t have a horde of people rushing me up and down the stairs.
We then visited the Historium and some other churches and parks; we had to walk off that beer and chocolate somehow! The city is so quaint and pretty. Some Gothic architecture may be quite harsh, but it just added to the picturesque quality of Bruges. But the night is when the city changes, especially when it rains (we are Londoners, of course, it will rain!). The gothic architecture comes into its own, creating a more edgy feel to the buildings, but of course, the people are still as warm, friendly and accommodating. We met a young lady who worked at Godiva chocolate and was taking some chocolate covered strawberries to her friend, but she wasn’t in and didn’t want to waste them!
I loved the city and would recommend a short stay there. We went on a weekend, and it was bustling, especially on Saturday so that a mid-week might be a better option. Visit the chocolate museum and whirl around the windmills, cruise the canals and walk until your feet hurt (then sleep on the train home!)