24/04/2011 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

According to the tourist map that I picked up in the youth hostel, Bruges was first described as a, “dark, poor and ugly place” in the book Bruges la Morte in 1892. From my brief experience of the place it is difficult to see why. Yes, it would be true to say that not a lot goes on in Bruges, but then I wasn’t exactly expecting it to be the party capital of Europe.

The day began with my first experience of the European rail network. I was left feeling bitterly disapointed when the train to Bruges rolled up seven minutes late. If I wanted shit like this I would have just stayed at home. The train journey itself was fine and I was provided with ample leg room (something of great importance for a man of my height).

The centre of Bruges is surrounded almost entirely be canals. They do eventually lead to the sea and were important for trade during the 17th and 18th centuries. Now though, their main purpose seems to be providing tourists with a boat tour of the City. €7 seemed very reasonable for a tour so Chris and I jumped on board. It is an excellent way to see the City and compared to walking it gives you a very different perspective of Bruges. After 30 minutes and some badly taken photos of the backs of other peoples heads the boat returned to the jetty.

The centre of Bruges is very small, apparently only 20,000 people live within the City walls. As a result you can walk around and easily see everything of interest in a day. There are several large churches and a market square surrounded by restaurants mostly selling chips and waffles. Needless to say Chris and I indulged on both during the course of the day. Being Belgium, the chips came with a large dollop of mayonaisse which was far better than anything I have tasted as home.

When in Bruges...

In the evening we headed down to a local butchers and bakery in search of supplies. I don’t have a lot of experience of going into butchers shops but to me the food seemed very good value. We then headed to a nearby park where we sat and ate our sandwiches. Preparing your own food is a hell of a lot cheaper than eating out in restaurants every night, but if you shop in the right places the quality is still excellent. It’s a shame that in England we don’t have many independent food retailers. It’s only been three days and I’m already beginning to realise that the quality of the food we get in the supermarkets at home is crap.

I’ll leave you with a fun fact about Belgium. Drinking in public places is legal, yet I have seen nothing in the way of drunk and disorderly behaviour. Britain should perhaps take some note of this. Get caught drinking in the wrong place in Britain and you’ll likely have the local Police Community Support Officer turn up and ask you to pour your beer down the nearest drain. There is definitely something wrong with a country where alcohol consistantly leads to violence and bad behaviour. The Belgians seem able to keep things under control so why can’t we? I have also only seen one police officer in Bruges and he was at the train station… just saying.


Entry filed under: Belgium.

Brussels Antwerp

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