Monday, 6 June 2016

Interrailing adventure destination 1 - Brugge!

Hey guys! Some of you may or may not know that I'm currently travelling around Europe! Travel bug got the best of me so I just decided to take the plunge and book everything! I'm going to 7 destinations and have about 3 days in each place and Brugge is my first destination! 

Markt Square.

My boyfriend and I woke up at the dreaded time of 5am to get the Eurostar from St Pancreas to Brussels and then Brussels to Brugge and from the moment we got there to the moment we left, we loved it. It is extremely hard not to get lost here, but what's travelling without getting lost?- am I right? We explored
the whole place by foot and managed to see everything we wanted to see In less than 2 days!

Favourite parts: 

#1 climbing the belfry tower. 
#2 canal tour.
#3 exploring the markets. 
#4 beer wall.

The one thing you have to do here is drink- I'm talking beer. I'm not a big beer drinker myself so I tended to go for the more fruity ones and my favourites were peach, raspberry and cherry!

We arrived at our Air BnB a little earlier than expected (even though we got lost for about an hour) so once we found it we decided to get a drink somewhere nearby. We found a pub called Volkscafe St.Jakobs and it sold THE nicest peach beer ever!! The place isn't far from the market square, far enough away for it not to be busy with tourists but close close enough to walk in about 4 minutes. We actually went here a few times more cause we didn't manage to find the peach beer we had anywhere else In Brugge!

After putting our bags down and freshening up we decided to head into market square and see what was going on. It was about 4pm at this point so we was just planning on going for a wander and some food. I would suggest getting a map from a tourist information centre (I know there's one in the train station) as you will definitely be needing it, google maps doesn't really work as well here haha. 

you will realise how beautiful this place really is as soon as you walk into the square. It does actually look like a fairytale! With the huge belfry tower and the gothic houses with doorstep roof's everything just looks like something from a dream. After looking around we decided to try some chips from the green food vans outside the tower as they are said to sell extremely nice chips with lots of strange sauces (they were amazing). 

From here we decided to find the beer wall (priorities!) we walked past it a good few times without realising, but after finding it we decided to treat ourselves with a lovely beer each. We came back here a few times too, as they literally sold so many different types of beers and also their outside drinking area is one of the most photographed places in Brugge! Their menus are also hanging from the ceiling which was strange but I really liked it (not so good for short people like me). We firstly had just a drink each then we decided to get a taste tray which is €10 for 4 mini beers and 3 snacks. These were fab! You can choose from 3 different combinations: a light combi, a mix combi or a strong combi. We chose the mix as we both like different beers and it came with were one smooth one, one fruity one, a dark on and a triple smooth one that's only brewed during the full moon!for snacks it came with some nuts, a square of Brugge cheese and some mini salamis. We also went and brought another salami afterwards because it tasted so good!

Beer Wall.

Pulling down menu.

Tasting tray.

We then decided we should probably start exploring so went to look at some of the shops near the beer wall and found ourselves buying waffles on sticks! These were one of THE best waffles I've ever tasted! Even though they were quite hard to eat (more was on my clothes than me) but basically you pick your chocolate coating and then your topping. I chose milk chocolate with white and milk chocolate ball balls and Will chose white chocolate with marshmallows! 

For the rest of the day we pretty much found our bearings of places to prepare us for the next day which we knew was going to be super busy. After stopping for a few more drinks and trying to find somewhere to have some mussels and chips (Brugge signature dish) we asked the owner of our Air BnB and he recommended a restaurant called De Vlaamsche Pot, It wasn't that far away from the city centre, which we liked as it was less busy and more of a locals restaurant. We both had mussels with chips and it was loooovely! One thing that we did find is that the average price for mussels and chips is around €20-€25 euros. Sometimes it doesn't matter how far out you are from the city centre, price wise. Also if you are looking for a cheaper price you can find more restaurants near Minnewater Park! 

The next day we both woke up bright and early to catch the markets we were planning on going to! We firstly went to T'Zand and saw the food and flea market and then went over to Beursplein for the flower, fruit and veg market. This was really lovely. You get a chance to mingle with the locals and see how they live and also look at what food and things they offer outside the touristy parts. You can find Brugge market schedule here.

Coffee from the market!

Waffles from the market!

After exploring these markets, eating some sausages and buying some pretty new trousers we decided to head to Minnewater park. On our way we came across some amazingly beautiful houses. 

When we got to Minnewater park, we were planning on having a picnic or something  on the grass, but the weather wasn't as good as we hoped so instead we just walked around, saw lovers lake and then went to a restaurant and got a drink near by! This is where I tried mixed berries beer which was lush! This is probably one of my favourite places to eat/ drink in Brugge as its so so pretty. There's 4 restaurants and a few little shops next to the lake and horse and carriages go past every few minutes, it really does feel like you're in a fairytale! 

On our way back to the square we stopped off at the famous De haalve man for a drink of Brugse Zot which they brew themselves. This is also a beer museum but we decided not to go on that as we wasn't really that interested, however it was very busy! 

We then began to conquer the Belfry tower! If you've seen the film In Bruges, this is the tower that Ken throws himself off in the film. it is incredibly high and the view is spectacular. I strongly recommend doing this if you're thinking about visiting Brugge! Even though it is a work out to get up there, it's worth it! Tickets are €8 for under 26's (you need proof of age) and €10 for everyone else. Also we accidentally but thankfully timed it so that when we got up there the clock striked 3pm so the bell chimed and it was amazing! You get to see all of the strings moving and the bell chiming (though, it's quite loud). After walking up all those thousands of steps we decided to reward ourselves with some chips and bitterballen (meat stuffed fried balls) from the carts outside the belfry. 

We then decided to visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood just outside the square. This is a beautiful church which is said to hold something which contains the blood of Christ. Whilst we were there we didn't actually realise that you could go up and see it And when we did realise it had gone! There is also a trophy room in there which has various things in, it costs €2.50 to enter. 

After this we decided to go on a lovely canal tour as we felt like we had seen everything else apart from the canals. For €8 each we hopped onto a boat with around 20 other tourists and did what we do best, take photos of everything. Even if it's nothing, exhibit A...

And then of course there was some interesting things.. 
Audrey Hepburn's old house.

An old 'tea house' which now nobody goes to.

This canal tour was really beautiful and the driver tells you the history of each building or landmark (in lots of different languages), you see Audrey Hepburn's house and also the hotel room in the film, In Bruges that Ray jumped out of onto the boat. This is especially good if your tired of walking around and want a break but don't want to waste time not seeing the sights!

From here on we decided to find somewhere to eat and we walked back to Minnewater park and decided to eat here. We went to Minnewater Bistro and it was lovely! After this we headed back and had one last peach beer at our fave, Volkscafe St.Jakobs. Then we decided to go to an underground bar called, Le Trappiste where we both decided to do some more beer tasting. It was €10 for 5 choices of their draft beers and we chose: Gulden Draak-strong dark ale, 10.5%, Belle Vue Kriek-Cherry beer, 4.1%, La Chouffe-Special Blond, 8%, Malheur 6-Blond, 6% and Rodenbach-Old Flemish brown, 5%. This is where I realise I don't like blond beer, but Will does so it was all good! Also the strong dark ale was surprisingly very nice! The old Flemish brown was too and of course the cherry one was lovely! 
Beer Tasting.

We then got the chance to see Brugge at night as it doesn't get fully dark until about 10pm and it was breathtaking! The belfry tower was lit up and just looked spectacular! 

Things to avoid: 
- there are so many horse and carriages round the city to take tourists round to see things. We didn't actually go on one nor did we want to but people were telling us that they were €50 for half an hour and then you also were asked to "tip the horse" (strange but..) I personally wouldn't go on these because I don't feel it's fair on the horse to be lugging 6 people around in the heat, but also because I think it's a bit of a rip off and that Brugge is one of the places you should definitely explore by foot! 
- Eating in the square. Some restaurants around the square are reasonably priced however some are ridiculous! I would probably suggest avoiding the majority of restaurants around here, or at least taking a look at the prices before sitting down if you don't want to end up with a hefty bill at the end.

Hope you enjoyed this post! See you next time to talk about Destination number 2, Amsterdam!



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