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Published: April 27th 2008
Sunday 20th April 2008
No chance for a lie in this morning. We were rudely woken by the alarm clock at 5.30 in order to catch the early train from St Pancras International. Needless to say we were early to the station which gave us plenty of time to get into the holiday spirit and to enjoy a croissant and a coffee before boarding the Eurostar to Brussels. Two hours of reading and dozing on the train and we were in Belgium; the view on the way had been limited by fog but it was only France. Changing trains was simple in Brussels; we were wondering what the main tourist language was going to be in Belgium; French? German? We would have coped, but fortunately it was English! This travelling life is easy. An hour on that train, with good views of the Belgian countryside and we arrived in Brugge.
The 500m walk from the train station quoted by our hotel turned out to be a bit of an underestimate. Still, despite being hungry due to it being well past lunch time, we enjoyed our first walk through the town of Brugge. The weather couldn't have been better and
the cobbled streets with stunning buildings in the little medieval town took our mind off food (for a little while). We eventually got to the hotel and ditched our bags to head to the nearest cafe for lunch. The rest of the afternoon was spent strolling around the main square - which was a two minute walk from our hotel - and some of the adjoining streets.
A pre-dinner drink was required and seeing as we were in Belgium we thought it would be rude not to try some of the local beers, which we did in a rather nice, but also strange little bar. It was bizarre after having got used to the smoking ban to see people freely smoking but it didn't bother us too much. Dinner was a treat as we found a little cafe off the main square, away from the tourists where we ordered raclette to share. This comprised of a platter of cold meats each, some vegetables to share in the form of potatoes, gherkins, pickled onions and beetroot, and the main feature of the meal was a huge wedge of Swiss cheese. We were supplied with a cross between the grill part
Plenty of cafes to relax in sampling the beers
of an oven and a table lamp to melt our cheese and scrape off the main block. Delicious!! We didn't manage to finish the whole block, apparently very few do, but I still managed some great home made vanilla ice cream and the other Belgian speciality of rich chocolate sauce.
A late start compared to Sunday and we only got up in the end so that we wouldn't miss breakfast. Brugge is nearly completely surrounded by a moat so we decided to walk around a bit of it to view some windmills, originally built to help with drainage. Another great day in terms of weather and we enjoyed the walk along the moat and then back along the river to the centre of town. Tired after all that walking (well, just an excuse really) we jumped on a boat tour of the inner waterways which wasn't bad even though we didn't catch much of what the driver was saying to us. The day was rounded off by a swim in the hotel pool and a sauna before heading out for dinner, which was naturally preceded by some more pre-dinner beer sampling. We carried on for some more
drinks after dinner and found a great beer called Kwak which is served in mini yard of ale glasses, provided with a stand (see pic).
Our last day in town was spent relaxing in the sun so that we didn't have to walk too far after the previous night's drinking. We did manage to make it into a cafe to sample what appeared to be the local delicacy of moules frites. It wouldn't have been either of our usual choice for a meal, but was good fun, even if it did require quite a bit of work! If anyone fancies a long weekend away we'd definitely recommend Brugge for a relaxing (but short) stay.
Anyway, that's us for another chapter. Next holiday not until September so will be in touch in more traditional methods in the mean time.
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