Tuesday Travel

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The second stop of our European adventure was Bruges, Belgium. A short hour and fifteen minute train ride from Brussels, Bruges is the most well-preserved medieval town in Europe and has a small town charm similar to my little island. Although the weather was a bit cold and rainy, K and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our time in this picturesque town. Here are just a few of the highlights from our time In Bruges. Note: skip the movie.

Stay

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We stayed at the delightful Hotel Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce, tucked down a little alley minutes from the central Markt. This was our view. Picture perfect, don’t you agree?!. And even better, the service. Belgian waffles at a moment’s notice. Amazing! I had originally wanted to stay at Number 11 B&B but they were sold out. How happy are we that this worked out!

Eat

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We arrived in Bruges to a torrential downpour so naturally a pub was in-order. We had pinned De Garre on our Pinterest board, which by the way is a great way to capture all your travel ideas, and were happy to discover that it was a short distance from our hotel tucked down an alley {are you sensing a theme}, which in a rain storm was a good thing indeed. Truth be told, we walked by it the first time. But thank goodness we found it as De Garre was exactly what we hoped it would be. A place where you instantly feel like a local. We tried the house brew, Garre and enjoyed a grilled cheese sandwich and some bar snacks. A must-do in Bruges.

Luckily, the sun broke through so after a beer {or two} we decided to explore by foot. We found Dumon, the chocolate hotspot of Bruges according to many. After selecting a few goodies to bring home as gifts, we decided to indulge our sweet tooth a little more at Oyya, an ice bar known for their ice cream, frozen yogurt and waffles. The after eight was my clear choice and K had a Belgian waffle with Nutella ice cream. The closest in terms of deliciousness to our beloved Juice Bar.

The best meal during our time in Bruges was at the Brouwerij De Halve Maan, a brewery established in 1564. They have a wonderful patio and with the sun shining, we enjoyed traditional cheese croquettes and a blond brew. I had hoped to spend an afternoon at a tea house, but sadly the one I had read about Merveilleux was closed.

Do + See

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Bruges is filled with history and charm and there is oh so much to see. My top recommendation would be to take a canal tour. I believe there are five different companies and we simply chose the one closest to our hotel. The tour lasted a little over an hour and for a water girl like me, I was in heaven. My favorite part? Seeing the yellow lab with his head in the sun. Just take a look.

My second recommendation would be to climb the 366 steps to the top of the Belfort Tower for a 360 degree view of this magical town. The higher up you get, the narrower the staircase so be prepared. Coming down I must have looked in distress, as a woman asked “are you ok?” I was just being cautious and moving slow!

My favorite church of the trip {there we many} was the Basilica of the Holy Blood. The chapel, built in the 12th century, is pictured above. The Basilica is said to house a vial of Christ’s blood. You really must visit. Church of Our Lady is also top of many visitor’s list as it houses a Madonna & Child sculpture by Michelangelo from 1504. Cool fact: this statue has been recovered twice. Once from the french revolutionaries in 1794 and once from Nazi Germans in 1944. The church also has the second tallest brick tower in the world.

A short distance from the brewery is Minnewater, what many refer to as the Lake of Love and you will see many a visitor snapping a selfie here. Fortunately, we found a kind man to take our photo, which may just be a contender for this year’s holiday card.

And last but certainly not least, you must take an evening stroll through Bruges. The lighting is… you just have to trust me on this one. Bruges, a place certainly beyond belief.

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