Happy New Year all!!!! What a year 2012 has been and we are still here, the end of the world didn’t happen, those silly Mayans. Well by the time I write this, it has been fourteen days since the New Year, so by the time this gets posted if it ever does (I am lazy) the New Year will truly have come and past, and we will have settled into 2013. So where are we up to on this trip, what needs to be documented…. Brussels, well really our day trip to Brugge.
So we have a full day in Brussels, we have heard good things about Brugge and with what we have seen on the Internet we both wanted to go for a day trip. We have a whole day planned, with research last night on the iPad, bookmarks are bookmarked on the map, train times researched and a time selected, we are set to see Brugge. The day started like all the other days on this trip, breakfast provided by the hotel; the breakfast room was on the top floor of the hotel. The location of the breakfast room on the top floor offered its pros and cons, pro being you will get great views of Brussels, con: our room is on the first floor, making the wait to catch the lift to the top a wait time of at least ten minutes as only one lift is working.
We caught the train to Brugge, just another train ride on our travels, only half an hour so a pleasingly short one. Once arriving into Brugge and stepping off the train, walking off the platform to the main hallway, there is always a choice of left or right. One way will lead you to the main hall of the train station, the other direction most of the time leads to another exit of the station with nothing around it. On more occasions then we would like, we usually (I say we but really I choose the direction when heading out of the station) end up going the wrong way missing the main hall of station. To avoid getting lost, this time we just followed the crowd out of the station and outside, following the crowd we found our way outside through the main hall, passing an ice carving exhibition outside.
Out came the iPad now, first stop was to the park right outside the station, which would lead us to our next destination. The park was beautiful, it has been given the title in Brugge as the romantic park; don’t ask me why, as I am quite the romantic boy, I took Amanda for a stroll through the Park. We followed the water; our romantic walk didn’t last too long, as I turned too early getting us lost for the first time of the day (trust me as the day went on we got lost a lot). After surrendering the iPad to Amanda, we were set in the right direction towards the medieval part of Brugge.
We found the medieval section, it was a really pretty place, with all these cute houses, one or two canals going through the small streets. While walking around the small area, there were silence posters all over the place, which was a bit strange; we came across an old church, we have seen so many churches on this trip, thought why not see another one, it was really tiny compared to what we have seen.
We walked everywhere today, after strolling through, our next destination for the day was St. Salvator’s cathedral, after that was the main square of Brugge. Just walking around to each place in our day trip, Brugge was such a picturesque place; The Christmas market in the main square on the other hand was one of the worst we saw in Europe, the market offered things such as stalls dedicated to selling socks, another selling sports wear of the local Brugge football team. It was a great square, but the markets could have been better.
The main square was huge, really beautiful; the buildings surrounding it were really beautiful, but compared to the Brussels main square it didn’t match up to that standard. We found a place for lunch in the square, but before heading into the restaurant we stopped for some subway cookies, we had a really nice lunch, Amanda had the lasagna it was really cheesy, she couldn’t eat all of it, so that went straight to my belly, I had a tuna sandwich with fries it was really delicious. While eating we stared out the window people watching and commenting on all the dogs that walked past, Amanda didn’t realize how much she would be missing Nala.
After lunch, we walked to the Belfort in the square; we intended to walk up the tower to see the views it had to offer, but the line was huge and the only tickets available to go up the tower weren’t until three hours or so, so we gave it a miss. When you enter the Belfort you walk into a little square, there was a door opening into some hall, while exiting I wanted to go inside to see what the hall looked like. My mistake though, as it was some local art exhibition, I pretended to enjoy looking at the art on offer as Amanda questioned me to why we went in here.
While doing my research last night on the iPad, some of the web pages visited suggested to visit the “The Beer Wall”. The web pages made it out to be a wall containing all these beer bottles ranging from vintage bottles to new ones, running the whole wall in the alley as it seemed to appear on the map. What we saw compared to what the web pages described was something very different, well first to see the beer wall you have to go through an archway into a short alleyway, the archway is just the entrance to bar there. It didn’t run the whole entrance of the wall, it was just beer bottles behind a glass cabinet, it was still cool and something interesting to see, just not what we had expected.
Next on the agenda was another church, this church is located in another square in the town, what sets this church out from the rest is it claims to contain a vial of the blood of Christ. Interesting me more then Amanda, we went and saw the church, it was a really small church, tiny, was basically a room, but the outside was really cool with its gothic façade, the inside matched the gothic style. The vial of the blood of Christ was in another section of the church that required an entrance fee, we didn’t go in as the entrance fee was something of a ridiculous price.
Within the square the church is located, is the palace, we went to go inside but unfortunately it was closed, so off to our next stop, we had two stops left for the day. The two stops would be two churches (Brugge is just filled with them) the first stop was a church recommended by trip advisor, the other also found on trip advisor but was given comments as one of the coolest gothic churches, another comment such as Tim Burton would love this place, made it something we wanted to see.
It has been a long day with lots of walking, both of us feeling tired, we got to the second last stop, but it was also closed like the palace. Amanda really had wanted to see the gothic Tim Burton church and thought this closed church was it. Being exhausted we called it quits for the day, leaving the last church (which was actually the Tim Burton one) unvisited. Later she found out that it wasn’t the one we tried to visit and that we could have gone to see the gothic church but obviously we had a miscommunication!
So that was our full day in Brugge, we caught a taxi back to the station and caught the train back to Brussels. We got back to our room and relaxed for a bit, got some takeaway and ate in the room, both tired. We relaxed until it got a bit later and went to the main square to see the fireworks for the new years celebrations. As we walked through the streets to the main square it was packed, I tried to take a photo on the camera and realized I left the battery on charge in the room! It was too late to go back and get it, but the fire works were really amazing, the square was so packed though!
Arriving in Brugge
The romantic park
The medieval section
More around town
The bell tower
The main square and xmas markets
Seeing the time...
Working out it's past New Years in Melbourne!!
Celebrating New Years in Melbourne :P
the beer wall
And another church...
Letting Harry direct us with a map... not a good idea
What Amanda thought was the closed gothic church