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A Delicious Day in Brugges

I had heard some mixed reviews of Brugges.  On the one hand, people said it was really sweet and cute, very idyllic.  However, others said that this had been taken to an extreme, and that it was just a big tourist trap. So I wasn’t that excited to go, but felt like I should check it off my list. I’m glad we went. It’s a wonderful little city, even though it is full of tourists. I totally get why they are all there– Brugges is great!The drive from near Dunkirk was very short– less than an hour.  We parked in a huge underground parking garage, which turned out to be super-cheap!  When we got out of the car, even a couple levels below ground, we smelled really good food– the air was thick with waffles and fries!  I was super excited to see that we had made it to Brugges during a weekly open market.  It reminded me so much of German markets— not quite so much fresh produce, but lots of prepared meats, cheeses and other foodie delights.

There were a surprising number of roasted meat vendors.  It all looked (and smelled!) really incredible, and the lines were very long!  One of my favorite sights was locals packing bags of their purchases into their bike baskets– what a fun way to shop!

So many cheese carts…

Fresh, local, hand-paddled butter!

All sorts of things we love…

Here’s the sad part– we walked around, and I just focused on taking pictures.  We figured we’d come back around lunch time and buy some of that delicious rotisserie meat, olives, cheese, etc. for an incredible picnic lunch, later.  We should have asked what time the market ended, because we found out when we were starving and headed back over that it had closed….  Next time!

We enjoyed walking all over the city and seeing all of the beautiful architecture.

Amelia felt that a somewhat religious pose would be appropriate here.

The orange juice exceeded expectations.

I usually try to avoid overly-touristed locations, but here it was fun to be amongst the international crowd.  And I have to say, it felt like such a luxury that nearly everyone spoke some English!

One of the defining features of Brugges is the waterways.  There were a number of places set up along the rivers to give people a tour via motorized boats. Not quite the same feeling as punting, but it looked like a lot of fun!

Oh, those buildings!!

Just look at that brickwork inside the arches….

We ended our time in Brugges with a meal in the market square.  What an incredible feeling, to be surrounded by such gorgeous architecture, with people from all over the world enjoying some sunshine and Belgian beer.

Jeff had a beer called Kwak, which is named after the sound it makes sloshing back into its bulbous glass. Funny, right?  One more little bit of trivia– these wooden-handled steins were so popular at one point that customers had to turn in one shoe as a deposit when they ordered Kwak, to ensure that they did not leave with the glass it came in!  I should have taken a pictures of the larger beer sizes– they were like this one, but about as tall as your knee!

And here I am, doing my part by both wearing and drinking Belgian beer:

And of course Amelia took full advantage of the frites and mussels situation.


We loved our day in Brugges, and can’t wait to go back again!

Tomorrow, I will tell you a heart-warming tale of serendipity and the Belgian coast…

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22 Responses to A Delicious Day in Brugges

  1. zazazu June 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    I collect and sell vintage and I actually have one of those beer things with the wooden stand! I’ve never seen one in use though. Neato!

    msred5@gmail.com

    • Ariana June 16, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Hey, that’s cool! Glad this was interesting for you!

  2. greatdana June 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    Beautiful! Oh the meats, olives and cheeses! Now I want some fries and mussels too. I love your beer dress!

    • Ariana June 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      I know, I get really hungry every time I look at those pictures! Still kicking myself that we didn’t get to try those pink olives…

  3. Kristen June 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    The olives are making my mouth water!!! Yum!

    • Ariana June 16, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      Me too! Still so disappointed that we didn’t end up shopping at this market, but I guess it will be a motivator to get back over there soon!

  4. Jenny June 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    What a delight! That market looks beautiful! I’m so glad you made it to Brugges- it is one of our very favourite places.

    • Ariana June 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

      Jenny, I am glad that you mentioned that your family loved it in an earlier post, because I was a little on the fence about it. Now I totally understand why you love it!

  5. Liene June 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Oh, and the weather was bright and sunny, much more enjoyable than when we made the trip… I tthink I’m putting Brugges back on the list after reading your post!

    • Ariana June 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

      The sunny weather was definitely a huge bonus. I think it would be worth going back to, Liene– there was a lot to see. And I imagine it would be nice on a weekday, when it’s not quite as packed– but I’d go any day!

  6. Marisa June 14, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    OMG! My heart just about stopped when I saw your pictures of those olives – they look like they are going on for days just about!! I am a fiend for olives and that looks pretty much like food heaven to me :) Actually all of Brugges looks pretty delightful and it is not somewhere I’d ever considered going. But you have certainly piqued my curiosity – it looks perfectly charming. My goodness but there are a lot of wonderful places to visit – and that is such an exciting thought!

    • Ariana June 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

      It can be so overwhelming to think of all that’s out there to see, right? I actually feel that way about my own neck of the woods– when the sun comes out, I feel overwhelmed with all the things to do and places to go here! It almost seems pointless to keep a world-travel list, since there just aren’t very many places I WOULDN’T be lucky to go to!

  7. Scrapple June 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    @zazazu The wooden beer holder is specifically for Kwak beer and they’re still in widespread use today. When I lived in Antwerp it was one of my favorite beers. If you are in a big party and you order 6+ beers they will bring a big, round, wooden holder for all of them, it’s fun.

    Over the past couple years in NYC I started seeing more Kwak beer and most bars offered them in the wooden holders. The holders are made out of lighter and cheaper wood today than those I saw in Belgium 8 yrs ago, so hang on to it if you have one of the older ones.

    While you’re in Belgium try a Rochefort (that was my favorite) or if you’re lucky and can find a Westvleteren definitely go with that (the rarest Belgian Trappist beer). Enjoy Belgium, it’s a fantastic place

    • Ariana June 16, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

      Scrapple,
      We will definitely try a Rochefort and Westvleteren on our next visit to Belgium (which I hope will be soon!) I love getting recommendations, so thank you!

  8. Ana Gaby June 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    I love Brugges. It is touristy but so enjoyable nonetheless! The markets look amazing and your adorable little girl’s smile is evidence of a day well spent with family.

    • Ariana June 16, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

      Yes, it’s touristy. I think the horse-drawn carriages take it over the edge a bit, but I totally get why everyone wants to visit! I am looking forward to visiting other less well-known cities in Belgium next time, as well.

  9. Trish @ Mums Gone To... July 7, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    This is another place on my list of places I’d like to go. My niece has just returned with stories of good food and beer. Sounds good to me!

    • Ariana July 9, 2012 at 11:32 am #

      Yes, we can’t wait to go back again– and to eat more next time!

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