So way way back many centuries ago, Gary and I took a long weekend to go visit Bruges.
We had a couple of hotel vouchers to spend, a long weekend booked off in December and I was dying to see a European Christmas market. So off we went!
The trip involved my very first journey on the EuroStar which was… distinctly underwhelming.
I didn’t even realise we were in France until we actually stopped at Lyon. WHY NO TRUMPETS OR ANNOUNCEMENTS? WHERE THE BERETS AND BAGUETTES AT? These are important questions to be answered.
We arrived in Brussels, found our train platform, found our seats and whizzed away towards the teeny-tiny, absolutely BEAUTIFUL city of Brugge.
From the train station, we had to trek across pretty much the entire city to reach our hotel, and even then it only took us about half an hour to walk.
It’s so titchy and tiny and delightful!
Our hotel was called Ter Brughe and was a lovely old corner building on the edge of the canal.
We found out later that it’s been around since the 1400s, and they’ve really worked hard to keep the period features present on the inside as well, which is nice.
I feel utterly in LOVE with our room!
It had wooden beams on the ceiling and across the walls, two huge windows, a MASSIVE bathroom and an absolutely glorious view over the canal, towards the cathedral.
After dropping our stuff off, we headed out to hunt down some lunch. Instead we found apple cake and proper Belgian hot chocolate.
I’d say sorry about this, but I’m really not sorry at all. Not even a little bit.
Belgian hot chocolate involves tipping chocolate chips into hot, steaming milk and whisking it around with your own little mini whisk until it’s as chocolatey or milky as you want it to be.
So chocolate, much good.
I have no photos of the rest of that day but basically: we went back to the hotel so I could nap for 3 hours, then we went out for dinner, then we came back to the hotel and I slept for another 12 hours.
Apparently I was tired.
Which was fine, cos that’s what our trip was really about! Both of us have been really busy the last few months and, despite now living together, we’ve not been able to spend a lot of quality time just us two. It was nice just to hang out in a beautiful room and catch up on the little details of life.
The next day we had breakfast in the hotel’s lovely cellar, which is below water level so you can look out to the canal. Then we bundled up (Hufflepuff scarf at the ready!) and headed off to explore!
Despite the slightly disappointing Christmas market (it’s smaller than the one on London’s Southbank!), we loved Bruges.
It’s such a pretty city, especially with all the Christmas lights everywhere and carols blasting out of speakers along the streets.
The canal boat trip was a fantastic way to see the city from a whole different viewpoint and our tour guide was fantastic! (Unfortunately I got stuck in the middle seat so all my photos have a multitude of people’s heads in them. Take note: make sure you get a seat on the edges!)
We also went up the bell tower (not a Colin Farrell in sight), drank plenty of mulled wine, ate waffles by the dozen, tried several types of Belgian hot chocolate, and watched the most spectacular sunset of my life.
A fab little city break! :)
RESTAURANTS WE RECOMMEND:
Pieter Pourbus – we went here on our first night and loved it! Roaring fireplace and Christmas lights set the scene. We had a 2 course fixed price meal each of cheese croquettes (ohmygahd I nearly died – so good!) followed by steak and greens, with a lovely bottle of red wine. The bill came to a grand total of about £40 which was a total bargain considering it was probably the best meal we had out there!
The Old Chocolate House – this is a chocolate shop with a tea room on the upstairs floor and HOLY CHOCOLATE IT’S AMAZING. We each ordered a waffle, which came out hot and crispy, with warm chocolate sauce to drizzle on top. Then we each chose a type of chocolate and our waiter brought us huge BUCKETS of hot milk with the chocolate chips to pour in and whisk up ourselves. It was decadent and beautiful, and the chocolate was SUCH good quality. A definite must!