So in the summer of 2015 I went to the Flanders’, and no I diddly didn’t visit Ned and Maude from the Simpsons. I crossed the English channel from Dover to Dunkirk and travelled to the West Flanders of Belgium and visited the sweet city of Bruges.
Bruges is a holiday destination I have always wanted to go to after seeing the Martin McDonagh action and adventure movie ‘In Bruges’, so once we arrived I was in my element. My desire to visit this picturesque town lived up to my expectations without a doubt, but I couldn’t help think that you could enjoy the landmarks and the attractions of the town within a weekend. In true ‘Tripadvisor’ fashion, below is a what I recommend for tourists to do if planning a weekend anyway in Bruges.
Morning: The greatest thing about Bruges is the abundance of cafes or breakfast outlets that sell the world famous Belgian waffles. Customers are treated with a mouth watering amount of different toppings and varieties of waffle each as good as the last.
Late Morning: After waking up from your chocolate and pastry coma, you don’t really want to be walking round like a real life Violet Beauregarde, so something ideal to do is to take a canal boat tour. The tours can be quite cramped and one of the most expensive attractions in the city, but to get a real glimpse of the medieval architecture and the European atmosphere it is something you cannot miss out on.
Lunch: If you’re still hungry, you may as well head to the heart of Bruges, Burg square. With the historic centre of Bruges buzzing I loved getting a portion of chips from Friterie 1900, not the most traditional Belgian frites you’ll find in Bruges, but the variety of sauces that are served with each portion you can enjoy feeling like a pig in muck whilst watching the world go by.
Afternoon: For some reason when you go on holiday you feel this this instinctual, irrational urge to visit art gallerys or museums. It was quite surreal really, as a Salvador Dali exhibition is situated in a museum on the edge of Burg Square, one of my favourite artists I was eager to see his internationally known paintings of the warped clocks. An interesting showcase of Dalis younger work was to be seen which left me leaving the gallery contemplative and inspired.
Evening: After an afternoon of wandering around the cobbled streets, smelling different blends of chocolate with each street corner you turn you will almost certainly hear your belly begin to rumble again. I highly recommend going to Ellis Burger, with it being so popular in Belgium and neighbouring countries we were lucky to get a seat without reserving a table in advance. The food, the service and the beer was second to none with a quirky seating arrangement for customers, it is an enjoyable setting for tucking into a juicy burger whilst watching the sun begin to set outside.
Morning: Take a long walk across the bridges and alleyways towards the central area of Bruges until you stumble upon ‘Sint Janshospital’. I believe it is one of the oldest hospitals in recorded history, with so much to do there, including art gallerys and taking in the wonder of the structural design of the building, it is a great way to start your day.
Late Morning: From the hospital take a stroll to the Oude torture museum. I am so glad I went here, I am a bit weird that I find torture fascinating. The extremely low cost of entry into the museum is definitely worth the visit. With lots of diagrams, real life torture ornaments and a detailed timeline of the legality and regulation of torture throughout history makes it a interesting, yet squeamish place to visit.
Early Afternoon: After a spot of lunch from Bruges many and reputable restaurants, it is worth a walk out of the city centre to Minnewater Lake (otherwise known as Lake Love) Surrounded by beautiful scenery and wildlife it is perfect to walk around regardless of the weather. I went on a mild and cloudy August day, but it would have been even more enjoyable in the sun or on a snowy winters day.
Late Afternoon: One thing I haven’t mentioned yet which is probably the most important reason why Belgium is a crucial part of the worlds economy is it’s beer. A must visit is 2Be bar. A quite literal ‘beer wall’, gazing sensually at the endless shelves of different types of beer is a dream come true, and what’s even better is picking one of the cities favourites in the bar area and sipping it whilst watching boats stream across the canal outside.
Evening: You can’t go to a city like Bruges without coming back with enough chocolate and Beer to feed a very lucky army. I would recommend going to Bier Paleis to buy beer to take back home with you. A really simple shop that does exactly what it says on the tin, or in this case bottle. The prices are slightly higher than your average supermarket but you’re paying for the uniqueness of the types of beer you have and will never hear of again. With Belgium being the leaders of the world in chocolate goods, it is hard to contemplate with choclatier is best to go to. Plus I can’t remember the names of the ones I went to. So I would suggest to go to the outlets that make the chocolate in the kitchen, it is more likely to taste better, plus you can watch the geniuses do their magic.