Bruges Holiday

Monday, 16 June 2014
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For my birthday in March, Blair's gift to me was a "secret" holiday later in the year, so that's how we ended up in Bruges for 3 days at the end of May. He had been before with a mate a few years previous but it was my first time so I was pretty excited to visit the place I'd fallen a bit in love with when watching the film In Bruges.  Even more exciting was the fact we were travelling there by the Eurostar.  It sounds sad, but I bloody love travelling by train and the Eurostar is like the ultimate train experience…..you go UNDER THE SEA!  

We arrived in Bruges at about 7pm on the Friday after a loooong day of travelling.  We had got a taxi to Edinburgh train station at 7am followed by the train to London, Eurostar to Brussels, train to Bruges (it was rush hour so we had to stand the whole way - an hr standing on a packed hot train - fun!), and taxi to hotel - phew!  The hotel we were staying at (Hotel Marcel) was a cute little boutique cafe & hotel just round the corner from the main square where the famous Belfry sits - we even had a view of it from our window on the top floor.  After unpacking (and having a scout round the room to see what was in all the drawers as per) we went for a walk round the streets nearby and stopped for dinner at a little Italian place.  It's become a bit of a tradition that whenever we go on a holiday we have an Italian on the first night - not intentionally I must add, it just always seems to happen.

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One delicious bowl of pasta later we headed back to the hotel for an early night in front of the TV (they had loads of UK channels, which we were pathetically excited about!).  The next morning we got up bright and early and went down to the cafe for breakfast.  We were given a little brown bag of bread and pastries and a wrapped portion of ham and cheese to share - it was soooo cute, like a wee breakfast picnic.  I was also introduced to the wonder that is speculoos spread - like nutella, but gingerbread flavour - amaaaaaazing!

After breakfast we were all pumped up and ready for an EPIC climb up the Belry.  This is probably the main attraction in Bruges, but it's definitely not for the faint-hearted (or the large)- it's 366 steps up a very narrow, spiral staircase and there's just 1 way up & down so you often have to flatten yourself up against the wall to let people past.  We felt quite chuffed with ourselves for making up to the top without collapsing of exhaustion - must be fitter than we thought, haha.  

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In need of something relaxing after the Belfry we went on a river cruise, another tradition on our holidays (think we've been on 5 now).  Our tour guide on this was brilliant, he was a really posh old English guy and he had this dead-pan wit so the commentary was hilarious.  After the cruise we stopped for a quick lunch and then went to find the Begijnhof which is a nuns convent about a 15 minute walk from the main square.  It's a really peaceful area of the city, although it does feel a bit odd just randomly walking about a convent whilst actual nuns are going about their business (I saw one on a mobile phone….).  We also visited the Church of Our Lady which is another one of the more famous Bruges landmarks.  It was undergoing some refurbishment at the time so half of it was a building site, but even so you could see it was a stunning building.  

To finish off the afternoon we went round all the locations from the film In Bruges like the park (unfortunately the bandstand was surrounded by scaffolding, we'd envisaged getting photos standing underneath it so that was a bit of a shame), the bridge where Colin Farrell snogged Clemence Poesy, the statue, the window Ray jumped out of, and the hotel.  I really want to re-watch the film now that we're home as I haven't seen it in about a year so didn't really recognise a lot of the spots we visited (Blair did, but his memory for stuff like that is ridiculous).  

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Day 3 was all about museums with us visiting the Gruuthusemuseum (this was the city palace museum, but I found it quite boring to be honest), the Sint-Janshospitaal museum (where I was fascinated/creeped out by the display of amputation tools), the Friet (chip) Museum (really not as exciting as it sounds…I expected lots of chip tasting but it was actually just lots of facts and history. There was a bit downstairs where you could buy chips, but we didn't bother as I wasn't convinced they would be that great), and Choco-Story (now here we did get to taste some chocolate!  But yeah again unless you're interesting in hearing lots of facts about chocolate then I wouldn't bother).  

It was also all about food with us tasting the best chips in town (the stall outside the belfry), followed by waffles and praline ice cream at Sweet Bruges (YUM), then lots of chocolate shopping (for gifts…..and us…..but mostly gifts, honest), finally ending the night sitting in the square eating hot dogs in the moonlight.  As it was our last night we'd left going out for hotdogs till quite late (11ish) so we could see the place in the dark - everything looked even more beautiful all lit up, especially the river where the lights twinkled in the water.  Ahhh so nice.

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We were up early the next day for another looong day of travelling with us eventually getting back to our flat at about 7pm-ish.  I ended up totally wishing I'd booked the Monday off work as one day is never enough to fully recover from a holiday, is it?  3 days of walking takes it out of you, especially when you're old and unfit like me, haha.  The walking paid off though as despite eating a lot of chocolate and chips I actually lost half a pound at Slimming World, it was a holiday miracle!

Now if you excuse me, I'm off to watch In Bruges….

5 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos Lynne. I would also love to travel on the Eurostar. Trains are definitely my favourite method of transport. Better keep a close eye on ourselves before we turn into Sheldon Coopers
    Hayley
    Water Painted Dreams xo

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    1. Haha I know, watch out we'll be in anoraks next ;) x

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  2. Replies
    1. Hahahaahh good spot! You know what that is...it's because I was just watching Roisin's latest video before I wrote this and she mentioned Colin Firth. Lol xx

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    2. Yehhhhhh, I believe you! ;-) xx

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