(From our trip in November 2019)
Our Day Trip to Bruges
Well I knew Bruges was going to be a pretty place but I had no idea I would fall in love with her immediately, drop to one knee and ask her to marry me.. Yes…..Bruges is just that beautiful you can’t help but want to stay with her forever and not share her with anyone else. And before you say something like “you can’t marry a town Lisa”, you can marry bridges and trees and other things like that so why not a whole town hey. If you think I’ve gone mad
well that happened years ago I haven’t because it’s a real thing, google it, crazy people marry inanimate objects all the time. Anyway, I’m jumping ahead, back to the beginning…..
Tour to Bruges
We were taking a tour from Brussels to Bruges. We were to meet our guide in Grand Place and it was very exciting to see the Manger going up for the Nativity. Seeing the Christmas bits and pieces start to come out is making me very excited for the remainder of our trip. We will be awash with tinsel and baubles and trees and all the Christmas awesomeness very soon. Alas I knew we were leaving Brussels tomorrow so I wasn’t going to see the finished product but it was very cool to see it in the initial stages. Amazing how they thatch the roof. That sure is dedication when you consider it’s only up for a month.
So when the tour guide rocks up (late if you please) he doesn’t even introduce himself, he just says to follow him to the train station and then takes off like a racehorse in the Melbourne Cup. Us bewildered tourists were left to pick up our bewbs off the ground so we don’t trip whilst we run, nay staggered, after the guy. Not a hello, how’s your father – just a “follow me losers”.
If you are new here you may not know how strongly I feel about tour guides, so probably go back and read this Tour Guide Loves and Hates. If you are a long time reader firstly, you bloody rockstar and secondly you already know what a Judgy McJudge Bitch I can be when it comes to a good tour and a good guide and a bad tour and bad guide. Needless to say it wasn’t starting off well and I can smell a crap guide from a mile away (and I don’t think he had showered in a while so perhaps that was also what I could smell, crap and crap)
I don’t know why I booked a tour to go to Bruges, it was easy enough to catch a train, it’s only a 1 hour trip and that place isn’t that big so easy to navigate but….I wanted to get some background and hear some wonderful stories as well so fell for the trap. He did have some good information but he ran late for every meeting point, had no real personality and gave off the feeling he didn’t want to be there. This is the tour we did:- Bruges Tour, I share this only so you won’t book this company. I probably (I definitely did lol) wrote a nasty review on Tripadvisor, feel free to follow me on there for all of my “honest” reviews haha.
As soon as you jump off the train you are minutes away from this lovely peaceful Minnewater Park. I wish every city had a divine park like this across from the main train station. What a greeting to a place. It really set the tone and made me excited to see more.
When we arrived at the lake it was absolutely so beautiful.
We were told it is nicknamed the Lake of Love. Legend has it that if you walk across the bridge that goes over the lake with your partner, the two of you will know Eternal Love. So of course when husband tried to follow me onto the bridge I knee capped him so that he fell in a crying heap to the ground because nobody needs that eternal love negativity in their lives. I took myself over the bridge and plan to eternally love myself sick instead.
It was truly such a tranquil area with lovely buildings, swans on the lake, blue skies. A gorgeous start to the day.
Wandering along the cobblestone streets and past the beautiful old homes you could be forgiven for thinking you had slipped through time. It all seems rather untouched and so well preserved. You often read about places being Picture Postcard Perfect and I have to say that Bruges definitely is all that and a packet of Tim Tams.
I was kind of obsessed with this horse watering thingy (yes this is the technical term). I assume it was originally where you would lead the horse to water….but of course you neigh can make him drink (see what I did there)! So perhaps put a horsey head on it so your horsey can see that’s what horsey’s do here. If he’s thirsty enough of course. Look at the amazing detail. Of course it could just be a fountain but that would be such a boring description of something so cute.
And if you were ever going to partake in the cringe touristy bandwagon of riding in a horse and carriage I think you can be forgiven for throwing your pride to the wind in this gorgeous place. It’s almost ok, almost hahaha. (full disclosure I have ridden in a horse and carriage 3 times, twice in NYC on separate trip because of course I did and another time in Canada in -16 degree temperature really just to torture my family more than anything else)
Half Moon Brewery
There is a brewery called Half Moon Brewery that has been running since the 1500s if you can believe it. Imagine a business staying open for that long. Apparently once Bruges became a huge tourist destination the brewery found it difficult to get the beer trucks into town because of the crowds. What to do, what to do, people need their Belgium golden liquid so they built pipelines under the city, just like normal town water pipes to pump the beer outside of the main part of town so it can be loaded into the trucks. The lengths people will go to for beer!
Bruges is often described as the “Venice of the North” and dates back to the 12th century I believe. With all of the incredible gothic architecture (which I absolutely frothed over) it’s one of the most intact medievil cities in Europe.
I was pretty excited to get to the Grote Markt – the Market Square of Bruges. In nearly every advertisement for Europe you see a photo of the beautiful lined up buildings of this Market. Look at these pretty lined up ladies of gorgeousness. I love love love gothic architecture. I love that stepped shape of the roofline, it really appeals to my symmetrical mind (ok I can hear you saying that my mind isn’t symmetrical, it’s a bloody messy nightmare but I like symmetry in buildings ok). You can see that roofline style all over Bruges.
I couldn’t get a clear view of the “money shot” row of famous buildings because there was a Christmas Market right in the middle of the square but am I complaining, hell no! It’s my first European Christmas Market folks. I am about to lose my freaking Christmas Market Virginity and I am totally hot to trot for it. Yay, I’m so happy to get rid of the Big V and add to the notches on my Christmas Market belt!!!! This market was a good one to dip my toe in on because it wasn’t too big or too crowded so I got the feel of it but didn’t feel overwhelmed.
We had a wander past the Belfry Tower and the Town Hall in Burg Square, more stunning buildings. Everywhere you looked it was gorgeous.
I loved this quaint spot, church on one side of the bridge, palace on the other, what more could you want. I thought this was a very romantic spot, if you are into that gross stuff (which I’m not, ewww yuk). Bruges really is bringing the gorgeous and it is completely obvious every corner you turn why the town is overrun with tourists.
It’s literally like you have wandered back in time isn’t it. I was mesmerised…
Rose Hat Quay (Rozenhoedkaai)
This picturesque spot is called Rozenhoaedkaai and it would have to be the most photographed spot in Bruges. Such a stunning vista and it almost looks like an oil painting. I wish we could’ve been here early in the morning when the water was super still because the buildings all reflect off it and would make for gorgeous photos. I had to elbow my fair share of annoying tourists out of my way so I could be an obnoxious tourist myself and capture our cuteness.
Now cmon, it was worth the assault charge to capture these two stunners dontcha think!
My overall feeling from Bruges is one of history and stepping back in time. At first I was thinking it would be wonderful to live in such a place but by the end of the day seeing so many tourists fill up the town I imagine it’s annoying at times to the locals. I really wish we had’ve based ourselves in Bruges rather than Brussels. I originally thought we would but stupidly went with Brussels for ease to the airport for tomorrow. I think it would be magical to be in Bruges after dark and to wander the quiet cobblestone streets. Oh well, next time ~there will be a next time~ I am so glad I got to spend a day in this lovely city.
In the end my thoughts on the guide were he doesn’t like people so he’s in the wrong business. The company needs to grab a broom and sweep his trash out. Lesson learned for next time and there will be a next time. After another lazy wander around the Christmas market we headed back to jump on the train and head home. A quick Thai dinner downstairs from our apartment and then it was upstairs to pack because tomorrow a very grand adventure begins my friends, a very grand adventure indeed! We fly to land of fire and ice……Iceland!!!!
Have you been to Bruges?
I know with a town this popular some people reading this must have visited. If you’ve been to see this lovely place please drop me a line and let me know how you liked it. And if you haven’t been before, are you mad???? I insist you go!
Highlights – every single thing about Bruges, first Christmas market
Lowlights – tour guide
Temperatures – High 10, Low 1