Continuing on from Day One of our weekend trip to Bruges, Belgium that I organised as a surprise for my hubby’s 40th Birthday gift of Around theWorld: A Year of Dates, here is my trip report and photographs from Day Two of our short break.
I won’t share all the photos here (I took lots!) but you can view the whole set from our trip on my Flickr.
After a good nights sleep in the guest house we stayed at – Den Witten Leeuw – we got up quite early (not wanting to waste the one full day we had in Bruges) and went for an early morning walk to the Minnewater, which was a short walk away.
Whilst out walking we met up with our host, Anne who told us she was just going to get the baked goods for our breakfast – fantastic! At least we knew it was going to be fresh!
We arrived back at the guest house after our host; who had already started to set up for breakfast…fresh pastries and breads, cheese and cold meats and a really delicious bowl of yoghurt and fruit.
There was also cereal and toppings for our bread which she served out in cute little jars. And the bowls for breakfast were gorgeous – I just loved them!
We were also offered eggs, which we declined on this occasion, plus our choice of tea or coffee. Needing a coffee to wake me up somewhat, I opted for that, whilst hubs had tea – which she said he could choose from the tea caddy.
Helping ourselves to breakfast, we sat at our table in the window and started to plan out our day. We were told that there was a beer festival being held, and Steve wanted to go to that, and I wanted to see the Dali Exhibition, so they were two things already! It was also market day, so our first port of call was to walk our way around to the market square to take a look.
We decided to walk around to the market in another direction and got there quite quickly. Even though a lot of walking was involved in this weekend break, it didn’t feel like we had to go very far to get to various places.
Eventually we hit the market square which was very busy and full of the hustle and bustle you associate with a marketplace. We took a wander around the food market which was separate from the clothing market, before heading back towards the Belfry.
Everywhere you go in Bruges you are surrounded by so much history and amazing architecture.
We had popped into the Belfry as that was where the Beer Festival was being held, but it wasn’t open yet, so we carried on our exploration…
We found ourselves in [yet another] square surrounded by restaurants. I saw this bucket of mussels and commented that I must have my moules and frites – a dish that Bruges is famous for! I never did…an excuse to go back ;)
More canals and bridges and finding ourselves in big square with some stunning stone work…
…and in one corner was the Basilica of the Holy Blood. It is free entry, but a donation is asked if you want to go up to see the vial of holy blood that is watched over by a priest. Which we did. I also gave a donation to light some candles for those who have passed. Inside, the basilica is just stunning…but no photography allowed. Even if you are not religious, it has such an overwhelming calming feeling about the place.
We then decided to head back towards the Belfry to go to the beer festival, but the queue was loooong! Not fancying wasting time lining up, we hopped into a carriage to go on a horse ride around the city. The tour would take around 30 minutes with a rest stop at the Minnewater. I didn’t really take any photographs during the tour as just wanted to take in my surroundings and enjoy the ride. Our driver spoke to us in English, pointing out landmarks and the history. I couldn’t hear him too well, but I do recall him telling us that the gargoyles on the outside of buildings are there to let the bad things out…interesting! Would probably explain this photo from the day before!
We stretched our legs at the rest stop, and noticed how cold it was without the warm blankets provided on the carriage!
After the horse had, had some food and water, we were on our way again, heading back towards the square where we started. By the time we reached back here, the queue for the Beer Festival was still vast, so I suggested we go and see the Dali Exhibition (next door) and come back after that. Dali is one of my favourite artists so I was looking forward to this. The entry was around 8 Euros each if I recall, and we had to leave hubby’s backpack at the reception. Some of the artwork was for sale, and it was nice to see his less famous works. We both enjoyed wandering around and viewing the artwork on display.
With my ‘thing’ done, it was now time to do hubby’s ‘thing’ which of course was the Beer Festival next door in the Belfry! We paid 20 Euros for both of us and received a glass each and 4 tokens each to exchange for beer. I’m not much of a beer drinker, so hubs used up some of my tokens :P Growing up in a pub you’d think I’d enjoy beer – but whilst I love the smell of it (reminds me of my childhood lol!! and helping my dad in the beer cellar!!) I don’t really enjoy the taste – and Belgian beer is very strong.
It was super busy in there – hardly space to move or breathe! But we managed to get around and sample various beers – getting a little tipsy on the way, which isn’t hard for me as I’m such a lightweight!
We bought a baguette at the festival to help mop up some of the alcohol before heading back out into the city for further walking around before going back to our hotel to have a rest before going out for dinner in the evening.
As I mentioned in Day One’s Trip Report, some restaurants were closed for the off season, and not wishing to risk having a bad meal somewhere, we went back to Maximiliaan Van Oostenrijk for dinner again! I know this wasn’t particularly adventurous of us, but we knew we would get good food and good service so why take the chance on such a short break?
When entering the restaurant, the waiter asked if we had booked – which we hadn’t, and then I noticed all the reservation cards on the tables. He began to walk us over to a table in the other part of the restaurant, when the manager came out and must have recognised us from the day before and asked if we would like to sit where we had yesterday – which we did as it was such a cosy spot! So he led us over there again and took our drinks orders for us. What a welcoming touch that was.
I knew exactly what I would be having…the same as I did yesterday! It was such a good meal that I wanted to have it all again!! So we both started off the same, with him having mussels and me having scampi. (Yes, they are yesterday’s photos!)
I watched as my meats were cooked on the open grill, and hubby ordered the Flemish Beef Stew which was very rich and beer-y! We shared chips and salad with our dinner.
Rounding off our dinner with some ice-cream, we then took the longer walk back to our hotel to buy some drinks (more beer!) to take home (to the UK) and feeling pretty tired after a long day, went back to our bedroom and zonked out – a combination of lots of walking, fresh air and beer I think!!
Read about our last day, Day Three in Bruges, Belgium!