Why we decided to go to Bruges?
Have you ever seen a movie “In Bruges” with Colin Farrell? Or perhaps remember the scene at the end of it where Farrell’s character starts a not so positive monologue about Bruges? To be entirely precise I quote “…maybe that’s what hell is: the entire rest of eternity spent in Bruges?!” – Ray, “In Bruges”.
I watched it just a few months before going to Bruges with a friend of mine. We actually watched it together and were rather surprised by such strong and depressive message. All we heard about Bruges before is that it is a gorgeous city to visit. But after watching a movie we were wondering if going to Bruges is such a good idea. We asked people around that we new were there and all of them said that the city is so beautiful that you feel like you are in a fairyland, with its narrow medieval streets, smell of freshly made Belgian waffles accompanied with delicious dark Belgian chocolate. Now after hearing this who would resist NOT going there? So of course we did.
Why it is a good idea to stay with AirBnb hosts?
We rented a room on AirBnb and stayed in a very cosy house in a private room. Our host was so welcoming and sweet, I remember him preparing a map for us with all of the places we could visit. He even offered us free beer, coffee and some snacks from the fridge. We were starving as we arrived late so that was a great bonus and a great start of our journey. Plus it was only costing us 30 euro per night per room, which makes it 15 euro each and provides more friendly environment rather then a hotel. Happy we finally hit the bed and next morning excitedly went on our tour to explore Bruges and to see with our own eyes who was right – Ray from the movie or our friends.
Our impression of the city
Our trip to the main square that locals call Markt took approximately 20 mins by foot. The closer we were getting to the city centre the prettier were getting the architecture, the narrower were getting the streets and asphalt roads were getting replaced by cobble stone. May I add that it was November so the trees had colors and it made the view postcard-worth! The Bruges indeed was very beautiful!
And this fact was clearly known by a lot of people around the world, as its streets were packed with tourists, us being one of them. So at some point we joined the united flow and let ourselves be taken by it not thinking where we are going, letting the city to unfold.
The main part of medieval town is a main tourist’s attractions and is surrounded by a river and has a lot of little canals, making the view very picturesque. Every bridge has a spectacular scenery overlooking either a tower or a castle or an old apartment block that just fits perfectly – or all of the above in combination.
Here is a big dog sleeping on a window sill above the river, being photographed by many tourists; there is water! entrance to a flat; there is castle on the water, there is another castle and then another one and then another one. You name it.
Bruges as a chocolate capital
It’s a great pleasure for your eyes to look at Bruges. It might even be healing. But what we loved the most during our stay is Belgian chocolate. I had chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also had chocolate snacks in between. I have never seen such high density of chocolate shops ever. There is a shop, after the shop, across the shop, and the list goes on. Here you can find world famous brands such as Leonidas, Godiva, Neuhaus or you can go to a local chocolaterie like Chocolate Line or Chocolaterie Jean De Clerke. They are all good! Seriosuly!
Chocolate with wasabi flavor, chocolate with cigar flavor, with different nuts, white, milk, dark chocolate. Bruges is most certainly the most chocolate place in Europe. There even are chocolates in a shape of a hammer or in a shape of a screwdriver. Marketing move aiming at people who think that sweets are not a manly thing.
One of the best medicines is also sold here – chocolate pills. You can find them in many chocolate stores and get a few bottles for prophylaxis 😉
Another great thing about chocolate in Bruges is that it is quite cheap. You can buy a bag with 5-6 big handmade candies and spend around 4 euro. That is also one of the reasons we were eating it all the time, chocolate was something we could afford. It was nearly the only thing we could afford, because food in Bruges isn’t cheap.
Financial part of eating out in Bruges
I think it is a good time to mention that I try to travel on a low budget, so as you can probably guess visiting fancy restaurants is not my primarily goal of traveling. But of course a girl needs to eat. If you are one of the people who doesn’t count your money, Bruges will not seem to be an expensive city at all. But then again, what city will? On the other hand if you are like me, meaning you are a 100 euro per a trip traveler, this part of the story is worth your time.
Bruges is pricy. No one told us about it before we went there and that was probably one of the reasons why we arrived so unprepared and broke. An average price for a meal varies from 18 to 30 euro, depending on what you order. I am used to paying around 10 euro for a meal so for me and my friend Bruges seemed to be dear. We actually struggled to find some take away places. We literally wondered around town and yes there are about two kiosks at the main square selling hot dogs and burgers but we were hoping for some noodles or pasta or maybe a pasty?
First night we didn’t succeed and had to eventually buy a hot dog from a street vendor. But we were determined to find a decent and cheap-ish place the next day. Luckily but not without a help from Trip Advisor we eventually found one take away eatery that was selling pasta in a box called Pasta Presto. It was just off the main square (Markt) on Sint-Amands street. Medium pasta box was only a fiver and it was big. Even bigger portion was 6.50. Unfortunately that was the only take away place we’ve found.
So if your budget is tight try to buy food from local stores and cook -it will save you money.
Bruges is definitely worth visiting! It is a perfect place for a day or two, or for someone who likes to take things slow. The town is quite petite so it is hard to come up with new routes, yet again it gives you the opportunity to revisit the places that you enjoyed. So if you are travelling through Belgium, I’d say take a long road and visit this deliciously sweet Belgian capital of chocolate. For a couple of days it feels quite divine
And of course, not to forget, they also sell famous fresh Belgian waffles there! Yummm! 😉