Apparently “like the movie”, which is what everyone would say to me when I told them I was going here.
“You know, the one with Colin Farrel”… No, it appears that I am the only person in the universe that has never seen this movie.
To overcome this issue, I decided to watch it, lost interest in doing that so just read about it online, and yes… I went to Bruges, like the movie.
I got off the bus train (very proud of myself for navigating the rail system for the first time) and marched out of the station. Contrary to when I was in France, I no longer have 4G internet everywhere so I was going off a map I had downloaded onto my phone.
After approximately 2kms I realized…. I had walked in the wrong direction. Fool.
5kms later I arrived at St Christopher’s Inn at the Bauhaus, threw my pack on the bed and plonked myself down at the bar… thank god I am in the beer capital of Belgium ( and the world?)
Determined to navigate with my map on day two of Bruges, I spent a lot of time wandering around, sitting in parks and squares and trying to find my location. Which is probably one of the best ways to see a city.
Bruges (aka Brugge) is very small, but there are few touristy things that you can do:
Choco-story… Woops, just spent my food budget on a ticket to this chocolate museum. Classic manoeuvre of mine. Im sorry, what can i say, the promise of free chocolate samples won me over and succeeded in its advertising mission.
You go up three levels learning about the history of chocolate (which is actually quite interesting) then all the way back down again for a chocolateres demonstratio…. In hind site, probably could have just gone to one of the thousand chocolate shops lying around the city and bought some chocolate from there.
Christinas bar… So this one was an accident. Early in the day I walked past an awesome looking bar, 2Be in Brugge, it had a terrace sitting out in the full sun in the canals and I noted it and thought after my chocolate museum adventures I will come back for a beer here in the sun…. Of course, the sun moves, so when I came back it was not quite the wonderful spot that it was at midday (silly girl). Disappointed and still wanting a beer I walked back down the street and spied an alley way.
Curiosity got the better of me and I walked through the alley out onto a great terrace belonging to Christina’s Bar. YAY, so I plonked myself down here, ordered a beer and soaked up the sun.
Burg square… Everywhere you turn in Bruges is another market square, canal or park in which you can sit and eat your boiled eggs that you sneakily acquired from the hostel breakfast. I spent most of my time doing exactly this, my favourite spot was Burg square. It’s smaller than Markt Square and slightly less crowded but you still get the bustling vibe that the town offers with horse drawn carts trotting by, pigeons milling around and every man and his dog taking photos in front of the old Stadhuis (City Hall, I think).
De Garre… keep your eyes peeled or you will miss this one. It is a bar tucked away in an alley in between Burg and Markt squares. I had given up hope of finding it, when a tiny sign caught my eye and I ventured in. Thank god I did, cosy and old this bar screams authenticity when I asked the bar tender for a beer, he knew I had come for their famous house beer. A “Tripel” brewed Belgium beer(something special about that, makes it stronger) and can only be found at this bar. Looking at me funny because I was on my own he was very helpful giving me wifi and directions to Bruges’ oldest pub! 500 years old.
Bruges’ Oldest Pub…. closed… damn. However, the journey was worth it and you have to look hard between two main roads to find it. Why does everything in this city (town? village? I don’t know one should refer to it) seem hidden?
Despite this stuff, there are one thousand museums and art galleries if you have the desire to see this stuff. Also a huge old bell tower… me, I prefer (as you are well aware) to spend my money on consumable things. However, being such a small and picturesque place, just getting lost in the alley ways and streets of Bruges is an awesome way to get a feel for the city.