We arrived in Bruges, Belgium not knowing too much about it other than it’s highly favorited by our friends and family back home. We were very excited and ready to see what this town had to offer.
The weather was perfect and as we walked around the fairy tale town, we couldn’t believe how cool it was. You feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Canals cut through cobblestone streets, lined with small chocolate shops, waffle stands and cafe’s offering Belgian beer and mussels. All the while, a horse-drawn carriage goes by and a bell tower that rings every 15 minutes.
We checked into our hostel for four nights, St Christopher’s Bauhaus Hostel on the north side of town. Our double room was outside the main hostel building and inside a separate apartment with only two other rooms complete with a full sized kitchen and living room. View from our room,
The best part of the town – the biggest attraction – is the town itself. Wandering down narrow cobblestone streets, we were unsure if they were pedestrian only or shared by motor vehicles. It’s an odd sight as buses and cars don’t fit, literally – the streets are too narrow and corners to sharp – but also in relation to it’s surroundings – this old fairytale town.
After a ten minute walk, we arrived to the town center surrounded by cathedral architecture and horses trotting around carriages. Small Belgian lace shops, cafe’s and chocolate shops line the cobblestone streets. We entered a cookie shop to admire the piles of assorted sweets ready to be eaten.
Mouth watering? We paced ourselves and didn’t end up getting cookies as we wanted to continue walking. Heads up, looking at every inch of this city, we were overwhelmed by what we were seeing, hearing, smelling – we were so happy to be here.
We passed the Bruge Chocolate Factory and decided to tour and educate ourselves before stuffing our faces in chocolate…oh, and you receive complimentary chocolates with the tour so why not?
The tour began with a history of the cocoa bean and explained the difference between dark, milk and white chocolate. We took a picture as a giant cocoa bean on our way to the best part of the tour. A chocolatier led a 30 minute presentation on how to make chocolate and then offered the chocolates to the group to devour.
We spotted a chocolate shop, Dumon Chocolates just off of the main square and quickly walked in. No words. The smoothest and creamiest chocolates in the world. We bought a mix and match assorted box, which they handpick for you in lieu of picking out your own – they want each visitor to try chocolates they wouldn’t normally choose. Then, you come back for your favorites.
We visited De Halve Maan brewery (the Half Moon Brewery), which is the oldest in Belgium and took the 45 minutes tour, full of history and a great rooftop view of the city.
The tour ended with one free beer each and we sat outside enjoying the sun. We couldn’t just have one so we got bought another round.
Who wore it better?
We aimlessly walked down empty streets and along the canals, as we made our way back to the town center. Every street feels like a movie set. We bought our first Belgian waffle too. YUMM.
We walked the streets and enjoyed the horses running buy and the sound they made on the cobble stone. We walked for quite some time in the brisk clear night before we spotted another waffle station and the Godiva chocolate shop, where we ate even more. Never come to Bruge unless you’re ready to gain 10 pounds or more.
The following day, we took a canal boat tour. It was 9 Euro and toured us around the town, under bridges and around corners explaining the history of the area and historical sites. It’s unbelievable how old this city is and how preserved the sites are. Some buildings dating back to the 1500’s. We were able to see the city from an amazing perspective and enjoyed the brisk breeze in the sunny day.
We scouted an awesome terrace where people were drinking tall beers and watching the boat traffics and decided to head there after disembarking zee boat and after a quick visit to see Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child. The cathedral was free, but it cost 3 euro to see the statue, which we willingly paid.
We walked back to the pub we’d spotted earlier and enjoyed some tall glasses of brew in the sun.
We spent the next several hours getting lost in the backstreets and exploring gardens and random shops. We walked toward the oldest bar in Belgium, in business since 1515, but it happened to be closed and was cool to see anyway.
It was Halloween and we enjoyed watching kids trick or treating along the cobblestone streets. We climbed to the top of a windmill on the outskirts of town to get a birds eye view and watched the sun go down on Bruge.
We headed back to our apartment and rented a scary movie from the hostel’s movie collection and called it a night. The following day, we’d be heading to Brussels en route to Dublin.
Bruge was amazing!