Our second day in Bruges began with breakfast at the ‘Carpe Diem Tea Room’ on recommendation from Trip Advisor – and it was round the corner from our hotel.They offered a limited range of items for breakfast, along with a varying price tag. Set in a tea room/ patisserie shop, you could choose from a ‘luxury breakfast’ featuring champagne, a basket of rolls/pastries with jam, boiled eggs and cheese & ham.
We decided not to go for that, and instead picked our breakfast from the list of ‘sides’: toast (3pc), cheese and ham, and boiled eggs; to drink, Brazil santos coffee and a hot chocolate. The atmosphere was relaxed, and the waiters were friendly, and was overall a nice way to start our first full day exploring. Total price: 15€.
As one might expect, Bruges is filled with an incredible number of artisan chocolatier shops; offering a range of chocolates from small prices to great expense. You can tell the good from the bad, with the best chocolate shops smelling of that wonderful dark aroma. From our hotel (Ibis Brugge Centrum) and along the main street leading to Markt, there were a great number of these delicious shops, as well as restaurants and cafes.
If anyone has ever seen the film ‘In Bruges’, they would recognise the Belfort. With a total of 366 steps to the ‘panorama’ at the top of the tower; it is definitely a must see, with prices ranging from 0 – 8€, it wont break the bank.
However, there are probably a few things you should be aware of before embarking to the top:
1) Don’t stuff yourself at breakfast
2) Don’t take too much i.e. too many bags
3) Might be wise to take a bottle of water up with you, trust me, it’s a long hike
4) Wear comfortable clothes and shoes5) Take a camera!
With those 366 steps to the top, it must be remembered that there is only one stairwell to go up, and the same stairwell to go back down again. Unlike the Notre Dame in Paris, people will be going down as you go up, and these stairs only get narrower. It really is a must see, with spectacular views to enjoy – as long as you’re prepared to go up!
Bruges can be a very difficult city to get your bearings with many side roads that all look identical, not forgetting the constant stream of bikes/horse and carriages going by. After what seemed to be a AGES, we stumbled across a little gem – the Gingerbread Tea Room – another Trip Advisor recommendation. We were greeted by a lovely, smiley, woman who made us feel very welcome.
After browsing the menu we chose to have a hot chocolate – this was not just any hot chocolate, it was a glass of milk with chocolate at the bottom that when stirred dissolved into the milk – Amazing! With the choice of milk, white or dark chocolate – or the Gingerbread Special.
To eat, the choices were sweet with no savoury options. However, when in Bruges! We went for a crepe with chocolate, and the Belgian waffle with fresh fruit. Needless to say, we loved it. Total cost: 20€.
For me, Bruges is best explored by night. During the day, it would appear that there are in fact more tourists than locals – with big groups of school children, overseas visitors and couples. Unlike big cities, you feel welcome, and safe. At night, the restaurants come alive, very few are out for night time strolls, and the market (Markt) is lit up brightly, with a real feel of medieval architecture.
We had planned to go on one of the many canal boat trips that evening, and had been told that the last boat ride was at 6pm. When we had got there however, all the booths were shut. Disappointed (and cold), we decided to have dinner at the nearest place we could find. Rosie and I really were keen on trying something regional and different. Usually I must admit, I like to stick to my comfort zone and go for something I know, but since starting this blog – I’m starting to become more open minded! So for dinner, we visited ‘Restaurant t’Mozarthuys’ of which I have since found has not got the best reviews…
Upon arrival, the waiting staff weren’t as welcoming as the other places we had been during the past couple of days. However, we decided to stick with it, and see what the food was like. The decor inside was warm and cosy, of which was one of the reasons we wanted to stay.
I had a Brugge Zot Blond, Rosie had a coke, and we both ordered Flemmish Beef Stew – of which comes with fries. The stew was very rich, meaty but quite salty.We finished with a cappuccino for me, and a chocolate mousse for Rosie (she didn’t seem too keen on it, but at least the coffee was nice!).
Overall impressions: not the best service and expensive for what it was, but the food was decent – yet not somewhere I’d go back to. Total price: 50€.
Stay tuned for day 3!