Bruges, a beautiful escape from the hustle and bustle of Brussels. If I had a repeat button, I would have liked to stay in Bruges and skipped the crowded noisy city altogether. Brussels has its charm. Much resembling New York, the capital city is a melting pot of culture and history. People have been wondering if I feel safe in Belgium. The answer is – it’s complicated. Brussels has been one of the few places where I diligently keep my head down and mind my own business. Could something happen to me if I were traveling alone? The level of risk seems high. Am I letting it bother me? Of course not. However, I’m glad not to be alone. My Aunt and Uncle traveled from Pennsylvania to visit! We decided on a week of day trips to pass the time. First stop Bruges.
Bruges is a traditional, medieval and UNESCO protected example of true Belgian culture. Magnificent red brick homes, cobbled streets and the smell of family owned chocolatiers welcome adventurous tourists. The easiest way to visit Bruges without a car is by train. In my case, I traveled from Brussels Midi at 10AM and arrived in Bruges Central by 11AM. Perfect travel time for a day trip. Fill up your day with these awesome stops:
Take A Cruise
Getting around on foot in Bruges is ideal. The roads are narrow, crowded and parking can be complicated. My Aunt, Uncle and I kicked off our tour with a canal trip. Thirty minutes cruising the deep-water ways proved to be the best way of getting into the spirit of Bruges. For 8€ you can pile into a boat of about thirty other people. Once you get over sitting in someone’s lap and others in your lap – the ride is enjoyable. The captain spoke in about four different languages – French, German, English and Spanish. It was fun trying to make sure he said the same things in all the languages!
2. Have A Bite in the Market Square
Watch horse carriages trot by as you enjoy a hearty Leffe and a side of Flemish beef. There are many Italian places but, if you look hard enough there are little restaurants that feature local cuisine.
3. Get Lost
Put that map away! Wandering is made easy because the town is so small. Take strolls down cobbled alleys and quiet streets. You never know what you may come across.
4. The Salvador Dali Museum
The fact that I myself do not understand the meaning of my paintings at the time that I am painting them does not mean that they have no meaning. -Dali
The Dali museum in not quite for the faint of heart. We all know Dali for the melting watches and spindly elephants. Think precursor to Tim Burton. My brother is a fan of Dali so, I felt I needed to check it out for him. Little did I realize the extent of the man’s strangeness. I may have traumatized my Aunt and Uncle. It’s probably not a great place to take kids – the showcase is rather explicit and you may be in the awkward position of explaining scheisse related art *shudders*. I thought the museum was informative and showcases the lesser known pieces of Dali’s extensive portfolio.
5. Beer Tours
You don’t have to look very far to find beer in Belguim. Be sure to sit outside and enjoy a cold one. The brands that are harder to pronounce are usually the best so give it a go! Just note that their ‘large’ beer is like an American large soda so, just know that I warned you.
6. Chocolate Wasted
Belgium does two things better than everyone else: beer and chocolate. Bruges is dense with chocolatiers who have been in the business for generations. I opted for artisan truffles but, you can choose from a wide arrange of anything chocolate or even homemade marzipan. Not my favorite – yuck.
7. Climb the Belfort
After all the chocolate and beer it might be a good idea to try climbing the Belfort tower. 366 stairs up and down is the best work out you can ask for! The reward at the top is a view that overlooks Bruges and beyond.
Lets talk beer and chocolate. Who rivals Belgium?
Your Cobweb Clearer, Kate