More Yarn Will Do The Trick

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The medieval magic of Bruges - Part 1

Last Monday P and I set off early down to the smoke on the first leg of our three train journey to Bruges.  By ten o'clock we were at Kings Cross station, trundling our little cases across the road to St Pancras to present ourselves at the Eurostar check-in desk.  You can imagine the excitement as neither of us had travelled on Eurostar before. I can tell you we were not disappointed. Everything about this Anglo/French collaboration oozes style and comfort.

It takes just about as long to get from York to London as it does to get from London to Brussels - 2 hours each. I have to admit to being a bit of a baby when it comes to tunnels though. The idea of spending 25 minutes deep under the English Channel doesn't appeal to me at all, so I made sure the rescue remedy was readily to hand in the front pocket of my bag. As it happened I hardly noticed the time in the tunnel - it seemed to slip by seamlessly while we were eating our lunch and the next time I looked out the window we were speeding through the  moody and misty fields of Normandy. What a relief!
When we got off the train in Brussels the first thing we saw was this amazing chocolate express - even the tracks where cleverly sculpted out of Belgian chocolate. Fabulous welcome!  After snapping a few pics, we sped on to find the train to take us to our final destination in Bruges - 45 minutes on a double-decker. Only other time I've travelled on a double-decker train is in the States, as we don't have anything like this in the UK.
Canal by the station 
From a bridge on our walk to the hotel
On arrival in Bruges we had thought we'd get a cab to our hotel, but after waiting for twenty minutes with not one in sight, we set off to walk the three-quarters of a mile. We quickly realised that it was going to be a bumpy ride along the uneven but beautiful cobblestones, making us ever so thankful we travelled light.  
Next sweater design? 
However, the walk did give us a good idea of the layout as I tried to navigate the tiny medieval streets with my iphone. I have to admit I'm not a great map reader, so P was not at all confident we would end up at our hotel, but thankfully, after half an hour I proudly pointed it out at the end of the street.  Phew!

We were warmly welcomed by our friendly receptionist and took the lift to our room thinking what a lovely place it was. So when we set off to find some supper that evening, we were completely gobsmacked to find the most fantastic spiral staircase beckoning at the end of the corridor. Beautifully crafted out of oak and wrought iron, with a circular stained glass roof window at the top,  it just made you stop in your tracks -wow factor par excellence! Forget about the gym, if you can walk up and down a staircase as sylish as this, who would take the lift?
Little dragons - could almost be fossilised
chocolate? -  each holding up one oak step
Once we'd stopped marvelling at the staircase, we were quickly out and about in the city centre.  By this time everything was pitch black, lit by vintage street lamps,  twinkly lights, and the glorious shop windows. It's not for nothing that Bruges is known for having the best chocolatiers in Belgium! I especially liked the drunken snowmen, being apprehended by the snow policeman. 
All made from white, milk and dark chocolate!

Another chocolatier's window
The streets were chocka in the three main squares, but like Venice, once you turned into a side street, they were completely deserted, and sometimes even a tad eerie. But we soon got used to it and enjoyed an amusing diversion playing around projecting shapes from one of the bridges.

Everywhere you look is just magical - and that's even before the Christmas lights went up. This was happening on our final day there, but they hadn't been switched on  when we left. However,  if they're anything like the rest of Bruges, they'll be spectacular. Nothing is left to chance here, conservation at its best in what must be one of the finest medieval cities in the world.


P always likes a brisk pre-prandial walk and achieved it on this occasion by choosing an obscure Italian trattoria back in the direction of the station. I was ok with this as it's always nice if you can eat with the locals, but it quickly became obvious to us that the people of Bruges do not eat out on a Monday night, as there were only two other tables occupied. This didn't bother P as the food was fine, but I love people-watching, so bit of a let down for me in that respect.  However, wandering around did give us a chance to get our bearings and we were back at our hotel in no time - much quicker than the first time around.
The Markt
Other side of the Markt
By the time we got back we were more than ready for a good night's sleep, eagerly anticipating the fresh delights Bruges would be revealing to us in daylight.

Don't go away, there'll be more pics and posts anon covering the rest of our trip.
PS Don't miss the new free pattern on my website, Drift, a cool and cosy cowl to keep the winter blues away - easy knit for last minute gifts too!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures of Bruges. It would be so lovely to spend Christmas there.

    ReplyDelete

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