I originally had considered several places to take mom for a couple of days during her visit to London, including Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Edinburgh and Ireland; all accessible within a couple of hours. I hadn’t even considered Brugge, until it was recommended to me by a lovely English couple that Trev and I met on our trip to Spain. I’d actually only heard of it once before, when Trev and I stumbled upon the Colin Farrell movie, “In Brugge” a couple years back (excellent film btw, if you haven’t seen it…a bit dark but also hilarious). After a bit of research, it seemed the perfect kind of place that mom would enjoy. Quaint, historical, colourful… The perfect little European village experience.
On Wednesday, mom and I woke early and took a short 2-hour train from London to Brussels, then an hour train from Brussels to Brugge – first Eurostar trip and it was smooth, comfortable, and such a quick way to travel!
We arrived right at noon, and headed out, anxious to find something tasty and Belgian to chow down on. Within a minute stride, were thrilled to discover that our hotel was only 1 block distance from the breathtaking city center!!
The Belltower in the city center is only accessible by foot, and is a whopping 366 steps to the top! Given the state of moms knees, we opted out, but the view from the bottom wasn’t so bad either!
We spent the majority of our time exploring Brugge by foot. The city is very walkable – easy to cover a lot of ground in a small amount of time. Around every corner is a beautiful scenic view of canals, historic parks and cobblestone roads full of houses and shops dating back hundreds of years; I got the biggest kick out of watching mom try to determine if the four numbers written across several of the older buildings were the street address or the year they were built (often the latter). ☺️
Of several of the food and beverage items that Belgium is popular for, one in particular made its way to top of the list for mom and I both – and we found ourself enjoying one nearly between every meal ;).
Ok, let’s just cut to the chase and talk about Belgian Chocolate. I don’t claim to be a huge fan of plain chocolate myself, but OH MY GOODNESS can you even call this delicate, silky, buttery, heavenly deliciousness chocolate?! I’ve never tried so desperately to stuff every last square inch of my suitcase before leaving vacation! And if the taste wasn’t enough, look how dang crafty these Chocolatiers can be!
One of our favourite experiences was leisurely enjoying a 30 minute riverboat tour through beautiful Brugge villages where we saw historical homes, statues, and even the location of the scene where Colin Farrels stunt-double jumps from his hotel into the river in the film.
On a more spiritual note, we were able to visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood which supposedly houses a few drops of Christs blood in a vile, at the altar. I’m not so sure how confident I am that it’s Christs actual blood (although history does seem to trace it well), but nonetheless, it was powerful to go up to the altar and say a prayer, while touching the box holding the vile.
After two days in Brugge, we headed back by train, to spend the last evening and part of the next day in Brussels. I’ll preface this review by saying that mom and I are convinced that we totally missed something, or else there would not have been such a mass number of visitors there to explore the city. However, aside from the undeniably beautiful city square, and some seriously amazing mussels, we were underwhelmed at best. Luckily, we’d spent the majority of our trip in Brugge, as a day was more than enough time to cover anything worth seeing in Brussels. During our 20 hour visit, we were able to capture a handful of lovely pictures, eat a phenomenal meal, and execute on some serious last minute shopping, so all wasn’t completely lost. 🙂