Bruges is the most underestimated place I have come across! The UNESCO capital of the world, the town is mostly untouched since the 1500s. Arriving in late afternoon, I started my visit wandering the cobblestone streets to the market square. There I was greeted by stunning traditional architecture and a bustling marketplace. For dinner, I bought double-fried french fries (fried in lard!) which were actually invented in Belgium! I then wandered the square with the horse-drawn carriages and handmade chocolate shops, listening to the bells chime from the Belfort tower. I finished the night by heading to bar De Garre and downing a pint of their famous 11% beer (not bad!!).
Just over 1 day left, so I headed to the beautiful bridges and sights the town has to offer. I found myself sitting on a 16th century bridge, admiring the houses backed up to the water, watching a swan glide down the canal. It made me laugh, as I was literally sitting in a fairytale. I just need to learn how to sing to birds!
From there I found myself in the torture museum, set in one of the oldest prisons in Europe. I didn't stay long! Just down the road ( as everything is) was the "Choco Story" – a museum dedicated to chocolate! I learned everything from the Mayans and how they traded it like gold, to the Victorian Era and their upper class value, to modern day uses. It. Was. Awesome. A free Belgian Chocolate bar when you walk in, and you can’t go wrong!
I then stopped for lunch at one of countless waffle houses. (when in rome!)
Next was a brewery tour of the oldest brew house in Belgium, De Haalve Moon. An interesting education in the traditional brewing process, ending of course, with a complimentary beer.
Last, but not least, was the beer tasting at ‘t'Brugsch Bieratelier. 12 pots of beer, 30 euros, and 1 girl. This girl had a rough morning! I did first have a small taste of all of them, trying cherry, coffee, Chocolate, oak, and more flavours!
The next morning I climbed the 366 steps to the top of the belfry to be rewarded with nothing less than a spectacular view!
Total 24 waking hours, over 20,000 steps, and I’m back on the bus headed to Amsterdam!