It has been a year since we went to Bruges, but better post late than never. It was a lovely trip, the hotel we stayed at was amazing, the city was charming and the fact that I was very pregnant and the day we arrived was the peak of the heatwave (not a recipe for success, trust me) didn’t spoil the weekend in Bruges at all.
Fun fact: a friend painted one of the photos from this post and it was part of her first exhibition a few weeks ago (congratulations, Valery!). Can you guess which photo inspired her?
Getting to Bruges and getting around
We bought train tickets when they were €19 return. If you live in the Netherlands, I strongly recommend getting their app to stay updated on all offers. The journey from Amsterdam to Bruges (through Antwerpen and Brussels) took 3.5 hours and a bit longer on the way back. Last year every train ride I took in Belgium was delayed. Bad luck or are the jokes about Belgian railway true?
We then rented bicycles at the Central station and although it was a bit more expensive than in the city centre, it was the most convenient solution – our hotel was outside the city, so we needed some sort of transport and on the way back we returned them 20 minutes before our train departed – so convenient!
Getting around was easy – the town is straightforward to understand, we cycled from the Central station to the main market, left the bikes there and walked around for a few hours. It got soon very hot and also crowded with tourists so we escaped and went to the hotel to cool down a bit.
Our stay in Bruges
I can’t recommend it enough – the Hof ter Beuke hotel. When I booked it last year it has only been in operation for a few months and had a whopping 10.0 review score. It’s now at 9.8 which is still phenomenal. The breakfast was amazing, the location – homey (or, as the Dutch say ‘gezellig’) and we enjoyed every minute of it.
Things to do
Be prepared as it can get a bit pricey in Bruges. After all, it’s a very touristic town. And it’s really small, so I’m guessing there’s some natural selection going on there: “let’s price everything crazy so people can’t afford it but since there are way too many tourist here anyway, we’ll be fine” (an all-right-nothing-special set lunch for EUR17, hot chocolate EUR5).
Some of the highlights were the brewery tour at De Halve Maan (it was very hot and the beer was ok, but we still loved it) and the accidental free string instruments concert. We were passing by an inside garden and were lucky to make it right on time for the free concert. The concert was very intimate, touching and made me cry. Almost everyone cried so I wouldn’t blame the pregnancy hormones.
Must eats in Bruges
Please workout a month before going to Bruges and a year after, but enjoy these culinary highlights (read: calorie bombs):
- Hot chocolate. Worth going to one of the best rated shops in Bruges – the Old Chocolate House. It was new to me how they make it – they bring you a giant mug of hot milk and a chocolate ‘cup’ with chocolate drops, similar to chocolate chip cookies chips and you stir them into the mug (example). You can buy the chocolate, the pastry they serve in the cafe and even the mugs at the shop downstairs.
- Belgian waffles, of course. I can’t remember which one we had, also at the Oyya shop, but it was delicious.
After all that you roll down the streets of Bruges, a round, happy, chocolate-overdosed you. If that wasn’t enough, go for the beer and mussels dinner. They serve mussels in huge pots and the beer variety is beyond any comprehension. I couldn’t try neither, but Anton said: “The mussels were ok, the beer was tasty”.
So even though it was hot (the only day in my pregnancy when I couldn’t see my ankles: “they were riiiight there last time I checked”), I got a bit sick to my stomach of all the sugar and our train was painfully slow due to some work on the tracks so it took 6 hours instead of the promised 3.5, I nonetheless have warm sweet memories of our weekend trip to Bruges.
Hope you guessed which picture became a painting ;-)