We had a wonderful time in Bruges at the end of March / beginning of April. In April, I was too busy with the A to Z Challenge to blog about it, so I’ve designated this week as Bruges Week!
Bruges is a beautiful place which I defy anybody not to enjoy, but three things in particular enhanced our stay. First, the weather – totally outwith our control, of course, but it was wonderfully warm and sunny for the time of year. This made it easy to meander around and not feel we had to be diving for cover all the time. It seems unbelievable that this was the same week that we spent in Amsterdam last year and absolutely froze.
Second, our meanderings were helped by the guidebook I borrowed from my local library, Bruges and Ghent by Christopher Turner. I was so incensed by the negative reviews it had received on Amazon that I had to add my own! It’s not a book to help you with basic information on where to eat or drink, and it’s not the most up-to-date title available, but it’s a wonderful walking guide and takes you off the main tourist track into quieter areas. It’s arranged in four routes in Bruges and one in Ghent and we did them all. I’ve already posted about Ghent and will cover the Bruges routes over the next four days.
Third, we stayed in an apartment (above) rather than a hotel which gives a lot of freedom – and because of the good weather, we could even use our little terrace. Ridderspoor Holiday Flats are very central. Ours was a little sparse – I don’t recognise it in the photos on their website and suspect they have recently expanded from the house next door – but it had all we needed. The same people also run a bed and breakfast further down the road.
A final introductory tip – take a canal boat early on. The trips are only half an hour, but are a good introduction to the city and you can identify places to go back and visit later.
Film buffs will, of course, recognise the title In Bruges. I had seen the film before, but watched it again after we came back – it was even better being able to recognise most of the locations. It seemed to be fairly accurate, in that characters’ journeys through the town were consistent with the actual geography. There were a couple of glaring anomalies which IMDb lists as “gaffes”, but I think the plot would not have worked without one of them. In the other, the characters are clearly talking about one church whilst sightseeing in a completely different one. Maybe they just couldn’t get permission to film in the first? Anyway, it’s a funny, if violent film, which I recommend if you haven’t already seen it.
More on Bruges to follow!