Ok, everyone raves about how amazing Bruges is…and now I can too. Ben said it was his favorite place in Europe so far. I can’t say I have a favorite at this point because I have equally enjoyed everything we have done. But Bruges is a must see. It was a pretty easy drive especially since Ben did all the actual driving. My job was to reply to the kids every demand and occasionally bark orders from the back seat. Because I take my job as the back seat driver very seriously. Probably the most confusing is getting on the euro tunnel in England by driving on the left hand side of the road and then exiting the euro tunnel driving on the right. And it only takes about 4.5 hours.
We are now a member of the Airbnb club and I have no idea why we haven’t done this sooner. The place was amazing. We had so much space and everyone had their own bed. And it was no more expensive than a single, tiny hotel room. We got really fortunate to rent an apartment where the owner lived in the same building. Because that came in handy that one time we locked ourselves out of the house…Plus, we had free street parking whereas many hotels in cities will charge you outrages parking charges. Being right off the main square of Bruges meant that we could walk to anywhere we wanted.
This is the thing about Bruges. There isn’t a ton of stuff to do there. It’s a very small city. You don’t need to come over here with a strict agenda. What makes it so special is you can just walk around for hours and eat, shop and admire the architecture. It has a very romantic feel. It was nice to be on vacation and not have to get into the car to see everything, book tickets in advance, or we on a strict schedule. Around the market square there are horse drawn carriage rides, beautiful churches, museums, delicious restaurants, waffles, and of course….chocolate.
Bruges is nicknamed the ‘Venice of the north’. One thing that we had to do in Bruges was take a boat right through the canals that weave through the city. I can’t imagine a prettier time of year to do this than in October. Although I hear Christmas in Bruges feels magical…there is something about those beautiful Autumn colors that do it for me. It’s been quite a long time since I have experienced a true Fall so this season has been a treat. The kids loved seeing the ducks and swans in the water and of course Carter had to fight sleep as he always does when he gets on a boat. If you have only one day in Bruges the canal tour has to be on your list.
In Bruges we ate a lot of meals on the street. A waffle here…a panini there…we basically just ate as we went. We did take one evening to sit down and have a nice meal and it was delicious. I got some scampi, Ben got mussels, and Mom got lamb. The town center is absolutely gorgeous at night so you have to make a point to eat there with the city lit up. It was an expensive meal but worth it just for the ambiance.
The morning before we left we needed the kids out of the house so Ben could pack everything onto our roof rack and sort out the apartment with the owner. So mom and I took the kids and headed down to Church of our Lady to see the famous Madonna and Child statue. Michelangelo made this with marble and its the only sculpture to ever leave Italy and has quite some drama in history. If you have seen the movie The Monuments Men then you will recall the Madonna and Child was stolen by the Germans in WWII and not returned for a year.
Stay tuned for my blog on our day trip to Lille, France!