Friday, April 1, 2016

Bruges: The Fairytale City of Belgium

Previous to our trip to Bruges, Belgium, the only thing I really knew about the city was that it was the setting for the 2008 "dark comedy" film In Bruges starring Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes, and Flour Delacour which I made the mistake of suggesting when Dr Husband and I wanted to watch something "light and funny." Good movie, but about as far away from being "light" as they come. What made this trip especially... erm.. special is that we would meet up with my beautiful, smart, world-traveling sister, the author of this blog, and do some traveling with her.

We took an early bus from Innsbruck to Munich, and then we took the S train to the Munich Airport which is about 40 minutes away from the main portion of the city. This is very important to keep in mind for travels! After arriving in the Brussels airport, we met up with my sister and made our way to the main train station. Once there we waited for the train to Bruges only for the platform to change 3 minutes before departure! While this would be the first time we ran through a crowded train station with all of our luggage, unfortunately it would not be the last (although the other times happened while we were in the Netherlands).  Luckily, we made the train. Unluckily we had to stand for the first hour (with our heavy luggage), until most of the passengers disembarked in Antwerp.

It was quite late and very dark by the time we arrived in Bruges, but nevertheless the bus ride from the train station to the square close to our Bed & Breakfast was filled with beautiful architecture and excitement over getting to stay in such a lovely town for a few days. We were welcomed into the B&B by Lut, the owner who's family had owned the beautiful townhouse for generations. We were situated on the top floor, and told that there would be breakfast right outside our door the next morning. We went to Delaney's Irish Pub for dinner that night, which was excellent not only for its good prices but also the quality of the food and beer. We tiredly crawled into our extremely comfortable beds and went to sleep, excited to see what the next day would bring.

After breakfast the next morning, we did some sightseeing around Bruges. It is a really beautiful city that looks like it comes out of a fairytale. The highlight of this day was finding a bar, Cafe Vlissinghe, which had been opened for 500 years. We were lucky enough to be there during their 500th anniversary year. The room was warmed by an old stove, possibly original to the building. We enjoyed a few excellent beers and snacks and continued our sightseeing. Later that night we found ourselves at a bar called Le Trappiste where we shared a flight of Belgian beers. Like most Belgian beers, there were very tasty and very high in ABV. Le Trappiste was in the basement of a building and it gave you the impression that you were drinking in the dungeon of a castle. It definitely seemed like a cool and hip place to spend the evening. Since we would only be in that part of Europe for a relatively short time we decided to spend the next day in Brussels, Belgium's capital and location of the EU and NATO.