Travel

Saskia's Adventures in Beautiful Bruges

If you can imagine a fairy tale town from one of the fairy tale books of your childhood, it would be Bruges. A medieval town in the Flemish region of Belgium, it is easy to get to from the UK, for a long weekend. We went in July, the weather was glorious and the beer cold.

Pic 1 the hotel.JPGWhere to stay

Our two-night stay for the weekend was at The Hotel Dukes Palace, a palace from the 15th century which was absolutely perfect. It is right in the centre but has secure parking in the underground car park, and as we drove, this was essential. This is a luxury hotel, so it’s a real treat, and it is comfortable and central, which is what we wanted. There are many hotels to choose from and, as we always book at the very last minute, we can safely say that this works for us. This way, you can get some great bargains too.

Pic 2 wandering.JPG

What to do

Whenever we go anywhere, we wander around, because we feel that it is the best way to get to know a place. Bruges is a great place to do this as it is easy to walk around. The streets are cobbled, so comfortable footwear is essential. It was warm in July but it does get very cold in winter and you will definitely need to wrap up accordingly.

Pic 3 the square.JPG

The city is surrounded by canals and many of the streets are pedestrianised so it is safe and very clean. We headed for the historic centre called Burg Square which is very easy to find. The buildings that line the square are ridiculously pretty with tall, coloured walls and stepped roofs. There are lots of welcoming places to eat or sit and grab a ice cold Belgian beer. We decided to take an open-top bus as the teens don’t really enjoy sightseeing. This way we could still see some of the points of interest without dragging them around museums or churches!

Pic 4 the square.JPG

The bus leaves the square every 15 minutes, costs around 15 Euros per person and takes about 45 minutes. The commentary was easy to follow and, as a history nerd, I liked all the historical details that were provided. It’s good to learn something about the places that you visit. Bruges is known as the Venice of the North as it is surrounded by canals and has more than 80 bridges. Once it was one of the wealthiest places in Europe due to these waterways enabling trade.

Pic 5 on the bus (1).JPG

After the bus tour we wandered around the shops which were all enjoyable. There are about 50 chocolate shops in Bruges where the chocolates they display are like works of art. Many shops sell beautiful lace too.

Pic 6 windmill.JPG

Now for the best part….the beer. Try the Dubbel Blonde which was definitely my favourite. Proost everyone!

Pic of beer.JPG

*Did you enjoy it? This is a guest post from a fellow blogger, Sophie (Saskia is her daughter and she features in the last shot). Do head over to Sophie’s and experience with her a life in the shires, where the lovely lady lives in an old house with a wonderful family, two cats and her dog Dottie (we clearly have something in common).

 

85 Comments

  • oldhouseintheshires

    This looks fantastic Dippy-Dotty girl! The photographs look brilliant on your site. Thank you for allowing me to feature as a guest blogger on your site! We had a fabulous break in Brugge (as the Dutch speakers call it) and would recommend it as a place to visit for a weekend. Xx

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      It is my pleasure, Sophie. Glad to have your post on the blog. I have wonderful, wintry memories of Brugge with my husband. The two of us, roaming around the streets of Brugge shivering away in the extreme wind that had it in its grips, and yet seeing the city with great love because it is just so fairytale as you rightly point out. The second time I was there we were with a friend and we kept drinking beers and tucking into moules frites in a tavern till we missed the train back to Mechelen. We had to take a cab late back into the night! I will do a post possibly later when I have finished posting all that I have xx

  • Angela

    It is soooooo beautiful! It really does look like a fairytale, I’m not sure why I haven’t thought about visiting Bruges before but I want to go now!!!

  • Osyth

    I have an old school friend who lives in Bruges …. I really MUSt visit. I also have a daughter called Saskia which becomes slightly spooky when you realise that only last week I was passing comment on my daughter called Demelza on one of your Cornish posts ….. I have two other daughters but I shan’t tell you what they are called ?

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      Hee hee. Saskia and Sophie clearly did not have that. I also did not when I was there in winter for which I am highly thankful given that it was Freezing and superbly windy.

      • equinoxio21

        We were in Paris. Rented a car for the day and drove. It started raining as soon as we crossed the Belgian border. 🙂 And it was July. Next we will stay a few days. 🙂

        • Dippy-Dotty Girl

          Hah, tough luck but you are at the door of Bruges really. I would say it totally deserves more visits. I would actually like to drink those beers like fish into the night, go to sleep in Bruges, wake up to a heavenly breakfast in one of the beautiful cafes and saunter around the town sighing away 🙂

          • equinoxio21

            And think about how long this place ahs been lived in by human beings. Imagine the streets in the middle ages, the costumes. Some of my ancestors come from nearby Kortrijk, around the early 1600’s. Surely a grandfather or grandmother of mine came to Bruges on an errand or the other. 🙂
            About beer: try la “Blanche de Bruges” next time. A pale, tasty beer. Be good.

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            Okay, I shall try it next time I am there. I quite liked Brugse Zot, a blonde beer, and I suspect I leaned towards it more because of the motley fool’s image on the bottle 😉 We did try endless number of beers in Bruges and Antwerp. Our daily dose used to be one bottle of Duvel. Have you tried it? I am fascinated by this piece of historical detail that you mention. I am sure they did. Imagine the Bruges they would have walked through. Though it did lie abandoned for a bizarre number of years in between…

          • equinoxio21

            I will have to try Duvel next time we go to Belgium. Which is about every 3-4 years or so. I would suspect my ancestors would have walked a fairly similar Bruges. I imagine it was… neglected after WWII? But then many European cities have really “geared up” after the sixties or eighties. Think Prague under Russian rule: all black and sooty.

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            Funny, but I like black and sooty. The buildings of Krakow or Edinburgh for example… That weathered look totally whisks me back to another time and age. Do you know what I mean? Prague under Russian rule makes me think that they were sooty in their souls for sure. Duvel has 8 per cent alcohol and it is so flavourful that you will be addicted to it. We started buying it in the UK till we realised that is expensive as opposed to the regular ales we buy now. But it is a stunning one that Duvel. Those Trappist beers too. I miss Belgium.

          • equinoxio21

            Black and sooty? It depends. I remember Notre-Dame before they cleaned it. And it is much better. Have you tried Kriek beer? Or Gueuze Lambic? There is another called La mort-subite. (Sudden death). Strooong beers. 🙂 Belgium is a great place. Belgians are a lovely people. “Cheers!” (Though by now, it should be close to 1:00 AM in the UK.) Good night and sweet dreams.
            Brian

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            It is late but I have decided to forswear my daily routine of getting into bed by 11. My husband has already nodded off. I think I shall celebrate Friday night with an ice cream 😉 Well by black and sooty I mean weathered and left to slowly age without the extensive cleaning up business. Have you been to Edinburgh? I mean that kind of a weathered look. I have tried Lambic though I do not know if it was Gueuze. They have a crazy range of beers do they not? I remember one evening we sat in this jazz cafe in Antwerp and sat drinking from afternoon to late evening, making friends with people around us and the bartenders. That is when we tried an amazing range of beers. I have the names somewhere. Plus we used to drink almost everyday when we were in Mechelen and Brussels for about a month or more. It was all about frites with samourai sauce, chocolates, pastries, beer and waffles. I miss it all so. Goodnight to you too Brian 🙂

          • equinoxio21

            Edin-borough is on my travel-to list. Belgium is a beer paradise. You could probably try 3 or 5 different beers a day for a month and still miss some. Regards to hubby. Sweet dreams.

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            I shall definitely pass them on. You are right there. Probably a Belgian can be ambitious enough to have tried all? Who knows. It is certainly a tall, tall one. May you get to ‘Edin-borough’ soon 🙂 It is a beautiful city that lives in the quiet, dark corners of the mind.

    • Ladyhypnotist

      Hi, i’m an American who now lives in Bruges. As for these cobbled streets. Most of the these streets all date from the 1980s. Before 1980 these were asphalt streets people have told me.

      • Dippy-Dotty Girl

        You are living the dream, aren’t you? If I walked down those cobbled streets every day, I could very well live with it 😉 That is actually not very old if you come to think of Bruges’ history, which is odd. They must have re-laid the cobbles (?) x

      • Ladyhypnotist

        Well the dream would be perfect if only i had more money lol….such an expensive city…any way we’re lucky so far… we haven’t had a terrorist attack overhere yet…..as for the Streets, well if you take a close look at these cobble stones you can tell these stones can’t be dating bac to the middle ages…..but who cares….I love these streets and the city as a whole…apart from the tourists it’s an exceptionally peaceful city….there’s only friendly people overhere

        • Dippy-Dotty Girl

          I hear you. I was in Bruges when it was quiet and empty of tourists, in the middle of winter. That old charm of it was inescapable. On the second weekend we were there, we have a few errant memories such as sitting in a tavern and trying so many different beers that we forgot to catch the train 😉

          Next time I am there, one shall spot me peering at the streets till I might be suspected to be a loon.

          I will take cobbles from any age in Bruges 🙂

  • travelnerdplans

    Gorgeous pictures of Bruge. I am so sad that when I backpacked so many years ago, I willingly skipped Bruge–I have kicked myself ever since (and an extra kick today after seeing these pictures)

  • Sarah

    I really enjoyed Bruges. I’d been wanting to go for so long and when I finally got there it did not disappoint – despite it raining & the crowds of people

  • Fabulous-Fusions

    I always compare Bruges to Paris. From Paris you have great expectations and it might disappoint you at the end… From Bruges (relatively small city somewhere in Europe) you don’t have great expectation and it surprises you at the end 🙂

    • Dippy-Dotty Girl

      That is indeed a good point, Marlena. But the wonderful thing is that Paris lives up to those mighty expectations. At least it did for me. And expectations can make a place or break it for you, isn’t it? Bruges is absolutely a little gem.

      • Fabulous-Fusions

        I think I’m one of those people who find Paris quite disappointing… (I can hear buuuuu from audience :P). I might be in minority and it’s my very personal, subjective opinion. I guess my expectations were too huge 😛

        • Dippy-Dotty Girl

          It happens to all of us. There’s no booing when it comes to expressing your views of a place. A whole lot of things that can either come together to make us love a place or be somewhere in the middle about it and then they can also make us feel utterly disappointed with the place. Really it is a matter of circumstances. Maybe you can visit Paris another time? I visited it in autumn and though it was quite cold and wet, it was magical. The way the red leaves flew in the air as I walked past the Seine, examined old books sold by the river and then took shelter in old flea markets near the Bastille and so many more memories. Oh I wish I could be back right now!

          • Fabulous-Fusions

            To be honest, I think you are right. I should visit it again and that might help. When I went to Venice for the first time I was also slightly disappointed (am I a bit strange? :P).. then I went second time and I liked it 🙂 then I went third time and I fell in love with Venice 🙂 some places take time to be loved 🙂

          • Dippy-Dotty Girl

            There you go. You are not strange at all. In any case, I love strange people. It is no fun being all normal and sensible 😉 Venice. Ah! Another city that had me by the heartstrings. It helped that we were there during Christmas which meant no crowds. We had the city to ourselves and I find that the lack of people makes it easier to fall in love with a new place 🙂

Hit me up, buttercup

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