Another day that started with rain, however we were heading to Brussels for a waffle making course in the afternoon (more on that later) so we thought we would just meander down to the station though the “egg” of Bruges (the shape of the old city is an egg inside the moat).
Started with coffee at Cafune, which according to the internets does great coffee. We had lattes, and can concur that yes they do.
Walking towards the station, Emma and I decided we would climb the Belfry, which has 366 steps to the top. Sharon decided she would check out Michelangelo’s Madonna and child, at the Church of our Lady, which is the only known Michelangelo outside Italy.
The Belfry tower was worth the climb, but not for the feint hearted as the stairs get steeper and narrower towards the top and its two way traffic. Passing people going the opposite way isn’t easy. The bells chime every 15 minutes and luckily we were out of the bell room with about 30 seconds to spare before they chimed. Even a few metres down in the tower it was extremely loud. Got to the station and then off to Brussels for the rest of the days adventures
For our dinner last night we headed into the centre of Brugge and went to A great little bistro called Den Huzaar.
One of our friends (Hello Patrick!) had eaten here in May and raved about how good one of the pork dishes was. After hearing this it was instantly on our must do foodie experience list for this Europe trip.
A few days ago I googled to check of it had an online booking system, which it did, so we duly booked a table for Wednesday night.
We were not disappointed, the dish was spectacular. To be honest it doesn’t look much but one of the most amazing pork dishes I’ve ever eaten. It’s pork cheeks in a Belgian Beer and cherry gravy.
The forecast for today was solid rain and when I woke up it was pouring, and didn’t stop whilst we had breakfast here in the apartment. It was also cold, so I’d pretty much mentally already written the day off and thought to myself we will be lucky if we can just find a nice cafe to grab a coffee, maybe a waffle then come back and watch Netflix for the day.
The rain actually started to ease off just as we walked outside, so we bought a bus ticket for the day and took it to the centre of Bruges and went to the Lace museum which had some excellent displays on the history of lace making in the region. It’s incredibly detailed slow work and some of the videos they showed of experts working by hand were just a blur of hands and fingers. Amazing stuff
Before we actually got into the old town, we had to wait for a barge to cross through the lock near our apartment.
After the lace museum we needed coffee so found a place near the centre that did coffee and lunch. Coffee was not the greatest I’ve had but wasn’t terrible.
By now the rain has actually gone and blue sky had made an appearance which was a real surprise so we high tailed it over to the canal to do a canal cruise before the rain returned. This was the highlight of the day, it really is a pretty town from the water and the bridges are low. Be prepared to duck in some sections if you are tall. Not that we really had to worry
Next we went to the Friets (chip) museum, which if I’m honest is a bit kitschy and overrated. You learn a bit about the history of the potato and how central fries are to the culture of Belgium. Best bit is they have a restaurant in the basement which does amazing chips. In Belgium and the Netherlands Mayo is the condiment of choice and it’s delicious on chips. They also do an amazing curry ketchup here. We all shared a serving of traditional chips. They are as good as they claim.
So what do you do after a serving of chips cooked in beef lard? You follow it up with a waffle chaser to make sure you have all the main food groups covered. We had strawberries on one of the waffles, and that’s a fruit so we must be doing ok
We decided to head back to the apartment for a while before heading out for dinner. We had some amazing food worthy of its own blog post, coming soon.
A relocation day for us today. It was raining a little in the early morning but no where near as bad as it’s been on other days. We had ordered a taxi to pick us up at 10am, and we still had plenty of time, so off we went to get coffee from the great little place next door.
Savouring the coffee i’d noticed a few bikes go past with blue front tyres. I’d seen a lot of those around and thought it must be some Dutch trend or something so decided to google it. Turns out it’s a bike subscription service kind of like Netflix, you pay up to €20 a month and you get a bike, and the company deals with all maintenance, replaces it if it gets stolen etc. would be great if you were in the Netherlands for a few months.
Even though I’d asked the hotel to book the taxi, I had a strange feeling when he wrote the details down he had missed something, so double checked and sure enough it hadn’t been booked. The lady at the font desk just booked us another one, and I couldn’t quite believe it when the taxi showed up and it’s a Tesla Model X (for those that don’t know, this is a all electric SUV with gull wing doors). These are super expensive cars, but since they are all electric the Dutch government has some sort of subsidy to promote zero emission, so they are reasonably common as Taxis in the Netherlands
Train was on time, but since this train goes from Amsterdam all the way to Brussels and meets up with the Eurostar so it’s popular and quite crowded. Luckily we got on early and managed to find room for all our luggage. We are following the “how to get to Bruges” guide from seat61.com and he recommend changing trains at Antwerp rather than Brussels since the next train we are to get is direct. He is correct, Antwerp is a way easier station to navigate and hardly anyone else got off which made it easier.
Slight panic as we left a travel pillow on the train, So I jumped back on the train to grab it. For a moment I thought I might be stuck on the train and be hurtling towards Brussels with rest of the family stranded in Antwerp, but I made it off in time.
Apparently the Netherlands is the second largest exporter of food in the world after the USA. On the train you go past kilometres and kilometres of greenhouses, they are everywhere
We got into Bruges and just jumped in a taxi to our Airbnb. It’s just on the edge of the old town and has a supermarket etc very close by. The Airbnb owner showed us the place and gave us a few tips for the area.
After stocking up on some supplies we headed into the centre of the old town for a look around and grab some dinner. Our AirBnB host recommend a place with great ribs, so we thought we would try that
As we walked out of the restaurant, it had started to rain, not sure where the clouds rolled in from since we had blue sky (for once) when we walked out but raining it was. We just jumped in the first taxi we saw and headed back to the apartment.
For breakfast we started our day at our favourite place next to the hotel. I love watching the bicycles just seem to glide by, lots of ducking and weaving but never any crashes.
I think I’ve mentioned before that the hotel is slightly out of town but has great transport links to everything. Being a modern building there are no worries about narrow and steep staircases that are common in Amsterdam
We have seen a lot of theses tiny tiny “cars” everywhere. Apparently they are only for people who are someway mobility impaired. They can drive them on bike paths and park them on footpaths.
Here is a pic of the train we took today up to Zannse Schans.
For dinner tonight we went back to the same restaurant just on the water near our hotel. Nice little building. Emma had the biggest pizza I’ve ever seen I think and it was only €10