Hello lovely readers!
Over the next few days (read: weeks) I will be coming out with posts about all my travels I’ve done over the Christmas and New Year’s vacation! First destination up is: Bruges!
This city was, by far, the one I was the most excited about going to over the break. After all, setting foot in Belgium was my next biggest dream after setting foot (and living in) France! Unfortunately for me, It isn’t a French speaking city though, so I couldn’t continue to practice my French. Anyway, this year for Christmas I had a lovely travel companion come to visit me all the way from America, so I wasn’t alone for Christmas or for my travels as per usual!
So, because we were planning on going to Lille and Bruges, when we left for Bruges, we actually only took the TGV to Lille, then hopped on a Ouigo bus to Bruges. Unfortunately, this meant we first had a few hours to kill in Lille, and so we went to a cute little coffee shop called Coffee Makers, had a nice brunch and a couple cups of coffee, then we were off to Bruges! Once we arrived at the station, we took a 30 minute walk to St. Christopher’s Hostel. The hostel was a bit strange, in the sense that the lobby is a bar, and in order to get to the actual hostel part, you need to go through a door in the bathroom. Nevertheless, it’s a decent hostel for the price, and I would recommend it to travelers on a budget. The only complaint that I had over the two nights, was that neither me nor my travel companion had an outlet by our beds, so we were forced to charge our phones across the room.
Most of our adventures in Bruges happened by simply walking around and happening upon the landmarks as we went (my typical style of travel). Our first destination though, was the market square which held the Christmas Markets as well as the Belfort Tower. Unfortunately, we did not up to the top for the view, however, because of time constraints.
Next on the pretty much unplanned itinerary was the Historium. The historium is a museum in which fictional characters tell the story of a day in medieval Bruges. Honestly, it was probably meant for children, but nonetheless it was entertaining and allowed us to get out of the cold for a while.
Now, when I travel to a new city, I usually try to find a tour that will give me a brief overview of the city. In Bruges, this was the boat tour, which was given in both French and English on my boat, meaning I heard each explanation twice. At least it’s good comprehension practice? Even without all the historical explanations, I definitely recommend the boat tour, as you get some great views and photo opportunities. After all, if you can’t instagram it it didn’t happen, right?
After the boat tour, we continued to walk around and found our way to the Minnewater lake, or the Lake of Love. According this excerpt from an article on the Bruges Tourism website there is a legend surrounding this lake about a girl named Minna:
“A legend tells the story of a young and pretty girl named Minna who was in love with Stromberg, a warrior of a neighbouring tribe. Her father did not agree with her love and arranged her to marry a man of his choice. Minna escaped and ran into the forest. When Stromberg finally found her, she died in his arms of exhaustion. The lake was named after Minna and the bridge by the lake was considered the bridge of love, in her.”
The next place on the list that we saw was St. Salvador’s Cathedral. In European cities in particular, I believe it is especially important to stop by the city’s Cathedral, especially for someone who loves old and pretty buildings as much as me. Because to be honest, a lot of Cathedrals around here are older than the United States itself. For this reason, I particularly like to make time to find one wherever I go. After all, who doesn’t like pretty architecture?
And last, but certainly not least, we took a walk around the center at night! Especially around Christmas, the views of the Belgian architecture with all of the Christmas lights are spectacular. It’s just a shame a photo can’t do them justice!
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and so after this, our 1.5 days in Bruges are almost over, and so we went back to the hostel to prepare for our 1.5 more days in Lille! But that trip is for another post altogether, so stay tuned, and happy 2018!