Belgium Ik hou van je! (Belgium I love you!)
Tomorrow I return to the office after a week and a day’s leave. I had no specific plans, except attending the wonderful Dani and Ian’s wedding reception in Cardiff on Saturday 15, I was due a bit of rest and relaxation after a busy few weeks. Asked by colleagues if I had any plans I blithely said “no, not really – but I might hop on a Eurostar or something…” which dear reader is precisely what I did.
The, almost certainly grammatically incorrect, headline gives my adventure location away – I and my favourite and only sister went to Belgium for a few days.
We lucked out with the weather for our trip, which saw us take to Bruges for a day and Brussels for a couple more.
Clare had never been, and my one and only trip to Belgium had been a quick few days during my whistle-stop tour of Europe over five and a half years ago (it horrifies me that so much time has passed, I really wish I knew where it had all gone). On that trip I had visited Waterloo (which we did again) and Brussels – but not the heart-wrenchingly beautiful Bruges.
‘Venice of the north’
Brugges is picture-postcard-pretty. Mis-matched and characterful terraced houses right on one of the many canals in traditional Flemish style. Its a rather religious city, or was, with over 17 Catholic churches in the historic centre alone. Bell towers can be seen dominating the chocolate-box skyline and the air is filled with music-box chimes from the cantillion in the main belfry.
It was enchanting and we were enchanted.
We stayed in the very well-priced (€65 a night for a twin room with bathroom – wifi and breakfast included) Europ hotel in the historic city centre – less than a 10 minute walk from the main square and overlooking a canal.
The historic centre of Bruges, home to around 20,000 of Bruges 120,000 strong population, is quite rightfully an UNESCO World Heritage Site. A wealthy merchant town from Medieval times it is a city steeped in history and full of exciting and beautiful architecture. Our visit was brief, and I for one certainly plan on returning to absorb more of Bruges’ culture and charm.
I would and will write more about our rather marvelous trip soon – but alas in my haste to head back to the somewhat inclement climes of Salford I have left my laptop charger in Cardiff and with just 10% battery remaining I am afraid I can type very little at this juncture.