For a country-bumpkin like me even driving the car onto the train for the thirty-five minute crossing under the channel from Dover to Calais was an exciting experience and leaving the train in France I had to drive on the wrong side of the road for the first time in my life. I managed alright, mostly because I was following my brother-in-law and he has done it before. I made two very slight mistakes but nothing serious. As we had plenty of time we chose to drive through Northern France avoiding the motorway, through Dunkirk and into Belgium where we found a place for lunch.
In Brugge we were a little early to book into our AirBnb accommodation so we found a quaint little pub nearby and drank some Belgian beer, good stuff.
We were a short distance from the market square, the centre of the old town which we visited the following morning, it was sunny and clear but still very cold, at least it didn't rain while we were there. Brugge is incredibly, almost unbelievably picturesque,
and I discovered that whilst wandering around it was best to turn around every now and then to look back at where you had just walked so as not to miss another amazing view.
Of course when in Belgium you cannot ignore the delicious chocolates and Brugge has 63 chocolatiers, each with mouth watering displays of their wares and of course we bought some!
We decided to take a boat cruise on the canals which run through and around the town and although it was freezing cold it was another relaxing way of seeing the sights from a different perspective,
In spite of the freezing weather and bitterly cold wind it was a lovely way to see the town, the boat pilot and guide was very knowledgeable and spoke fluent English as well as his native Flemish. We were shown the most amazing buildings dating back as far as the 1500s and 1600s!
When in Belgium obviously you cannot ignore the delicious hot chocolate and the waffles and cream so we found a warm and cosy little cafe after the boat ride in which to warm our bones and to indulge in this decadent delight.
The hot chocolate is served with some home made chocolates and some fresh whipped cream on the side and the waffles are light and crispy-delicious, also with fresh whipped cream, truly delightful.
Generally the food in Brugge was excellent and there was a huge variety of pubs and restaurants to choose from, another thing that must not be missed is the Belgian favourite, "Moules frite" Mussels and chips or fries and we had them on two occasions.
The first was with the traditional wine sauce and later I had them served with Langoustine in a creamy beer sauce, delicious both times. We had a wonderful time in that beautiful place and even though it was winter there were hundreds and hundreds of people around, perhaps winter is the best time to visit because I would imagine the summer time crowds to be enormous.
Before we left we wanted to have a beer in the oldest pub in Belgium, in continuous use since 1515, we found it down a narrow little alley but unfortunately it was closed for the winter! Our bad luck.
Once there were thirty of these windmills around the town but now only four remain, two of which are still in working condition.
Remember to click on the pictures to see them full size.
Next post will be on the MCN (Motor Cycle News) Motorbike show in London which I attended, watch this space!