We awoke to the smell of waffles and fresh bread floating through the air and rolled out of bed ready to continue our weekend in Bruges!
Feeling a little peckish, we headed out to see what we could find for breaky.
Firstly we didn’t realise that it was a public holiday and secondly we didn’t know that Bruges doesn’t really do the ‘toast and eggs’ kind of fry-up that we’re used to.
But luckily we stumbled across a cute little coffee shop called Vero Caffe which had some lovely seats outside to enjoy the sun!
We sipped our coffees with extremely creamy Bruge cows milk and got a nice big Vitamin-D injection out in the sunshine!
I asked the lovely owner if I could take some pictures of her lovely plant collection – she’d done such a nice job decorating the cafe with a minimalist, Scandi vibe (me in a nutshell!).
After we’d finished our coffees, we wandered a few doors down to the Choco Story Museum which is exactly as it sounds – a museum dedicated to the history of chocolate.
Whilst it’s not the most modern museum, we did learn a lot of nifty chocolate history which will might come in handy at a Trivia night!
For example, did you know that the incas sacrificed humans and gave chocolate mixed with blood to the sun gods to ensure the sun came out every day? That seems like a waste of chocolate if you ask me!
The museum has every bit of chocolate paraphernalia you could imagine – royal china used for drinking hot chocolate, the intricate chocolate moulds, and some extraordinary chocolate artwork on show!
And this was probably my favourite part of the museum: “Take chocolate if you want bad company to seem good”… good advice Madame de S!
Feeling cocoa’d out, we headed up into the Belfry Tower to walk all 366 steps to the top of the tower.
A word to the wise, I wouldn’t attempt these stairs unless you’ve wearing flat, ‘sensible’ shoes as the stairwells can get quite narrow and slippery at times.
Having said that, the viewing platforms throughout the tower make the climb worth it!
And hearing (and watching) those bells chime at the top of the tower is truly mesmerising!
After we’d wobbled back down all 366 steps, we skipped down to the south of the city through the markets and past the canals.
Being the great tourists that we are, we held up traffic in the middle of the street…
And then made a pit stop for a quick twirl down an alley way.
Afterwards I got hangry (unfortunately my belly doesn’t think coffee and chocolate cut the mustard!).
And this is my #hangry concentration face whilst i was searching for somewhere to eat.
We ducked into a small bakery/ cafe called Carpe Diem and ordered some savoury crepes and Belgium Bier for Mr TUQ.
We also asked for a side of fries but our waiter looked at us as if we’d gone mad! Apparently bakeries aren’t allowed to serve fries… A slight faux pas on our behalf!
Down the end of the road we ran into Minnewater Park and I felt like I stepped into Disney movie!
Horses and carts, weeping willow and white geese floating on the canals. It was just missing a chirping chorus of birds singing Disney songs!
The fairytale continued as we wandered back up into town…
We pressed our noses up against all the chocolatiers and looks at some truly amazing pieces of edible art!
These aren’t just for the tourists either. Locals also buy their chocolate from these chocolatiers for presents and dinner parties (although I assume there are ‘local’ or ‘non-local’ chocolate shops!).
Two places I would definitely recommend visiting are:
Go.Fre – Waffles on sticks covered in chocolate (a fresh waffle dipped in melting chocolate rolled in your choice of nuts, candy or more chocolate treats!)
Le Comptoir De Mathilde – Wny flavoured chocolate (pistachio, caramel, speculoos, strawberry) on a stick which you can swirl around in some warm milk to make your own Belgium hot choc at home!
This about summed up our weekend in Bruges:
The sun still felt lovely late in the afternoon so we went to visit Mr TUQ’s poodle friend in the hotel garden again!
We kicked up our heels and enjoyed some cocktails on the lawn in the sunshine.
Aperol spritzers have become my drink of choice since we went skiing in Switzerland earlier in the year. I don’t understand where they have they been all my life? Or have they just made a come back?
Dinner was at a little seafood restaurant near the local fish market called Des Visscherie.
We were so looking forward to some more delicious fish like we’d had the night before at Refter but we were sadly left a little disappointed (see our meal at Refter here).
We quickly forgot about our ho-hum meal as soon as we strolled home through the beautifully lit streets.
Quite magical don’t you think?
Back at The Dukes Palace Hotel we were greeted with a little chocolate on our pillows. Taking the advice from Madame de Sevigne at the Choco Museum who said chocolate can help you sleep better, I gobbled down my chocolate before before I tucked myself into bed.
Did I have a good sleep? Why yes I think I did! Maybe this could become a nightly ritual?
For our last day in Bruges we had a quick espresso with a side of chocolate in the hotel (when in Bruges right?),…
…Followed by another coffee with a side of chocolate at the I Love Coffee cafe.
Maybe it’s an Aussie thing or maybe it’s just because we love coffee but we always try to hunt down the best coffee shops whenever we travel.
We had some brunch Bruges style (i.e. more pastries) and then decided to jump on some bikes to try and shift some of the fries, waffles, chocolate and wine that we’d consumed over the last couple of days.
We headed north through the city to ride to a little town called Damme.
Then we hit a main road and thought, ‘Oh goodness what have we got ourselves into?’. But within a few minutes, we were back on the bike path and found ourselves riding through the lush green countryside!
We met some of beautiful cows that had been making all that lovely milk for our chocolate, ice-cream and coffee over the last couple of days!
And fed some grass to the friendly horses wandering in the paddock.
Then we arrived into quaint little Damme which consisted of about 4 restaurants but plenty of good #baaw shots (bike against a wall) and a beautiful old windmill that had been restored.
On our way back, we rode via the commuter path. This city loves their bikes and make it so easy for everyone to ride around – Sydney & London you need to take note!
Back in the city centre, we returned our bikes and for good measure we also made a quick trip to stock up on some more chocolate (thank goodness Eurostar doesn’t weigh your luggage!)…
And of course, one last waffle!
Hazelnut ice-cream with dark chocolate this time…
I’m pretty sure the top button had popped on my jeans by this stage but I couldn’t have cared less! Those waffles were completely worth it!
Sad to be leaving Bruges, we lugged our suitcases stuffed with chocolates back to the train and were safely back home within a few hours. Coming from Australia, the ability to travel to another country in a few hours still delights the pants off me!
Au revoir Bruges – until next time!
If you missed Part 1 of my trip to Bruges then click your little fingers HERE! And if you are thinking of visiting Bruges then please do yourself a favour and book a trip! A long weekend was just the perfect amount of time but I’m sure you could still do a weekend in Bruges in just two days!