I was in Bruges this year and despite the good things I've heard about the architecture, in other aspects I was very disappointed. One thing that I admired in Brussels is that everything was in French and Dutch, which is admirable since both languages are used in the country. But arriving in Bruges, the signs were only in Dutch. That itself seemed quite unfair to the French speaking citizens of the country and unhelpful for foreign tourists, and it got worse when we tried to ask for directions to locals running small hotels and they would refuse to speak French or English and would make gestures for us to go away with grumpy faces. Being a smaller town than Brussels one would expect people to be friendlier, which was far from the case. My main issue with this is not that I'd require them to speak other languages - maybe they never had the opportunity to learn - but the plain unhelpfulness and rudeness. It was completely uncalled for, especially in a place where the economy owes so much to tourism. Brussels was much more welcoming. The streets are dirtier, true, but you feel more welcome by the people there.
Going back to Bruges, we noticed when we were having lunch that you had to pay to use the toilets in the premises, even when you were a paying customer!! If you're sitting and eating in a place, I just find extremely cheap of them to deny customers use of their toilet facilities unless you pay an extra fee. The excuse was that the toilets were 'operated independently' or something of the sort. By whom? The national ministry of toilets? No, by themselves. It's not like they hired a third party to come and operate a fully independent 'business' in the basement of the place, and that business was a private toilet facility. They belong to the restaurant, but you still have to pay extra.
Another issue was that several restaurants closed their kitchens at 9pm that Saturday night. I was there and had to go to many places before we found one that was only closing the kitchen at 10pm. This is not something you usually find when you search for info on the city, but I think people should be aware that you have to eat early even on Saturday night to avoid disappointment and an empty stomach.
And finally, a gallery we visited the next day had 60% of it's rooms closed for renovation, according to the staff, but only offered a 20% reduction on the ticket prices. That was cheeky. Paying 80% of the regular price to see 40% of the collection.
So overall, the best thing for me in Bruges was just buying nice chocolate and seeing nice buildings, but other than that it didn't have much to offer. These were the experiences I had there over that weekend, and as much as posts like these apparently displease staff from the local tourism office, I believe the whole purpose of this site is to offer people's actual experiences in their trips. Otherwise they would just visit the official websites, where cities are trying to sell a product and where you don't really find out about what people went through unless it was great.