2012 and 2013:
A place we'd always wanted to go to. Made a short stop there on the way back from Maastricht but didn't have enough time to see much but it did whet our appetites. Booked a few days the following year. Eurostar from St, Pancras, when we got on board someone was in our reserved seats but they'd got in the wrong carriage so no big deal. Changed at Brussells (didn't have to wait long) and 50 minutes to Bruges then a taxi to our Hotel (Navarra), very comfortable and near to the Market Square where we decamped to get our dinner. Following morning went into Market Square and got a City Tour Minibus, excellent 50 minute tour which stopped at a lot of the City's highlights.
After the tour we walked to Burg Square. Market Square is impressive but Burg Square is beautiful! The Town Hall and Civil Registry. Wow! Other buildings but these seem to be ignored on most web sites. Trouble is, when I'm on holiday, I snap away and don't consider that I'd like to say on this site what the buildings and/or statues are. It's a long time after we went to Bruges and now I'm trying to sort out which photo equates to which building!
Followed this with a tour of the Chocolate Museum. I'm not a chocaholic but it WAS interesting with a short demonstration (10 minutes) on making it at the end. We had a sit overlooking the canal, very pleasant
and had a stroll around before deciding to go to the area where we'd eaten last year (Walplein) to have a meal (it was about 16.30-17.00 and we hadn't eaten since breakfast in the Hotel). Settled on Bistro Lily, both had half chicken and chips washed down with a bottle of rose, €17. Very nice and not expensive.
Next day was my birthday, a good excuse to come to Bruges! We wanted a trip to Damme but their was not one today so we went on a half hour trip around the City, very nice. Then we went to the Information Office to check how we could get to Damme if their wasn't a trip tomorrow. Bus and a short walk to the boat, might do that. Walked to the windmills
Kept walking and decided that, as this was the way to Damme we would keep walking and catch the boat but, when we got there, it was broken down! The skipper's English wasn't too good (but better than our Dutch!) so we couldn't ascertain whether it was going to be ready in 4-5 hours or 4-5 days! Retraced our steps to the 4th. Windmill (we were under the impression there were only 3) and sat and watched the world go by for a while. We then walked on and passed the English Convent where Charles II prayed when he lived in Bruges for a few years. Next to the Lace Museum which seemed to be part of the Jerusalem Chapel
It had been a busy day so we decided to go back to the Hotel for a rest, passing a most peculiar structure (made, we believe, by a Japanese "Architect"). Edna told me to take a photo as it beggars belief!
After a doze and read we crossed the road to a Greek Restaurant we saw last night for my Birthday Dinner. Would you believe it, closed on Mondays! So we wandered around and a lot of places looked as though they were shutting up so ended in what looked like a snack bar but was, in fact very nice inside. Main meal plus waffles plus wine €35. Not bad! Back to the Hotel, via Markt where we had a sit and watched the world go by (again). Then had a sit in the garden of the Hotel with a birthday glass.
Had the TV on next morning to get the weather and found that dear old David Jacobs had died, aged 87. After breakfast, into Markt to check whether there was a trip to Damme, no, presumably the boat is still out of action. This threw us out so we seemed to spend the day aimlessly wandering and sitting (no bad thing in Bruges). Went to the Greek Restaurant (El Greco) in the evening for kleftico, lamb souvlaki, baklava and Greek wine. Came to €65, more than usual for this trip but I did have some Ouzo. Next morning, packed and an unevenful journey home. Only thing worth mentioning, we'd got a taxi through Staines Cars to Euston from home, £60. When we got back we asked a black cab how much he thought it would cost, about £60. It was metered, of course, and it came to £96! He would have accepted £60 (grudgingly I imagine) but I gave him £90. Both ended up happy (we'd had a great time so I was feeling generous).
Great time, great City and