Wednesday, April 6, 2022. Our flight from Toronto was delayed a bit due to a medical emergency but a tail wind helped our Aer Lingus flight arrive on time in Dublin. Good thing as we didn’t have much of a layover. Just enough time to check documents, a quick walk and bathroom visit and board the next plane. We were surprised a just how easy it all was.
Brussels airport was easily navigated so I bought a phone SIM card. Good signage helped us find the train. There I stood, staring at the ticket machine when a kind young man came and helped us out. He pushed a lot of buttons and said “there, I found you the cheapest ticket”. Thanks! Gotta love the kindness of strangers.
Upon arrival in Bruges, I used the trusty Mapsme app to plot the direction to the Ensor Hotel. Just follow the arrow on the phone LOVE technology. When it works ;). We had about 30 minutes to settle in and then off to find the starting point of our walking tour with Legends of Bruges, Free Historical tour. We’ve learned that the best way to fight jet lag is to keep moving. The tour was excellent and a great introduction to this beautiful city. Bram gave us recommendations for food too so after the tour we went to CAMBRINUS for some authentic, Flemish dinner. It was filling and delicious! The bill reminded us that next time we order beer with dinner rather than water ;). The walk back to the hotel was just enough to revive us so we could stay awake till at least 8 pm.
After a wonderful, 10 hour sleep we were ready to face the day with NO jet lag. By the time we finished our leisurely breakfast the rain had stopped and the sun even came out so we headed straight for the Belfort tower, paid the fee and climbed the 350 odd steps to the top. The wind was brutal and we found out later they closed it shortly after we climbed. Lucky for us as the views are spectacular
We wandered for a while and happened upon the Friet Museum. (http://frietmuseum.be.) Yep. It’s a museum dedicated to fries which they claim are Belgian, not French.
Since we got a combination ticket, we also went to the chocolate museum. That was wonderful as we got lots of samples and Belgian chocolate IS amazing!
By this time we were ready to try some beer so went to the Halve Main brewery which is the oldest in Bruges and even has a beer pipeline. Read about that here https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/halve-maan-brewery-beer-pipeline.
Since we had to wait a half hour for the next tour and I needed some food to absorb the beer, it was a good time to try some infamous Belgian fries. We got them with beef gravy on top. Delicious!
The tour was great and included a view from the top of the building along with a beer of our choices at the end. Fresh beer with no preservatives was actually really good and I’m not a beer fan.
By then it was time for dinner and we hadn’t yet sampled waffles so we followed Bram’s recommendation and went to the House of Waffles. He told us to look for waffles made with dough, not batter. Interesting! The waffles were amazing and the owner even sat down to chat.
Back at the hotel we put another layer of clothes on as the wind hadn’t stopped and we were to join a walking tour at 7 pm. That was led by Louis, again of Legends walking tours, and was also very entertaining. The tour ended at St Christopher Hostel where Lois treated us to a beer and we enjoyed nice conversations with folks from Argentina, Germany AND. a fellow Canadian.
By the time we got back after 11 pm (so late for us!) we’d done 23,000 steps. A good day!
Another cold day but at least the wind had died down. We walked about a bit and ended up at the Church of our Lady Bruges. We paid to see the museum part as it is home to the only MichaelAngelo sculpture outside of Italy. The Madonna is certainly worth it. The whole church is beautiful and there are also interesting graves.
We were cold so it was a good time to try the the Old Chocolate House that had come highly recommended by several people. Rightly so. You can choose the chocolate to make your hot chocolate. They serve it in a chocolate cup and you drop that in your cup of hot milk and whip it with the whisk provided. It is amazingly rich and delicious. Sue had the dark from Ecuador and I had the dark from Papua New Guinea. Oh my. We were just finishing up when a young couple from England we’d met on the walking tour came in. We ended up chatting for an hour or so.
We wandered some more and ended up taking the canal boat cruise which is also well worth it. Our guide was amazing and easily switched between Dutch, French and English, while navigating the boat.
Next we wandered some more, visited the beer wall that boasts over a thousand beers, walked through some residential areas, checked out the 3D glasses thing by the statue of Jon Van Eyck, the windmills and then back into the centre to find D’Lammetje where we feasted on mussels. We were lucky to get there early (5.30 ish) as they were booked from 7 on. I could see why. The service was great and the food amazing.
That’s it for Bruges this time. On to our next adventure in Amsterdam!