Waffles in Bruges

Exploring Bruges

September 2022

To date, my only experience of Bruges was the film “In Bruges” – which I absolutely loved, but not quite enough to come here. Sitting in a cafe with friends in the shadow of the famous tower, I attempted to explain the film’s plot. This didn’t quite go according to plan; as I released it, it was a bit more complex and nuanced than I’d initially remembered.

Finishing our food and another drink, the grey skies were still here, but the rain had stopped. The square started to fill up again, and we decided that the best way to explore was to split up. Or, more to the point, I announced I was heading out to take some photos and didn’t invite anyone to come with me.

My rationale was they’d get bored fast with me stopped and starting, or I’d get frustrated that they were heading in a different direction from some cool things.

We paid the bill, and I headed into the square for a look around. I had a quick check on the phone to see if there were any locations from the film I could go and see and sure enough one came up which wasn’t too far away.

I headed back the way we’d come down the heavily commercialised Steenstrat and then did a left onto Simon Stevinplein. Immediately the atmosphere changed. This was a leafy and broad square with restaurants on it. While it wasn’t an ideal place to hang out in the soggy rain, it did look pretty awesome for a drink in the summer.

I headed down the road and into the corner onto Mariastraat when something which had been nagging me at the back of my head came into view. Bruges smelt amazing. It was a heady mixture of waffles on chocolate on every corner and I just knew I’d need to come back with my other half so she can sample to menus.

I continued past the various churches on Mariastraat until I came to Mariabrug, which according to the internet was in the film. This area was very busy indeed, with lots of groups of fellow tourists, most of whom looked like they’d come off coach trips given the numbers and diversity. Either that or they were just big families.

The smell of waffles on chocolate were taken to another level here, but there weren’t many photo opportunities so I headed back up the road and took a right at the Church of Our Lady of Bruges onto Guido Gezelleplein. I bumbled into the square of Museumpaviljoen which was empty. By the time I’d got my camera out, it was full of other people bimbling.

I hiked to the river (Viewpoint De Dijver) and then doubled back into a small garden (Arentshof) with the four horsemen of the apocalypse statues and a busy little pedestrian bridge (Bonifaciusbrug). It started to rain again, heavily. While the unprepared population panicked I donned the Gortex, put the camera away and strolled down the river to Rosary Quay, which is an impressive turn in the canal. Opposite there’s a place called the Beer Wall which came highly recommended from one of the other TVR Tour members.

Heading through Huidenvettersplein I popped out by the canal again to the curiously Roman looking Vismarkt (fishmarket) and then carried on down to Puente en Meestraat Brujas.

I was starting to run out of time so headed up to Hoogstraat and hung a left into the delightful De Burg.

We’d agreed to meet at the Duvelorium Grand Beer Café, and sure enough the boys were there. A quick toilet stop and then we were wandering the scenic route back to the cars.

After packing up the rain got heavier and as we travelled towards the hotel we encountered one of Europes many insanely tightly curved motorway junctions. John lifted off the accelerator on the corner and as we got half was through the apex a Yaris materialised who’d not managed to negotiate the bend and had parked in the concrete arnco.

After another half an hours drive, John declared his knob was hot. Thankfully, he was referring to the curious way the Cerbera’s gear leaver heated up when in lower gear and nothing else and we continued to the hotel for the night which had a fantastic, rain free, acoustically fun underground carpark.

As it was still pouring we opted for pizza in the hotel, which took an age to come but was well worth the wait. I tried to order a cup of tea, but got blank looks from the staff, in the end we got a cup of boiling water, some milk and I supplied my own teabag, while the boys sank a few cold ones.

We settled down to plan the next couple of days and John said he was interested in going to the “Nuremberg ring” which had us all in stitches for a good half an hour.

As the night drew to a close, we prayed for the weather to improve, the cars to start and there to be minimal snoring.

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