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Fookin’ Bruges

The Markt of Bruges Belgium at night

 

I’ll admit it – I didn’t even know Bruges existed until a few months ago. But as soon as I saw photos, I watched the movie In Bruges the next day and decided I had to get there. They have a massive Christmas market and ice rink in their market square, and the entire city is decked out for the holiday season. It couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for a winter vacation!

 

The Markt of Bruges Christmas panorama

Bruges Belgium street view belfort

Jessica Lynn Parsons Bruges Belgium Belfort Belfry

Bruges Belgium Christmas

Bruges Belgium Christmas

Bruges Belgium Christmas

Bruges Belgium Christmas

 

My friend Alesha and I landed in Bruges and promptly got lost, but getting lost in a medieval city with nearly every storefront decorated in string lights, wreathes, and ornaments ins’t a bad way to spend your time! After using the Belfry as our compass to the city center, we couldn’t find our way to our hostel. Luckily, everyone in Bruges speaks 47 languages and were able to help us find St Christopher’s at the Bauhaus which I highly recommend. It was the best hostel experience I’ve had. The front of the hostel is a real, quaint pub where you can meet locals and international travelers alike. The rooms were clean and secure, and the facilities were updated. I will definitely seek the St. Christopher’s chain when I travel from here on out! That night and the next day, we explored the city and visited the most famous stops in Bruges with our new Québécois buddy, Antoine.

 

Jessica Lynn Parsons and Alesha Braden in Bruges Belgium

Bruges Belgium

Bruges Belgium canal

Bruges Belgium Christmas

Bruges Belgium Christmas tree

Bruges Belgium Basilica of the Holy Blood

Bruges Belgium Basilica of the Holy Blood

 

Just like in In Bruges, we wanted to visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood to see Jesus’s blood. Then it was time to head to The Chocolate Museum and The Fries Museum! We learned chocolate started out almost exclusively as a hot chocolate, and the museum was full of various cooking instruments for perfecting the chocolaty drink. In the photos below, those aren’t teacups – they’re specifically made for hot chocolate!

We also learned that saying “French Fries” is basically a swearword in Bruges. During World War I, Americans stationed in Belgium mistook the French speaking Belgians cooking fries as French, and dubbed them French Fries, thereby giving credit to the wrong country to this day!

 

Bruges Belgium chocolate museum
Bruges Belgium chocolate museum

Bruges Belgium fries museum

Bruges Belgium fries museum
Bruges Belgium fries museum

 

Of course, we had to visit the Christmas Market, which was mostly in the main square, but also bled over onto side streets. The huts around the market were selling “hot wine,” hand-made troll figurines, scarves and hats, beer, and all things Christmas related! They also have famous fries food trucks in the square that merchants have to pay €10,000 a month to use!

Belgium is known for their chocolate, but we weren’t expecting every other store in Bruges to be a chocolate shop. You can’t walk more than half a block around the main square without seeing three or four chocolate shops!

 

The Markt of Bruges Belgium

Bruges Belgium market

Jessica Lynn Parsons Bruges Belgium Belfort Belfry

Market art oil paintings Bruges Belgium

Bruges Belgium Christmas

Chocolate shop Bruges Belgium

 

I had to get a beer at the famous De Halve Maan Brewery. I’m pretty sure I drank my weight in beer while I was in Bruges, but how could you say no to a Belgian beer at every food stop?

 

De Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges Belgium

De Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges Belgium

De Halve Maan Brewery in Bruges Belgium

 

On the topic of beer, we also stopped at the Bourgogne des Flandres Brewery, and had dinner at the oldest pub in Bruges, Café Vlissinghe, which dates back to 1515. One of our walking tour guides told us Belgium has only a few original national dishes, and I tried one of them at the pub – Chicons au gratin!

 

Cafe Vlissinghe Bruges Belgium

Swans in Bruges Belgium

Bourgogne des Flandres Brewery Bruges Belgium

Bruges Belgium sunset

 

Nearing sunset, we made our way over to the Belfry to try to catch the sunset view. There are 366 steps to get to the top, but it was so worth it. When the bells chimed, it brought tears to my eyes. It was so moving to find myself at the very top of a beautiful medieval city, preserved for centuries.

 

Sunset view of Bruges Belgium from Belfry Belfort

Sunset view of Bruges Belgium from Belfry Belfort

Belfry Belfort stairs in Bruges Belgium

Sunset view of Bruges Belgium from Belfry Belfort

 

It seems Bruges is magical no matter what time of day you explore. Daytime reveals the color of the buildings, sunset illuminates the city in a new way, and at nightyou can see the reflections of lights in the cobblestone and canals. And as the streets clear, you can imagine what it might have been like to live in Bruges back in the Middle Ages.

 

Bruges Belgium bridge at night

The Markt of Bruges Belgium

Bruges Belgium bridge at night

 

The rest of our time in Bruges was spent exploring the streets, meeting new people, and tasting chocolate. We couldn’t leave without having Belgian waffles of course, freshly made. Even though our hands and feet were stinging from the freezing air, we stood in line and waited for the amazing, piping hot, powdered sugar covered wonderfulness.

 

Bruges Belgium fog

Medieval street in Bruges Belgium

Jessica Lynn Parsons in medieval street Bruges Belgium

boat in canal Bruges Belgium

Belgian waffles in Bruges Belgium

Belgian waffles in Bruges Belgium

Sunset corner Bruges Belgium

 

Thank you Alesha, for your photos! Alesha is the photographer of all of the photos of me!

 

Visiting Bruges on a budget:

Lodging
St Christopher’s at the Bauhaus: $25/night X 2 nights = 50 USD

Transit
Free – you can walk the entire city easily!

Food
€25-35 a day, depending on how much beer you drink, and if breakfast is included in your hostel stay.

Sightseeing
Tip for walking tours: €5-10
Basilica of the Holy Blood: free
Chocolate Museum/Fries Museum combo ticket: €13
Belfry: €10 to climb to the top
De Halve Maan Brewery tour: €9 (didn’t do this)
Groeninge Museum: €8 (didn’t do this)
Canal boat tour: €8 (didn’t do this – too cold!)

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3 Comments
  • Jenn
    December 11, 2017

    Such a charming trip! I think I would sob just looking at some of the architecture in person!

  • Chris
    December 12, 2017

    Love the pics. Feel like I was there. Just magical.

  • Broke Girls Diary #1 Fan
    December 21, 2017

    Really awesome pictures! Who knew Belgium was so beautiful? Great post! #BrokeGirlsDiaryFan

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