Embarassing stories and the beginning of my love affair with Belgian beer
Brugge Travel Blog› entry 5 of 29 › view all entries
We set off for Belgium today, and made it to Bruge. The brochure made it sound a bit dull, but I couldn't have been more wrong in my thoughts! This beautiful city was established in the 1100's and was built on wool and spice industry, only later becoming famous for lace and chocolate. (And of course beer) With tons of canals, it's sometimes referred to as "The Venice of the North." Thank goodness I brought lots of layers, because this city was frigid! And being a native Californian, I reserve that word for the really, really icy-i can't-stand-this type of cold. No worries though, we had beer to look forward to after our night tour. The guide was very knowledgable and let us in on all the secrets of this city and its monestaries. I thought one of the coolest things was that "hospitals" as we know them today were originated in these areas with the word hospital meaning more of hospitality and were places where people came healthy and got sick, not the other way around.
As interesting as the tour was, the real party was yet to begin, and we were all more than happy to head back to our hotel bar, which was warm, welcoming, and most importantly, filled with delicious Belgian beers, many of which were brewed in the nearby areas. We spent the next several hours (til about 3 AM) getting drunk and bonding over several games of Never Have I Ever. If you haven't every played this, you're missing out. I learned maybe a bit too much personal information about my new friends, some cool, and some downright embarassing.
- Getting there: Trains from Brussels, Antwerp, (about 1 hour travel time) and Ghent (30 minutes) arrive about every half hour or so, and you can also get there from the ports of Ostend and Zeebrugge (15 minutes)
- Station info: The station is called Stationsplein and is located about 1 mile south of the town.
- Tourist info: Main tourist office is at In & Uit Brugge, Concertgebouw, 't Zand 34, 8000 Brugge (050/44-46-46), which is inside the Concert Hall between the train station and the middle of town and is open daily from 10AM-6PM-beware that this is a sleepy town; things close early! More info at www.brugge.be
- Getting around: There are two main squares called Markt and Burg from which streets branch out. The center of Brugge is surrounded by a canal that opens on its southern end into a lake filled with swans, called Minnewater, which literally means "lake of love"-you can easily rent bikes from the train station for 9 Euros a day, or from some hotels (more expensive), but walking is probably the easiest way to get around this fairly small town covered in cobblestones. You can catch a De Lijn bus from the square of 't Zand just west of Markt, or right outside of the train station
- Have fun, eat lots of chocolate, and bring a sweater-it's cooolld here!