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“Dank, danke, merci” Brugge, BE

by christina.kronstal on August 1st, 2011

Quick stitch panorama of Markt

Quick stitch panorama of Markt

Antwerp station

Antwerp station

Waffles, chocolates and beer. That was what we had set out to do when we arrived in Brugge via Antwerpen Station. For a country that has three official languages (Dutch, German & French), we weren’t sure what we’d be getting into.

Our daily walk into town for dinner

Our daily walk into town for dinner

Luckily most people here spoke fluent English.  We have spent the past three days in a guesthouse that was a 10 minute walk from Markt, the main square.

Markt

Markt

On our first day we had a small snack while sitting on the steps in the middle of the square and suddenly an orchestra broke out into song.  The sun was shining, our bellies were full, music filled the square with classical music, we were ready to explore. There is no specific architectural feat or natural phenomenon that would give one reason to visit Brugge, but the city itself is quite interesting and each cobblestone alleyway leads to one hidden gem after another. Dan claims, “You could throw a cheap camera down a dark alley, and still end up with ten good photos” here.

Heilig-Bloedbasiliek

Heilig-Bloedbasiliek

Dijver at night

Dijver at night

Brugge at night

Brugge at night

Astrid Park

Astrid Park

Minnewater

Minnewater

Canal

Canal

Brugge is reminiscent of Amsterdam, but with less cars, less cyclists and more medieval European charm. Each morning on our way into the main center, we would pass an Italian restaurant and cafe where they would be making the pizzas for that day, while listening to the bells of the nearby clock towers and churches.

We’ve found a few cool spots to eat, drink and relax. Our first belgian waffle experience was in an ecletic cafe at Simon Stevinplein called “Eetcafe deVuyst”. While this was delightful, probably our best waffle experience was purchasing vanilla and chocolate waffles to take away from “Maxim Cafe” and which we enjoyed in Markt. Our favorite place to have an afternoon drink was “2Be in Brugge”, which was perfectly situated along the canals and is known as Brugge’s most photographed area, Dijver. Here, we were able to watch the boats go by in the canals while downing some Belgian beer. We had happened to fall up on a brewery in the city, but rather than pay for the tour, we just bought two pints of “Brugse Zot” beer in the brewery’s courtyard. Lastly, a more local secret which Yves, our host, had let us in on, was De Republik. From the outside it looked like a rundown cinema, but once you pass through the doors, walk through the dark pub area and out into the courtyard out back, you’re greeted by a completely chilled area where many local artists and musicians hang out. Most of these places were not obviously marked or indicated that they even existed from the main streets, which made them that much more interesting a find.

Klinker's Festival - Burg Square

Klinker's Festival - Burg Square

We were lucky enough to catch the beginning of their month-long culture festival, called Klinkers, so for Friday & Saturday night we enjoyed free concerts in Burg square, had a drink in their beer gardens and listened to the various reggae, R&B, jazz artists that performed.

Markt at sunset

Markt at sunset

While the waffles and mussels were good, the traditional Beligan fare didn’t quite satisfy our palettes. We had tried rabbit ‘done in the Flemish way’, Waterzooi chicken (which was basically cream of chicken soup).  We actually found more pleasure in our huge bowls of pasta and greek salad at some of the cheaper cafes. We also bought a small package of chocolates from (apparently) a famous choclatier, Stephan Dumon and have quite enjoyed the various milk, dark and white chocolate medallions. Waffles, chocolates and beer, that’s what we came here to do and so have succeeded – and in a picturesque city no less. While the prices of food was more expensive than Amsterdam, the city itself was more quaint, more friendly and exuded small town charm. Onwards to Tours, France.

Waffles

Waffles

Chocolate

Chocolate

Beer

Beer

One Comment
  1. Mom and Dad E. permalink

    Not much on beer but waffles and chocolates definitely!
    Antwerp stations looks interesting, architecturally!

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