The train ride to Bruges from Brussels was about an hour. Bruges was stunning. The architecture, the canals, the little side streets, it really was picture perfect.
We stayed at Hotel Aragon. Couldn’t have asked for a better location. Waking distance to everything and only a 3-minute walk to the Christmas Market. The hotel had a very friendly front desk and a good continental breakfast.
December, Friday 19 – Sunday 21
- Christmas Market – This was beautiful! Bruges actually had a few Christmas Markets around town, but my favorite was in the square, which had an ice skating rink. I found these really cute troll ornaments in one of the Christmas tents. Adam thinks they are ugly and does not understand what I see in them. I wish I had taken a picture. I already put them away with our Christmas stuff. I was tempted to keep one out year round. It would have been fun to leave it on Adam’s side of the bed and then move it every few weeks to creep him out. One ornament I got was a gold cherub and behind it was a little troll smiling. The troll has a porcelain clay face, and soft fluffy white hair.
- 9:30 Bell Tower – 366 windy narrow steps to the top of the tower. It was magical to be at the top. We were able to watch how the bells ring. Reminded me of a huge music box. So many beautiful views too.
- 10:00 Tour Burg Square – Lots of little chocolate shops, beer shops, silk shops and antique shops.
- 11:00 Groeninge Museum – Walking to this museum was so relaxing and we couldn’t stop saying how beautiful everything was. The museum exhibits Flemish Primitive Paintings. I really like this style. A lot of the paintings have elongated bodies, or irregular body proportions. In some of the paintings Jesus as a child looks like an old man. I like the symbolisms used in the paintings and the colors too. When we looked at the first painting in the museum, I really wanted to know the story. I have a really hard time looking at an abundant of paintings and not knowing some of the stories or symbols. I went into the museum shop and purchased a guidebook. An hour later Adam and I hadn’t even made it through the second room of art. We decided to only read about one or two of the paintings in each room after that.
- 1:00 Tour/Lunch at De Halve Maan Brewery – There is no way this tour would be allowed in America unless waivers were signed or the brewery rebuilt some things for safety. Walking up narrow stairs, having to turn around because the stairs were too steep to walk down forward. However, this tour was awesome and the rooftop view can’t be beat. Our tour guide was very enthusiastic. I couldn’t understand a lot of things he said, but I appreciated his enthusiasm. At the end of the tour we got a free beer. Yummy! Adam and I stayed at the brewery for lunch and had a few more beers. These beers have a higher alcohol content than what we are used to. Adam’s last beer had 11% alcohol content. It was called Strafe Hendrik. The atmosphere, food, beer was really good. We will definitely be going back.
- 3:30 Ice Magic, The Land of The Hobs- Huge tent filled with gigantic ice sculptures, ice slides and an ice bar.
- 4:30 Dumon Chocolate shop – Rick Steve’s rated this as one of the top chocolate shops in Bruges. The shop we went into was tiny and very busy. We were able to get some chocolate and it was excellent.
- 9:30 Basilica of the Holy Blood –Relic of the blood of Christ
- 10:00 Salvador Dali Museum – LOVED! I didn’t really appreciate Salvador Dali’s work until I went with my mom and Uncle Frank to the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was very excited to see another exhibit of his. Adam and I got the audio tour, which was free after showing them our train tickets. I also upgraded my ticket (5 euro more) for a glass of Cava and a Belgian Praline. Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain. We can’t call it champagne. That’s an interesting law. I accidently called it champagne in the museum and the woman giggled and politely told me, that it’s not champagne, it’s Cava. 2 ½ hours later we completed the wonderful exhibit.
I’m very excited to go back to Bruges and to bring family and friends.