Brugge, Belgium: Medieval Architecture, Decadent Treats, Tasty Beer

::Brugge, Belgium | July 22nd – July 24th, twenty.12::

Welcome to Brugge (or Bruges) Belgium! Stace and I hopped a train from Einhoven, caught a connection in Antwerpen and arrived here in the medieval city of Brugge!

As Stace and I were planning out our trip, we had a hard time trying to decide where to go in Belgium. We wanted to see a couple of different places but just couldn’t manage to fit everything in. We heard great things about Brugge from fellow travelers so we decided to check it out for ourselves.

We only had a couple of days here which worked out pretty good. Stace and I essentially have a couple of major task to accomplish: drink Belgian beer and eat Belgian waffles & chocolate… simple and to the point!

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Stace and I stayed in St. Christophers Bauhaus hostel and was definitely a step down from the St. Christophers Mosaic House in Prague. This St. Christophers was packed to the brim with backpackers (okay, understandable) but their reception office is way too small of a space to allow for efficiency. AND, Stace and I stayed in a 10 bed mixed dorm that also was home to a wretched, gag-reflex-inducing stench that was like a punch in the face every time you walked in.

I swear, a pigeon died in the street and was drug inside the room by a raccoon who proceeded to consume the pigeon and then himself die…. a carcass rotting within a rotting carcass. OR, it was just award-winning human B.O.. Either way, the worst part was that if you were inside the room for a long enough period of time then you became accustom to the smell. It was as if your olfactory senses were giving up and saying, “I’m okay with this, it’s the new norm…” Not cool…

Anyways, the hostel was affiliated with a bar that was a couple of doors down. It was a pretty cool little bar to grab a drink at.

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Seems like legit soap… and this isn’t offered in the States. Baffling… :-)

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Stace and have been on quite a few free walking tours since we started our trip. Most of them have been useful, insightful and well worth the tip solicited for at the end. Well, this worthwhile-free-tour-streak came to a screeching halt here in Brugge. The tour was advertised and offered at the hostel so Stace and I decided to sign up. It didn’t take but 5 minutes after meeting the ‘tour guide’ to realize that this walking tour was going to ‘odd’, and not in a good way.

The guide met the group in the bar near the hostel and the first thing he does after walking in was slam a stiff drink that the bartender had waiting for him. Then he proceeded to explain how his walking tour was different by cursing profusely, and offering awkward humor consisting mostly of one liners that only a high school freshman would find amusing… and this freshman would have to be considered immature by even his own buddies…

Stace and I decided not to ditch the tour, just in case we came across a couple of diamonds in the rough… Turns out it was wishful thinking. The entire tour consisted of the guide peddling his own ‘discount cards’ at his buddies places of work while continuing to try to get a laugh out of somebody, anybody in the group.

Least. Informative. Walking tour. Ever!

Stace and I did manage to block out his rambling and snap some pictures of the medieval beauty that is Brugge…

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Some beautiful canals weave their way through the heart of the old town.

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Loooootttssss of natural light coming in through this window! I’m pretty sure the story behind the window is that at some point in Brugge’s history, people were being charged a tax based on the size of their windows. The larger the windows, the higher the tax. This guy is the definition of frugal…

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The architecture in Brugge is pretty much synonymous with a single time period. It was like night and day from Rotterdam which displays a plethora of different architectural eras.

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The detail on these building has to be seen in real life to truly be appreciated…

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One of the only (if the the only) informative things we learned while on the walking tour was that the number of gables on a roof was indicative of the wealth and prestige of its’ owners. The building pictured below had quite the gabled roof compared to other buildings in the vicinity.

But it wasn’t long before our tour guide snapped out of his pseudo-informative state to take another shot at being hilarious by making a comment about the number 69 on the building. Blank stares and silence resulted in him insulting the group for not having a sense of humor… sad :-)

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That pretty much summed up the walking tour. Turns out, the tour guide was in the process of starting his own hostel in Ghent. If my memory serves me correct, I recall being a little short on money to be able to contribute to his fund ;-)

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Brugge is a beautiful city that seems trapped in time. It was amazing to get lost in the winding streets that would eventually converge in huge , open squares. And with that, it was now time to get down to business: waffles and beer…

Stace and I were told about this locals bar that was set way back in a narrow alleyway. This place had a ton of different beers, some of which were 12% alcohol! They limited your consumption of those beers to three.

The bar also brewed its own beer which was only available here in Belgium. We decided to try Garre, which was a beer brewed in-house that is a favorite among locals. This beer was one of the higher ones in alcohol percentage and it was amazing! Such unique taste!

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Brugge is pretty far north which made for long days that never seemed to run out of sunlight! It was so cool to walk around at 9 to 10pm and have it feel like 6pm…

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This clock tower seemed to have as many bells as there are keys on a piano. This tower probably could have belted out a ballad if it wanted to…

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In addition to beer and waffles, Belgium is also known for its chocolate. Stace and I wouldn’t be very good travelers if we didn’t taste some chocolate for ourselves. So, one night when we were wandering though Brugge’s picturesque streets, we decided to stop in a chocolate store and pick up some goodies…

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The selection of chocolate treats in here was amazing. It was hard to narrow down the choices as opposed to skip our next destination and just buy one of everything!

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Tempting choices buuutttt….

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Stace and I took our decadent bag of goodies and sat in one of Brugge’s amazing squares to enjoy them! Best. Chocolate. Ever.

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The picture below is cool because it shows the color gradient of the sky, which went from pitch black to very light blue…. So beautiful

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After accomplishing our beer, waffle and chocolate goal, Stace and I had one last order of business to take care of before we depart Brugge: find a second-hand store. We looked up second-hand / thrift stores on our iPad but when we went to the physical location there was never an actual store there.

After experienced this a couple of times we decided chat it up with the front desk person at the hostel and she said there was one just down the street! Thanks for nothing google…

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This second-hand store was massive! We were in search of some warmer gear that we are going to need in the near future…. or so we think. We didn’t end up finding much of what we needed but we did come out with a few items…

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It was now time to leave the charming streets of Brugge (as well as the charming musk of our hostel) and make our way back to the train station. Our next destination isn’t far but will be like a whole different world…

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