In Bruges

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day two of our great Belgian adventure began bright and early before any of our five hostelmates woke up.  After drinking some of the worst instant coffee I've ever tasted we headed off in search of the train station.  My wonderful friend Inna (who threatened to stop speaking to me if I don't mention her by name in my blog) said that if we were going to Brussels we had to visit Bruges.  We only had Saturday and Sunday in Belgium so we didn't think we would have enough time to do both but we decided to make it happen.  After finding the train station we bought our tickets and settled down with some better tasting coffee and wonderfully sweet touristy waffles.

The train to Bruges only took an hour and gave us a chance to see some of the beautiful Belgian countryside.  It was during this trip that I decided what I may want to do next year... but that will be a post of its own coming soon! 

Bruges is a very well preserved medieval village and since 2000 it's been a UNESCO World Heritage Site (aka one of those places that everyone should be required to go to in their lives).  It reminded me a lot of Venice.  The combination of the canals and the slow, unhurried pace at which everyone traveled gave you that same relaxing feeling.  Like in Venice there weren't many things to actually do in Bruges but the entire town itself was a site.  Our day again consisted mostly of wandering the streets from chocolate shop to chocolate shop while occasionally stopping to eat other foods.  I never managed to find a map to take home with me so I cannot remember the names of most of the places we visited but I did make a point of visiting the square that a majority of In Bruges was filmed.

Although Brussels and Bruges are only an hour apart, it was hard to tell that they were part of the same country.  The weather was entirely different and there seemed to be much less French being used in Bruges than there was in Brussels.  It also had just a generally more relaxed atmosphere. 

After spending most of the day in Bruges we had to head back to the train station to get to Brussels to catch our flight.  We arrived back in Dublin around 10 and I was home before 11.   Overall it was a great trip.  I really enjoyed Brussels and loved Bruges.   I can see why it wouldn't be for everyone but I would definitely recommend Belgium for a nice weekend trip.  It was the perfect amount of time to see and do and eat everything on a tight schedule.

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