Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Bruges, Bikes & Boats!

The best way to spend a winter weekend - in Bruges with your boy and a whole lotta free food on a mini cruise!

Bruges Mini Cruise

I feel like the luckiest duck in the pond. Having spent a day in Bruges last December due to living on a boat and visiting all kinds of incredible places - I fell head over heels in love. 

This Belgium hub of hot dogs, waffles, beer, log fires, zig zag roofs, medieval yet modern architecture and….CHOCOLATE, is the most romantic and cosy place I have ever been. I'm not claiming to be the most well travelled sheep in the herd as we only visited these amazing places for one or a couple of days at a time, but from the moment we stepped off the train into Bruges, I knew it would be one of my faves to come back to in future life. So to have been fortunate enough to have been invited back again this weekend by one of the most special people we met on the boat last year was just so magical.

Bruges Mini Cruise


We boarded the Oriana where Doc- our lovely friend was awaiting our arrival and off we sailed from sunny *cough* Southampton across the English Channel & North Sea to the port of Zeebrugge! A dinner of yummy beer and burgers in the Officer's mess followed by the onboard show and cocktails got our mini adventure off to the perfect start. I was asleep in a little beer and burger coma as soon as my head hit the pillow…party animal…


To say I 'excitedly jumped out of bed' is an understatement here…an adjective more along the lines of - 'leapt', 'bound' 'sprang' out of bed would be more apt. Once all the springing out of bed, showering and breakfasting was done, we disembarked the ship wrapped head to toe in winter woolies and headed to the train station to begin our mini Bruges adventure. Half an hour later we were breathing in the fresh smell of chocolate coated waffles and moules-frites , engulfed in the Bruges Christmas markets and festive spirit of jolly tourists and locals.

Bruges Mini Cruise

After a short wander, we passed a bike shop and couldn't resist. There is truly no better way to see Bruges than on a bike, cycling along the canals and taking in the mismatched buildings. The city has so much character about it. There is not one building the same as the next, or roof the same colour or pattern. It just seems like the happiest, safest, most festive place. I lost count of how many bikes we saw along the paths just left unlocked….where else does that happen!? Certainly not London, it'd be gone before you could say 'moules-frites!'

Bruges Mini Cruise The Betty Stamp

Bruges Mini Cruise The Betty Stamp

We worked up quite an appetite from all the exercise and fresh air, so slowly sauntered back to the centre square where we were spoilt for choice of restaurants with log fires to warm our toes.

We stumbled across a quaint Belgium tea rooms claiming to serve 'The Best Hot Chocolate in Brugge' and it was most certainly the best hot chocolate I'd ever tasted ! Hmm they should consider doing a Brugge hot chocolate tearoom-crawl! Sign me up! Served in what can only be described as a soup-bowl-cum-giant's-mugful of hot milk, into which you popped the choccie nibbles yourself and stirred with a mini whisk provided and watched as your sweet creamy 'soup' turns into chocolatey milk heaven! Pure bliss.

Doc went for the Belgium waffles with cream and sprinkled over the remains of my choccie nibbles - the perfect ingredients to ensure a sugary coated waffle high! Safe to say, we were buzzing.
We strolled back to the station, William -beer in hand, Doc - beers for later in hand and me just pottering along getting snap happy with all the pretty orange leaved trees. It was just perfect.

Bruges Mini Cruise The Betty Stamp

Bruges Mini Cruise The Betty Stamp

I must have been coming down off my sugar high, as I fell straight to sleep when we got back to our cabin at 5pm. My plan was to do the Legs, Bums & Tums class…I made the last 15 minutes of it…so I'm afraid I'll have to do the legs & bums bit another time. It was starting to tip down with rain outside and the ship was starting to gently rock, so gym abandoned, swimming cozzies/trunks donned, we dived straight into the outdoor pool. As you do.

You know that feeling when you're freezing and step into a boiling hot bath?…it was like that but better! With the rain trickling down on us, how could we resist the steaming hot pool. Too tempting. I only wish I'd had some bubble bath!

After a final night of delicious fine-dining and cocktails surrounded by glamourous ball gowns and tuxedoes, we headed for a final night cap before retiring into our jammys (me).

What a perfect weekend. Bruges, I will hopefully see you again very soon !


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