A couple of months ago, I was talking to my friend Cara about how I really wanted to take advantage of my days off during the week and take mini vacations to different places in France or beyond. It took absolutely no convincing and two suggestions on places to go and we were already looking at hotels and dates. Cara sent me 10 hotel options, of practically all I loved, and in a matter of a work day hour, it was planned. Bruges. The hotel Cara had stayed at before with her man and a city I had long wanted to discover.
Side story: Cover your ears mom, but the plan had been to visit it on a day trip back when I went to Brussels two years ago, but the Beer tour the night before completely changed my morning plans.
Cara had visited once before and seriously is a mega planner- talk about easy. We arrived in Brussels and Queen Bee, yes that’s her new nickname that she doesn’t know about, had looked on the tickets, and smartly knew that we could take any which way train we wanted to from Brussels to Bruges because it was an intercity train. So we hopped on the next train, saved ourselves a couple minutes, and arrived in Bruges just 30 minutes later. A quick jaunt on the bus (thank you Google Maps and Cara, for the intercity transport aid) and we were at the restaurant I had researched just the night before: Bistro Pro Deo, which was said to be Traditional Belgium food in the centre of Bruges.
A little out of the way, not touristy at all, and with such a fun interior, our first restaurant was good- maybe not the best- but still a fun experience with tasty food. The waiter even remembered my friend!
Steak tartare, a Belgium beer, Frites, and ya- ok not too shabby.
Then off to the hotel called De Corenbloem, which was possibly my favorite part of the trip.
A nondescript door, about a 10 minute walk from the town center, opened up into a beautifully decorated interior with two floors, multiple bedrooms, sitting, and dining room, and a courtyard outside, Another unique feature- the wallpaper was hand painted in all of the interiors.
Our room was gorgeous. And perfectly made for the slumber party that would start later that night.
After checking in, we freshened up, then it was off to visit chocolate shops! First stop was Dumon Chocolatier with just the sweetest little old lady helping us out- she filled the entire bottom of my chocolate box with chocolate/caramel pieces— yess!!!
Off for a bit of wandering and shopping where Cara introduced me to Dill & Kamille- a store I still dream about. Picture Crate and Barrel in Brussels- clean lines, classic items, and great prices. I was able to contain my excitement, barely, do a tour of the store and then go back around for the second time and pick up so many fun things, including a mini zester!
More wandering and the main square, The Markt. Now, I would recommend seeing the movie Bruges at some point if you’re planning on visiting the city. It’s a great satire with beautiful views of the city. Including a main scene involving the Belfort, the medieval bell tower in the town square.
Chocolate shops are everywhere. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to get two to three pieces from several different shops. We ended up with two boxes of chocolates each from two places. After a dinner of frites and beer, it was back to the hotel for a, you guessed it, classical music listening, bathrobe wearing, chocolate tasting!
The next day started with a delicious breakfast at the B&B and a ridiculously tempting visit to an antique shop where I almost bought a full English tea set. Where I would have put it in my tiny apartment? I don’t know. But it was darn cute!
A boat ride visit and more perusing the streets.
A little note here- I loved that we stayed overnight. Most people were coming just for the day so around 6pm the city cleared out as most shops closed and people went back to their base cities.
It was a short visit- but really the perfect amount of time. A day and a half and we had explored the city from top to bottom it seemed.
De Corenbloum B&B – a fantastic, gorgeously decorated B&B St. Jorisstraat, 6, 8000 Brugge, België
Canal Boat Trip – Just 8 euros and you can find a departure point from just about any spot along the canal that is close to a more touristy area
Lizzie’s Wafles – Light fluffy waffles bigger than your face! Sint-Jakobsstraat, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
Go to the top of the Belfort tour.
Stay overnight and hit up a terrace overlooking the canal for a beer or two once the tourists have cleared out of the city.
Visit as many chocolate shops as you can.
Kathe Wohlfahrt – The store where it’s Christmas all year round! Check out the wall of cuckoo clocks and the gorgeous wood merry-go-round type contraptions that spin from the heat emitting from stragetically placed candles! Breidelstraat 4, 8000 Brugge, Belgium