Having discovered a great deal with Eurotunnel, last weekend saw POD enjoy her first train journey albeit among a sea of cars! We set off for Folkestone early in the morning, capturing an incredible sunrise in the process. POD said “look the sky is on fire” and it really did look like it was.
Our journey across the channel to Calais only took 25 minutes with the drive to Bruges an hour or so from there. It was a beautifully sunny day too so we got to admire the view whilst navigating the way to our Belgian hotel.
After a speedy check-in, we headed off with Ben Elf on the hunt for food. POD took great delight in saying “Bonjour” to the people on the table next to us many times over. Thankfully they had a sense of humour and found it entertaining. It was all very exciting for POD although she wasn’t overly impressed with my moules!
Fed and watered we headed for the Market Square which is located in the heart of the city. It’s dominated by the towering Belfort which offers 360-degree views for those brave enough to climb the 366 steps to the top.
Bruges is a beautiful city full of medieval buildings and cobbled streets. Horse-drawn carriages and canal rides are on offer but we find the best way to explore is on foot.
With the festive period fast approaching, there was a Christmas Market in the square. Although not comparable to the infamous German markets, it offered everything from Christmas decorations to woollies, Bratwurst and of course Glühwein (mulled wine). The market snaked around an ice-rink which was being enjoyed by the masses. POD wanted to go skating but they didn’t cater for toddlers.
There are numerous chocolatiers in Bruges but Dumon is without doubt the best. Situated in a small medieval shop not far from the Market Square, it sells the most divine chocolate. Following a brief gorge on teddy lollies, we set off for a leisurely walk down cobbled alleyways to Rozenhoedkaai and the canals.
After walking most of the day, we slumped in cafe for a well-deserved Irish coffee while POD had an orange. Although just in Bruges for 24 hours, we managed to catch the snow and ice sculpture festival – an exhibition based on the Disney film Frozen. You’ll find a sneak preview here and a post will follow.
We had time for a wander around the following morning before driving back to Calais. This included purchasing some delicious chocolate from Dumon and visiting a tea room that was closed the day before. It was beautiful inside, perhaps that’s why we were ushered to the back!
Patisseries were perfectly displayed as were all the gifts available – from tea and coffee to candles and Father Christmas. Even the toilet housed a Christmas tree laden with baubles and feathers! POD knew she was supposed to touch it so she enjoyed giving it a stroke! Our drinks arrived with a complimentary meringue and chocolate mousse. It was a wonderful end to a great short break.