Just over a month back from NYC I was in need of another break. Somehow my feet can’t seem to stay planted on home soil for long nowadays.
Bruges for the weekend is as good as it sounds. Not only is it a mere three hours away by train, the promise of Belgian chocolate, fries and waffles is too good to resist.
My lack of experience travelling with the Eurostar meant missing the original train. Word of caution, treat it as you would an airport. So, what can you get up to in 48 hours?
This charming Belgian city really is as picturesque in the flesh. We stayed a stone’s throw away from the main square, where an abundance of eateries, cafes and chocolatiers lined cobbled streets. A must-do is the river cruise, which at 8 euros is an absolute bargain. Known as the Venice of the North, you’ll get some beautiful views of Bruges along these canals. Although queues can get a little crazy, boats are frequent so don’t be put off by long lines.
What’s your ideal Bruges?
For foodies be sure to treat yourself to a Belgian waffle, either at Oyya or Chez Albert. Fries are almost a mandatory side dish – try them with mussels, which is a regional dish and can be found at most restaurants. Some other dishes worth trying are the Flemish stew, shrimp croquettes and Vol-au-Vent, a small hollow puff pastry filled with chicken, mushrooms and a creamy sauce.
Keeping in line with the food theme, you can visit the Frietmuseum and Chocostory. There are some seriously impressive chocolate sculptures and a live demo where you’ll be shown how to make deliciously praline-filled chocolates – quite a popular choice. Historium Bruges is also worth a visit where medieval history meets modern tech in this interactive tour. You can also get some incredible views of the market square from the panoramic terrace.
You can go off the beaten path, and relax to the sounds of harpist Luc Vanlaere. This free concert held in the Site Oud Sint-Jan, a stately former hospital, takes you away from the crowds and envelopes you with Luc playing his own compositions and taking the time to explain the origins of his instruments at the end. If you do anything in Bruges, it has to be this.