Greetings from Bruges! We got into town Monday and are having a great time. Getting here was a comedy of “almost” errors. Our train from Brussels was supposed to leave at 11:30 and arrive in Bruges at 12:30. We boarded the train that pulled up at 11:30 only to realize a few moments later it was going to Brussels airport (thanks to Katie asking the conductor). We got off and found out the Bruges train had arrived at a different platform. Along with 50 others, we rushed to the correct platform just in time to board the train.
After 40 minutes, we arrived in Bruges. Since we were told this was an hour-long ride, we figured this couldn’t be our stop already. Clueless, we sat on the train while most others deboarded. Luckily, Brent spotted a sign on the platform that said Bruges, but by the time we got our bags, the train doors had shut. Slightly frantic, Katie started pushing buttons by the doors, and luckily they reopened. Off the train and still unsure of our whereabouts, we asked the first person we saw, “Are we in Bruges?” The man chuckled and shook his head, which came as a relief. It was a harmless reminder that we have to pay more attention when traveling.
They call Bruges “the Venice of the North” and it is easy to see how it got the name. Canals run through much of the city, which add to its charming ambience. In two days, we’ve already taken over 200 photos because the city is so postcard picture perfect. It is also very walkable, and every corner reveals a new photo op. We haven’t seen the movie “In Bruges” but definitely will after having been here.
Our first full day couldn’t have been nicer. After five days of cold weather we got a warm, sunny day and took full advantage. We rented bikes and explored some of the surrounding area. It was very relaxing to ride through the beautiful, Flemish countryside. Belgium has well mapped bike trails all through the countryside, making it easy to explore for tourists and locals alike. Our B&B owners recommended we bike to a small town, called Damme, about 5 miles outside of town. Damme is a quaint town where we had one of our best meals so far (an awesome two hour lunch outside enjoying the weather). After lunch we made our way back into Bruges for the afternoon, which included the requisite fourth meal of cappuccinos and waffles.