I was so ready to get out of Paris and move onto Bruges, but I didn’t think about the temperature difference. It was a solid 65 degree Fahrenheit when I got to Bruges, but honestly, it was so welcome after two weeks of overheating.
I opted for a smaller Belgian city thinking maybe it wouldn’t be as stressful and I was right. Bruges was calm and easy going. My hostel had a bar and restaurant in it so when I got there and decided I needed food over anything else, so instead of immediately going out and exploring the city, I recuperated after a long day of traveling and had a nice Belgian beer and some hearty food. The people were all very friendly and all spoke multiple languages. It was cool to see the people asking what language before starting to speak to that person in their native tongue. The people of Bruges were all very friendly and welcoming as well.
The next day was the only full day I had in Bruges. I woke up and wandered down the street to the grocery store and realized quickly it was the only thing open that early on a Saturday morning. I grabbed some Belgian chocolate and some water before going back to the hostel to research some things to do for the day. I decided on a free walking tour of the city, as I always do, and I was once again not disappointed.
My tour lasted two hours and took us around to all the famous sights. The guide also was able to tell us some lesser known stories of Bruges, but it was really interesting to hear about how important this city was about 700 years ago. He also talked about the famous movies, like In Bruges and Monuments Men, and their impact on tourism in the city. I loved the movie Monuments Men and all I wanted was to see the Bruges Madonna which is the only Michelangelo sculpture to leave Italy. It is housed in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges and let me tell you, it’s beautiful.
The guide also told us that in the past couple hundred years, a lot of the buildings and bridges in Bruges fell apart or collapsed. Instead of using a new style of building, they tried to make everything look like it was way older than it was which really adds to the charm of this city. If you’re into architecture, Bruges is worth a visit. Everything is very intricate and detailed, adding to the beauty of the whole city.
We ended our tour by getting a coupon for the waffle truck in the square, so of course, I had to have one. It was by far, the best waffle I’ve ever had. It was so fluffy and light, but sweet at the same time. Plus the melted Belgian chocolate and bananas I got on it didn’t hurt! There are lots of waffle shops around the city and are a great snack that will hold you until the next meal.
I still had some time to kill so I went to the Bruges Beer Experience. For someone who loves beer, this place was awesome. It showed all the different steps in making beer, the different types of beer, and also one fun fact about beer. For example, did you know that brewing beer used to be a task designated for the women in the household?
The tour ends with a tasting, which is more like three half pints, of some delicious Belgian beers. For something that was just a time filler, this was amazing. I highly recommend this for any beer lover.
All in all, I thought Bruges was great! It’s a charming city that isn’t big but is still accessible for tourists. It’s a great place to visit for a day or for four and you can find something for everyone there. I didn’t expect to like Bruges as much as I did, but it was awesome!