January - the month of calm after the storm, the month when people start saving for the year ahead, and making plans slowly. For me, it was all about doing different things, and trying to find time to wash my knickers in between the constantly filled diary. It was also the month when a spontaneous trip to Bruges was planned for the end of February. Because, why not!
And with it only being roughly four hours from door to door, we couldn't help but load up the car and travel down in independent style (plus there's more opportunity for toilet stops...).
After a morning of faffing and luckily catching the delayed Eurotunnel, we arrived in Bruges early afternoon and found ourselves immediately blown away by the architecture of the buildings hidden down endless cobbled streets and propped up against the calm canal.
We located our hotel (which was absolutely so beautiful and quaint!) and took advantage of the parking before agreeing that a good choice was made for our stay! We wrapped ourselves up ready to brave the cold blue sky and had decided to spend all weekend pottering. Without a plan. Except finding a pub for drinks once we'd gotten lost down the back streets, and some traditional Belgium food to keep us going for the rest of the day. Chicken Waterzooi from t'Voutje is a winner! Creamy heaven.
We woke up Sunday morning and opted for a lazy one, making the most of the hotel and the view from the window overlooking the canal. The hustle and bustle from Saturday had calmed down, and instead the streets seemed fairly quiet. And with some fresh croissants and jam in our stomachs, we wrapped up even warmer than the day before, and went in search of culture. Belgium culture.
We'd done a little bit of research on places to eat and visit before we arrived, and Sophie had recommended to visit the windmills as one thing. With the edge of Bruges being only a 20 minute walk, it was a no brainer to head that way taking in all the houses and wondering just what happened behind each closed door. This place had me fascinated completely.
Stumbling across the Frites museum seemed like the best discovery, and without any hesitation we'd brought our tickets and rushed inside. It's fair to say we were sorely disappointed, and found the only thing that got our attention was when you got to role play at making chips yourself! We did however debate the Torture museum after this let down, and actually was the best decision, with it turning out to be far more impressive - and also a realisation at how intrigued I was by morbid things...
I fell in love with this little house on the way back to the hotel. The fact it was on the quiet part of the canal, it had beautiful big windows (imagine all the light), and a quick spot of a cat in the neighbourhood, had me debating whether it was possible to buy said house...
Sunday night was spent in one of the nicest Greek restaurant's I've eaten in, The Olive Tree, with wine and endless helpings of Tzatziki, made for a very satisfied stomach. We debated heading to the Jazz Bar as we'd heard good reviews, but instead opted for a slow walk back through the market square to make the most of the warm hotel room ready for a morning consisting of waffles and fresh orange juice!
We had no plans on Monday, and didn't have to leave till 4pm so we ambled around some more, and decided to venture the opposite way to where we'd walked before. We came across the local area brimming with cute shops, perfectly quaint restaurants and the brightest blue sky showing Bruges off to it's full capacity. Loaded up with Belgium chocolates, and agreeing that we'd seen enough the place, we found a little Burger joint and filled us up ready for the journey home.
A pretty tasty burger with some pretty tasty fries too. And when they put sweetcorn in your salad, you always know it's going to be good. FACT.
Bruges. you have completely changed my view on cities - because I liked you. I liked you a lot infact.
So much that you've already become one of my favourite trips away...