Bruges, Belgium

I made a last minute decision on Friday night to take an overnight trip to Bruges this weekend. At 10 pm on Friday, Lori, Monica and I got together and booked a hostel in Bruges for Saturday night. We left bright and early on Saturday morning for Belgium. After 5 different trains and a total of four and a half hours, we arrived at the Bruges train station. First things first, we found a tourist information center and got ourselves maps. Lori had a handy guide book that told us about all the best things in the city and we made our way towards the city center.

The station was on the edge of town, so we walked towards a large tower that looked interesting. There were a few other tourists here and there walking in the same direction as us, but the town was eerily quiet and empty as we walked along the roads. It was so surreal. The city looked as though it came out of a fairy tale with its small, old, brick buildings and its cobblestone streets.

We came to some important looking buildings and decided to figure out where we were on the map. We happened to be standing in front of the oldest hospital in Europe, the Hospital of St. John, with a Picasso exhibit right across the courtyard. We wondered around the area for a while, also stumbling upon a massive building that was the Church of Our Lady, a beautiful church containing Michelangelo's Madonna and Child. We went looking for the entrance and ended up circling the whole building before we realized that it was right where we started. Our little roundabout made for some nice photographs, though. We finally walked through the entrance only to find that the whole church was under renovation and that you can just barely walk into the front door. There inside the church was the little Michelangelo sculpture sitting over a bunch of candles. 

After the Church of Our Lady, we decided to walk back to the Picasso exhibit and spend some time there. There were really cool works there from Picasso and Matisse along with some other artists. 

During our search for the Groeninge Museum, we discovered a little dock where canal tours were departing and we decided to take one. It took us around the entire city and gave us beautiful views from the water. 

After the half hour boat tour, it was a very short walk to the Groeninge Museum. This is a museum of fine arts that range from 16th century religious art to modern day minimalism. It was a great selection of artwork and it was only €1!

After leaving the Groeninge, we found the main square of the town, Markt Square, and walked around for a bit. There was a giant bell tower and a few other enormous buildings which I don't know what they were. We almost got run over by horse-drawn carriages and busses several times here because you could not tell what was a road and what was a sidewalk. 


We checked the guide book for a good place to have dinner and went off in search of this place, since it was not in the center of town. I find that I always enjoy things more when they are not in the center of town. It is so lovely to stroll down a side street for a while and discover a restaurant you never would have found otherwise. We found the restaurant we were looking for, Carlino's, and it happened to be owned by and attached to the hostel we were staying at for the night, Charlie Rocket's. We checked into our hostel while we waited for the restaurant to open for dinner. It was a very interesting place. To get to our room, we had to go through a bar, in a hallway, up several winding flights of stairs and mystery doors. It felt like a maze getting to the room. The room was very quaint. It only had four beds and the window opened right over the street, so we had a great view. We headed to the restaurant right next door to grab some dinner.

After our Italian dinner, we explored a bit. We went back into the main square and took some interesting photos. There were two competing fry stands at the bottom of the bell tower so we got both kinds to compare. We also went in search of a frog statue that you're supposed to kiss because one day it will turn into a prince. Basically, I kissed a germ covered statue in the name of fun. We mostly stayed in for the rest of the night relaxing in our room, meeting our temporary roommate from New York, and having hot cocoa in the bar downstairs. 

We woke up on Sunday morning in search of waffles, but nothing in the city was open yet, so we headed to the outskirts in search of windmills. We found two, one of which we were able to climb. The stairs were incredibly steep and it was a little scary being up there, but it gave us a beautiful view of the city. On our walk back from the windmills, we came across a really cool play structure thing and spent some time climbing around on it. The waffle place was finally open by the time we got back, so my friends treated me to a birthday waffle. It was amazing. I wish I could have a Belgian waffle every morning for breakfast. We wanted to climb the bell tower that morning, too, but the line was too long so I climbed the replica and it was free. 

We then went off to find a chocolate store that the guide book told us about called Dumon and bought a pre-assorted box of chocolates which barely lasted the train ride home. We visited the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which is said to have a vile of Jesus's blood held inside. 

With only a few hours left in Bruges, we made our way back towards the train station on different streets. We stopped in several chocolate shops. I was really interested in seeing the Begijnhof, a convent outside the city center, so I dragged my friends there and it ended up being incredibly peaceful and tranquil. I felt like I was in a fairy tale. We entered their church just in time to hears the nuns finishing a song and I could not believe how beautiful it sounded. 

Aside from one more round of waffles, our trip was pretty much drawing to a close. We took a short walk through a park near the train station and hopped on our train(s) back to the Netherlands. 


  1. Hey Amy, this is Katy! I just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday!! I've been enjoying your blog, and I'm glad you are having good experience in the Netherlands!

  2. Thanks Katy :) I miss you and your family. I'm glad you like my blog and I hope you got my letter.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts