I’m British through and through but nothing says Christmas more passionately than Brugge does each December. The Belgians of course have two celebrations with the Feast of Sint Niklaas coming early in the month!
The city streets are beautifully decked out with twinkling lights and window displays and the main and smaller squares like Market Square and Simon Stevinplein have their stalls selling all kinds of gift, food and drink specialties. It’s a picture book / chocolate box place that you may wander and wonder around in the warmth of their hospitality and friendliness - and in safety.
My ideal 24 hours? I set off on a Friday afternoon straight down the M20 from London and directly into the Eurotunnel terminal from the motorway. Go to the toilet, buy a drink, drive onto the train – 25 minutes of rest – drive off the train, to the end of the tunnel road, turn right and just keep on straight for 55 minutes and there is the Bruges turn-off – 10 minutes later I am parked in the centre. Nothing could be easier and hardly needs a map or GPS!
If I just kept walking around the main central triangle of the city it would only take me some 15 minutes to do so – but there is so much to see that is worthwhile. Ice Skating in Markt, climb the Belfry, eat Flemish beer stew and photograph the canals and picturesque buildings as the sun sets and the sky glows. You are never far away from where your hotel is and it is so easy to take a small break to recuperate and re-energise!
Saturday is market day at Tzand (square next to bus station) – buy wonderful cheeses to take home; visit The Church of our Lady to see the Michelangelo Madonna with Child statue and take a canal boat trip, a museum visit or a romantic Horse and Carriage ride around the cobbled streets. Too much to do – so little time!
Now don’t forget those chocolates, those fresh cream pralines. Much much cheaper than the UK and guaranteed to produce sounds of delight (and quiet munching noises). I also buy ginger bread, chocolate figures and honey waffle biscuits.
Driving home; quickly visit a supermarket in Belgium for very good beer at low prices. Try a jar of Advocaat as this goes great on ice cream or Christmas pudding! Wine is also reasonable in price here.
… and it’s back to Coquilles to catch the train back home. Mission accomplished… Tired and very Happy!
Here’s a link to learn more oldchocolatehouse.com/links.html
Yep, this fantastic bar serves over 300 types of beer. A bit daunting but the beer menu allows you to choose by region, brewing style etc ... and if you're still unsure the bar staff are happy to recommend one.
Given the bar's excellent reputation it can get busy so you may find yourself squeezing onto a table or into a small standing space. Make the squeeze though, the beer and the atmosphere (a great place to chat, gossip, discuss and put the world to rights - in a friendly way - all fuelled by the marvellous beer) is well worth it!
We were enticed into De Kuppe for two rather prosaic and one rather fantastic reason! The first two being that it was very near to the hotel (Aragon) we were staying in and the window advertised over 100 beers. The latter reason being that as they walked past they were playing “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder, which demanded to be danced to!
Oh and with Leffe and Hoegaarden on tap add another two motives!
The bar itself is a long rectangular room with the bar down one side and tables and chairs on the other. Decor is – well to be honest it’s just bar-like! A plain-ish wall, wooden furniture - like a lot of good places to drink it’s the beer that’s the thing and the clientele that make the atmosphere (a mixture of different ages).
The 100 or so beers are listed on a menu card – just make your pick and the barman will take your order. At 6.00pm in the evening (we returned to the bar on our second trip to Bruges) the bar was sparsely populated (there are also tables and chairs outside for those balmy summer evenings) at 10.30pm with the music playing it was much busier.
Located near the Markt this is one of the – many – fine bars you can find in Bruges. Cheers!
Open: from about 5.00pm
+32 (0) 50 33 39 20
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