DH decided that he'd like to celebrate his 50th Birthday in Brugge for the simple reason that he'd never been and loves Belgian beers! Which seemed as good a reason as any to visit. So on Thursday morning we headed for Ebbsfleet and the Eurostar. A couple of hours later we arrived in Brussels and headed for the InterCity train to Brugge.
On the journey to Brugge we spotted this bicycle park at Gent (excuse the picture, but it was taken through the window of the train) and watched a young boy wandering around trying to find his bike! Sadly we never did discover whether he found it or not as the train pulled out of the station.
The journey to Brugge took approximately one hour and unlike the grotty and over crowded trains we have here in the UK, the train had plenty of seating and was really clean. Upon arrival in Brugge my first words to DH were "phew - horse poop" as that was all I could smell! Unfortunately the aroma of the city didn't get anymore pleasant, as we ventured into the heart of the city we were greeted with over powering whiffs of sewer like smells!
We stayed at the Martin's Hotel Brugge which was in the heart of the city. Our room was circular in shape as it was in a turret and over looked one of the main tourist attractions the Bell Tower (luckily they stop the quarter hourly bells from chiming early in the evening). The hotel was really nice and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. I took a couple of quick snap shots of the view from our room and then our room as viewed from the Bell Tower.
|A room with a view!|
|Our room in the turret third window down|
Dining in Brugge was expensive and fairly basic, meals were on average 10 - 15 euros for a starter, 20 - 30 euros for a main and 3 euros for a coffee. The main fair on offer was pasta, moulles and flemish stew. Service was also incredibly slow in all but one of the restaurants we visited.
Hubby convinced me to sample some of the local beers and I have to say I really enjoyed them, especially the fruit beers! I was pleasantly surprised at the price of the beers too, most were priced at 2 euros. I tried my hardest to sample all of the beers, but failed miserably as there were just far too many offer!!
We found a lovely tea room called Bitter Sweet which served the most gorgeous hot chocolate (a glass of hot milk and tulip shaped shell of chocolate which you drop into the milk and leave to melt) and pastries. We also sampled the coffees and lunch offerings and can honestly say we weren't disappointed once. Again it's not cheap, but I would suggest worth every penny.
If you're visiting on tight budget I can recommend a store called Hemp which served breakfast from 9am - 10am for 1 euro. The breakfast was incredible value and consisted of a croissant, jam, egg & bacon baguette and a coffee and biscuit. I think we were the only tourists in there, but the staff were really helpful and happy to serve us at 4 minutes to 10!! There were lots of other very reasonably priced dishes available.
I have to say that we didn't find there was a huge amount to do in Brugge, the city is exceptionally beautiful and has some fantastic architecture, but everywhere closes early (unlike Paris and other tourist cities where museums etc stay open until 10pm) and the museums are fairly small and viewed all too quickly. The Bell Tower is definitely worth a visit if only to admire the fantastic panoramic view across the city. I'd also recommend paying a visit to the Half Moon Brewery - again there are fantastic views of the city, but more importantly you get beer :)
Now I'd like to say that we had a fantastic time and will be returning, but this most definitely won't be the case (the Belgium Tourist Board also won't be offering me a job - LOL!!). Now don't get me wrong we did have a nice break, but it could have been heaps better had there been more to do. Maybe it would have been better to have stayed just the one night and crammed everything into two days? For those of you who have been to Brugge I wonder if your experience was the same as ours, or if our view of the city was somewhat clouded by the weather and the weak £? I'd love to know!
So hopefully I haven't bored you to death and you're ready to see my exploding box? I'll warn you again it's not one of my best efforts and in hindsight I'm not sure what I thinking trying to make something for a man that needs loads of embellishments! LOL
Anyway, here it is:
The box measures 3 inches square and has been covered with Prima My Guy Papers which have been distressed. I choose a selection of photographs that have some meaning to my hubby and added sentiments using a Dymo Label Maker. The cake in the centre is made from a led tealight candle which has been covered with papers. I've added some icing using the Viva Pearl Pen. The 50 has been cut using Sizzix Vintage Market Place Lettering which have been glued onto a wire and then coated in Glossy Accents. I punched a hole in the base of the box so that the tealight can be turned on and off.
Thanks for stopping by today and reading this epic post.