Bruges gets a bad press as a boring, provincial town. During the film 'In Bruges' Colin Farrell says to Ray Winstone, 'If I had grown up on a farm, and was retarded, Bruges might impress me. But I didn't, so it doesn't.' Harsh, I feel. I thought it was a charming, pretty little town.
We saw beautiful medieval architecture
and sweet little homes
There were rather endearing examples of mistranslation or misunderstanding of English. This was a posh gentleman's outfitters. We could only assume that they were thinking of horse and carriage here.
Maybe 'Bras' means something else in Flemish but it amused us in a puerile way. It was a restaurant.
There was unexpected humour in staid public places
You have to look carefully at this but there are two sculptural figures on that balcony. They look like a couple who've just had an argument.
and quirky sculpture in private places. I think this was meant to be a teradactyl.
We ate the most delicious Flemish stew here.
and marveled at the amount of chocolate shops everywhere.
As far as I'm concerned, a town that has a shop selling real artisanial chocolate around practically every corner can't be boring. We found a wonderful little shop - Chocolaterie de Burg, Marleen Maenhout Burg 15, 8000 Bruges, (it doesn't have a website) - that sold the strangest and most wonderful flavours of chocolate I've ever come across;
- coriander chocolate (didn't work)
- rose & black pepper (worked)
- wild mint (didn't work)
- basil (worked)
- and all the standard flavours, praline, chilli, vanilla etc. which were lovely.
After a hard days
eating chocolate, sightseeing, we needed to sit down with a hot drink. The Boyfriend spotted Koets 27b, a beautiful tea & dining room way off the very well beaten tourist trail. I loved it as soon as I walked in. Decor-wise, it combined rustic with refined. It was a converted coach house with a conservatory that overlooked an old walled garden. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that the toilets were up a very steep flight of stairs - practically a ladder. I wouldn't like to negotiate them after a drink or two.
There were 52 varieties of tea on the menu. I had wood flavour which tasted of raspberries. Nice but not woody.
All in all, I loved Bruges and I'd thoroughly recommend it for an weekend away.