I hadn't really given much thought to what days we'd be spending where but was focused on an efficient route as we drove through Benelux and Brugge fit in nicely for Sunday night and all day Monday. I was so pleased when I FINALLY finished booking all my hotels and had time to start reading up on the various places we were visiting. The knot in my stomach kept growing as one by one I looked at the attractions that I wanted to visit in Brugge-Belfort- closed on Monday, Town Hall-closed on Monday, museums-all closed on Monday, windmills-even these are closed on Monday! Well, just what do you do when everything is closed????
It was too late at this point to change our schedule but I'm mentally juggling, well, maybe we could drive to Ieper that day or spend less time in Antwerp or eliminate Maastricht or......
And then one of those weird quirks of fate, we mentioned our dilemma at breakfast at our hotel and a few minutes later our phone rings and they inform us that the two things I really wanted to see, the Belfort and Town Hall, were open.
So a) don't schedule your visit to Brugge on a Monday b) but if you do, don't assume that everything's closed, check with your hotel or stop on by, Brugge isn't that big!
Belgian is noted for its beer and particularly for strong beers. For the novice this can be dangerous, for the connoisseur perhaps more so. You see, we do like to try as many of them as possible and cramming them into short periods of time is the tricky part. On this day trip, we managed to squeeze in three pubs and I cannot begin to count how many beers. One of my favorites of the day was Ellezelloise’s Hercule Stout, a marvelous black beer with a huge flavor profile and alcohol content (9%) to match!
This is a warning in case your girlfriend or wife discovers the Bruges Diamond House.
Once she finds out about this place you could find yourself wanting to jump into the canal. So hide your wallets...! (haha)
Bruges Diamond House, situated in an elegantly restored listed building, "De Steur" (The Sturgeon), built 1518, right in the heart of Bruges only 80 meters from the Market Place, offers a large choice of diamonds and quality diamond jewelry in classical as well as modern designs.
This is primarily a danger to your budget - it could also appear under local customs!
I referred in my restaurant tips to the cost of eating out in Brugge. For anyone on a tight budget this could be a problem.
There was a mini-Carrefour Supermarket near our hotel from where we provided for ourselves a very good picnic for our journey home by Eurostar and Great Western Rail. Using stores like this could help to keep costs down quite dramatically.
In restaurants we noticed that a basket of bread does not appear to be served with a meal as routine - as it is in France.
Nor in the restaurants in which we ate our evening meals was tap water served - water only came in bottles - at 3 Euros 50 and more for 500cl.
I had read all the warnings on VT about not sitting down at any of the cafes in the Markt but on one evening we ignored them.
And my goodness we paid for our foolishness! 10 Euros 60 for two cups of the worst coffee we have ever had - anywhere.
Obtaining a good strong cup of coffee proved very difficult; the only decent cup of coffee we had in Brugge - and it was a very good espresso - was at the Gruut Hof Restaurant at the end of our best meal in Bruges.
If you expect to see modern buildings or skyscrapers you definitely shouldn’t go to Brugge. The city keeps its medieval look and this is what makes Brugge so unique. Look at the picture, even an Irish bar is located inside of the old typical Flemish building ;-)
When I visited the brewery Halve Maan for the 2nd time, I did encounter a big problem.
I was there with a big company of people,
When we ordered our drinks I asked if I could pls have the beer in its original glas so to make a picture for my collection Was it the question? my Antwerp accent? the waiter a young arrogant blond guy started to tell me in a very hautain way that glasses were not given because ... and then he made a walking movement with his fingers over the table. We all sat there amazed by his boldness and unfriendlyness. I said I understood but it was a pity as I cannot make a picture of it then. From that moment he ignored me totally. I could order something or not, it didn't made any difference, I got nothing at all! My company could not believe their eyes! so finally we set him up as some one else told him... "and pls finally bring this lady something to drink too?" So now he could not do else but turn to me and then a elder lady started to fire in her Flanders dialect he better brought that beer immediatly and in an appropriate glass! He tried another attempt on insulting me asking if I wanted the glass with the bottle next to it?
You have it from the tap right? then bring it IN the glass if you pls, I replied.
Some tables were specially reserved for us so we moved to the particular table.
And passing by that arrogant waiter we all laughed and said He! don't worry... we are not stealing this glass! we are not walking out... we are moving to that table .He turned red. Another waiter took over.
We didn't see him in our neighborhood again!
and every one posed with my trophee for a picture!
We did gave the glass back!
I am no thief!
You can guess that I think twice before going back in this brewery! But then I think if he is as arrogant with me, he must be with others too and finally some one will tell the management and he will be kicked out.
So the message in here is: don't let no one fool with you, tourist or no tourist!
You would think that for a town that makes it money from tourists the towns traders would treat its visitors with more respect than it does.
Some shop keepers occasionally forgot that the offer on four bars of chocolate for 10 euros was four and said it was only three - they had to be shown the card stating it was four! (Lady's Chocolate was a good example so do not shop here).
In some restaurants there are no drink prices - they charge what they want for drinks and I heard of people been charged fantastic prices for bottles of water in restaurants - we were cheated at a restaurant on a bottle of wine ( De Beurze).
Also do not offer a 100 euro note as payment as you will no doubt be short-changed.
I cannot believe a town dependent on tourist treats its visitors so badly in some places.
***expect to PAY when you need to use the restroom... if you can find one, you need to have some change in Belgian Francs ready to pay. There will usually be an attendant, and the restrooms will be unusually clean, so it will be worth it.... i guess.... whatever...
Watch out in the haunted house, you will be haunted! LOL
No really, watch out when going out. The public can act somewhat agressive. Especially if you are from Holland.
Another warning: when feeling ill: you can only get medicines by going to the medicine shop/ Drug Store in Flemmish/Dutch they are called 'apotheek'. They are open from 10.00-12.00 and from 14.00-18.00. Between 12.00 and 14.00 they are closed! You an find an apotheek at Steenstraat, the main shopping street.
On the picture: Isabel, Wendy, Sandra (Rooie), Nicolien and Muriel.
There will be so many gorgeous little places like this that you just won't be able to decide where you want to eat your moulles and drink your Belgian beer!
In Brugge there are many lace stores. Real lace is handmade, but most of the lace, you find in the stores is made by machines. Handmade lace is very expansif.
Well here in Belgium we have a lot of rain,if you visit Bruges in the winter,well you are being warned.
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