Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Exploding Box And A Trip To Brugge

OK firstly an apology for the lack of a challenge card on Friday for Delicious Doodles. I do have a reasonable excuse in the shape of my hubbies 50th Birthday and a long weekend in Brugge! If you just want to see the exploding box, then skip to the end of this post (I warn you now it's not one of my best efforts, as I simply have had no time this month). If however, you want to read a little about my adventures in Brugge then please continue reading.

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
The first evening we decided to have an early dinner, grab a couple of beers and then head for bed. So at 6pm we found a little restaurant opposite our hotel and sat waiting to place our order. After a period of about thirty minutes the waiter appeared and took our order, we waited almost thirty minutes for our starter and a similar length of time for our main course and desserts. By the time we'd settled our 85 Euro bill (1 beer, 1 diet coke, 2 onion soups, 2 flemish stews & frites & 2 desserts) it was almost 10pm.

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.

Claire xxx


  1. Fabulous exploding box sweetie I love it. Your trip sounds lovely except the poopy smell & the length of time waiting for food my hubby would of got stressed to hell with that lol. I love love love the utrret thing where you stayed thats just awesome, I could live in that its cool!! Hope your hubby had a fab 50th hunni.

    Lotsa hugs Vicky xxx

  2. oh hun loving your exploding box,its gorgeous sounds like you had a wonderful time hun,love the turret so cool,my hubbie would have walked out he he if he had to wait that long,no patience at all,hugs cheryl x
    oh happy 50th,to your hubbie hun xxxxxx

  3. Hope the hubster enjoyed his 50th! Even if it was a bit damp, whiffy and boring! LOL
    Loving the box hun - brilliant job!!

  4. Never been tempted to go there so can't offer you any experience myself (to busy pootling round the UK *g*)

    Like Vicky, my OH would have been seriously not impressed at that wait though. Or the prices. The breakfast place sounds a delight though.

    Love your box - the candle is a fabulous touch.

  5. Fab box love the candle in the middle. Sorry your weekend away wasn't as good as you hoped my hubby would have been going mad to have waited all that time for food

  6. Fabby box Claire, loads of lovely detail x

  7. Awesome box Claire and happy 50 to your hubby. Sorry your trip wasn't what you were hoping for but still, its nice to get away.

  8. Beautiful photos....thank you for sharing!

    Your exploding box is adorable, too.

  9. Well I love your box claire,and I must say I enjoyed the tour of Brugge.I must say it is not a place I have thought of visiting but hey you don't know unles you

  10. Hi Claire - I'm just catching up on Blogger posts so sorry this is alittle late after the event!!! I love your exploding box - the cake looks fab in the middle of it. I went to Brugge many years ago and have to say I found it to be the most boring place I have ever visited!!!!! We arrived there on a Sunday on our return journey from Amsterdam. Everything was closed except a few chocolate shops. I was first back on the coach that day!!! Didn't eat there as far as I can remember but at those prices probably couldn't have afforded to back then lol!!! Glad you made the best of it though and it sounds like you found some decent, cheapish places to eat and drink.

  11. Hi Claire, your exploding box is gorgeous hun :)
    I went to Belgium in December and had a wonderful time. We stayed in Brussels and only spent a few hours in Brugge, thankfully it wasn't smeely and the sun was shining and it was lovely, but I don't think I'd have enjoyed staying in Brugge for too long as you say there isn't much to do, but I'd love to go back to Brussels some day :)
    hugs Mandy xx


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