Friday, 28 January 2011

In Bruges, with lots of chocolate but no sign of Colin Farrell

The first stop on the trip that I mentioned here was Bruges, in Belgium.  

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.

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