I've spent a few days in Bruges and was quite sad too leave as it is a beautiful city. I didn't see everything, but didn't try as I really wanted to take my time and soak up the atmosphere. Plus there are so many distractions. My camera was put to good use.
There is a very laid back, leisurely feel to the place. Unless you're a cyclist, who always seem to be in a rush. They come out of nowhere and many don't seem to realise what a bell is for.
Navigating through the streets is initially confusing but after a while it starts to make sense.
I arrived on Tuesday afternoon and made my way through the busy high street to the Market and onto the Burg where I was staying at the Crowne Plaza Brugge. A little out of place in the historic square, it was very nice with a spacious room, ensuite bathroom and flat screen TV with pay movies. I didn't eat there because it was very expensive.
After settling in I went out to have dinner and chose Cambrinus because of the good reviews I'd read on Tripadvisor and it's proximty to the hotel.
I think I was lucky to get in as there seemed to be a lot of reserved tables. I was given the menu which was the size of a novel, and gave up reading all the beers available, choosing one called Wattau. The food was wonderful, with big hearty portions. I had the Flemish Onion soup and chcken with mushrooms and tomatoes.
Afterwards I went for a long walk around town and reached the windmills. This part was very peaceful and tranquil.
On Wednesday I was out at 7am looking for breakfast and found it at a fantastic place called Patisserie Prestige on Vlamingstraat which criminally doesn't seem to be listed on Tripadvisor. I was greeted by two friendly girls and had the continental for 12 euros (Crowne Plaza wanted 23 euros). Amazing pastries! I came back every morning.
I took some photos in the Burg and Market for a while, then went to the Belfry. I was charged 8 euros which I thought was a lot, but the view at the top was breathtaking. It had been raining so the red rooves contrasted with a fine mist a little further away.
I went for a walk about town and had lunch at De Zevende Hemel . I was a little concerned that it may be a tourist trap, but even if it was, the food was lovely. I had the hot bacon salad, a large portion (a continuing trrend in Bruges it seems) presented with a smile by the sweet waitress. Afterwards I visited the Beguinage. In the afternoon I went walking and shopping and had a boat ride through the canals. Late afternoon I visited Carpe Diem and had waffles with ice cream and chocolate. Delicious.
After more photography and shopping (chocolates and beer of course) I headed back to the hotel to change and then went for dinner at In Den Wittencop, a very nice little restaurant. I had the set menu of Prawns in curry sauce, duck perfumed in lavender and poached pear. The duck was actually a little tough, but had a lot of flavour and was beautifully presented, a quality in common with whereever I ate. After an evening walk i had a beer at the hotel bar.
Thursday after breakfast, I started with some more photography of the Burg, well I tried, but didn't take into account the delivery trucks parked outside. I went to the Basillica of Holy Blood and marveled at the interiors, and then did a brewery tour at De Halve Maan which was quite interesting.
I went on to have lunch at Salade Folle whivh was the one let down. I chose the macaroni carbonara which wasn't very pleasant. I associate carbonara with a white creamy sauce, but this was brown and not very appetising. It also seemed to contain a lot of salt.
I wandered down to Minnewater. It was lovely but I had somehow got the idea that it was bigger and further removed from the city.
For my dinner, I wanted to try Waterzooi, so I went to De Gastro and had a great meal. I started with cheese croquettes, not what I was expecting but quite tasty. The waterzooi was delcious with three types of fish and mussels. The slight disappointment was the chocolate mousse, which while nice , was a bit underwhelming of the first two courses. This was also a set meal, which representd good value. The service was very good.
The next day I was headed home, so after a final breakfast at Patisserie Prestige("Good morning, the continental?" beamed the waitress almost before I sat down) I left Bruges behind.