Brugge, Belgium: 4/14-4/17
Home of fries, waffles, and enough chocolate to last a lifetime, Brugge is an adorable city located about an hour outside of Brussels, Belgium. It is a part of Flanders, so the locals speak Flemish (along with French and German).
After landing in Charleroi and taking a bus and cab to our hostel in Bruges, Marissa, Brittany, Jenn, and I grabbed a map and sought out food. We ate at Friterie 1900 in Markt, where we of course got fries. Later we walked around the city, which was a ghost town! Everything closes super early and we saw very few tourists walking around. We passed by a vacant carnival and a lot of horse carriages.
Friday was an adventure! After breakfast at the cutest tea room called “Ginger Bread”, we rented bikes for the day. The bike seller told us it was a 40 minute ride to the beach, so we decided to venture to the North Sea. Yeah…he’s a liar. After riding through the Belgian countryside for two hours in the rain, we finally made it to Knokke-Heist beach. It was a struggle to get there, but I’m glad we stuck with it. The countryside was beautiful, a mixture of farms and cottages.
Since we were exhausted and had an hour to return our bikes, we opted for a tram and train ride back to Brugge. Lugging our bikes around, we stuck out like sore thumbs. Leave it to us to also accidentally sit in first class on the train. Oops! For dinner we got “pasta in a box” from “Bocca”, a little take away shop that many students go to. It was great for 5€! That night we stayed at our hostel which has a bar downstairs, where we listened to live music and drank local beer on draught.
On Saturday Marissa, Britt, and I took a free walking tour around the city while Jenn worked on homework. We saw a lot more of the city than we had in the previous two days. We saw canals, famous sites from the movie “In Brugge”, the fish market, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and many other areas. We went inside a chocolate shop for some samples and the beer museum for a break and some beers. Our tour guide told us a lot of cool facts about the city, like how a lot of the buildings have been reconstructed due to frequent fires and flooding, so the date on the outside of each building is that of renovation, not construction. Also, Belgium is home of the original fries – French fries was a name that dumb Americans gave the fries because they heard Belgians speaking French and assumed they must’ve been in France. The fries we had his weekend were really good! They load WAY too much sauce onto them, but they’re tasty! I got curry ketchup and the rest got special sauce, which is a combination of curry ketchup, mayo, and onions. By far the best thing we had though was the waffles from a food truck that our tour guide recommended. She gave us a discount, and they were AMAZING! I was pleasantly surprised with my stay in Belgium. From sugary desserts and cherry beer to scenic farmland and adorable Flemish buildings, Brugge offers a lot. I hope to come back one day and enjoy some more food!