In Bruges Without Punching a Dwarf in the Face!

25 08 2011

H and I had a couple of days off this week, so pre-empting a washed out camping trip to Swanage, we booked some cheap ferry tickets from Dover to Dunkirk and headed to the quaint Belgian city of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage site and throughly lovely place to have a beer.

We arrived at about midday and had a walk through the city to our hotel in the North of the City, to find our room overlooking one of the cities canals.  The Hotel Ter Brughe is lovely, but has terribly thin walls (more of which later) but for the amount it cost it should have been.

After dumping our bags we headed out into the city, where the first stop on our agenda was the Haalve Maan (Half Moon brewery) home of Bruge Zot (Bruges Fool) and Strafee Hendrik (Strong Hendrick) beers for the tour.  Full of many interesting facts, and some oddities (4% beer is for children) our guide was excellent and obviously enjoyed her job.  Once the tour was over we got a free sample of Bruges Zot (6%) and not the 11% Straffe Hendrik, which was probably lucky as I would have fallen asleep soon afterwards.

From there we had another mooch about the city and its waterways before heading back to the hotel to get changed before going out for dinner in the evening.  After the thickest piece of Sirloin steak ever we headed back to our hotel for a well deserved sleep (we had been up since 4am).

At 2am, the Spaniards in the next room arrived back, and started talking.  To say that they were loud was an understatement, and they had woken both H and I up.  After nearly an hour this got too much for me and my over tired self just shouted through the wall for them to “shut the hell up!”, which seemed to work, but scared the hell out of the dozing H.

The next morning brought drizzle, so we had a leisurely breakfast waiting for the rain to pass, before heading to the Belfry tower to climb its 366 steps.  I have never been particularly brilliant with heights, but the view was good but what made it worth the 8 Euros was seeing the mechanism ring the 46 bells.  A brilliant piece of engineering.

Back at ground level we headed off on a half hour boat tour around the cities waterways.  A lot of which consisted of the age of the bridges, but it was a great way to see this city. Before we headed home we had enough time to go to the cathedral hand have a look around before we had a meal of Moule et Frite (Mussles and Chips.  MMMmmm!) and a mooch around a Convent grounds and the park before our 26 hours in Bruges came to an end.

If you go to Bruges in the future by car, park in the train station, it cost us £3 Euros for 26 hours of parking, where as if we had got parking through the hotel it would have cost £30.  You can even get a free bus to the centre of the city.

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