Tuesday, 14 January 2014

When In Bruges

Just before Christmas myself, my boyfriend, my sister and her boyfriend took it upon ourselves to take advantage of the P&O mini cruise 2 for 1 offer and visit Bruges, a city none of us had ever been before yet had only heard good things about. Well known in the family for over packing to the point of taking my own pillow away, I managed to squeeze my belongings into one bag,  well maybe two… but you always need a good amount of food, better to have too much than be hungry! Taking our own food also made the trip even more of a bargain weekend away and with my dietary requirements it made sense.

So off we set from Hull docks on an extremely windy evening with moderate to bad weather, no fun when you get motion sickness which didn't kick in until 3 hours after we left the docks so at least I could enjoy the duty free shopping and spending way too much time in the onboard shops with my sister as company leaving the boys to play cards and have a drink.

The next morning feeling not so bright eyed and bushy tailed as I'd only managed to get 5 hours sleep, a considerable amount compared to what my boyfriend managed a total of 2 hours as he was up looking after me, then became sick also as we entered deeper and rougher waters, we where literally moving up and down the bed with the motion of the waves. All this a long with a staff member knocking on the door telling us it was time to leave the ship as we had slept through the announcement only with 5 minutes to spare, never mind needing to pack up all our bags, take them 2 floors up to my sisters cabin as we had upgraded to Club Cabin and had to change room on the returning trip. In my opinion if you can get your hands on a Club Cabbin it is well worth the price for all the extras you get including an actual shower, double bed, tv, tea and coffee facilities, fridge, towels, dressing gowns, wardrobe,  basically it's a hotel room with everything you need and ensures you can keep your luggage to a minimum. 

Eventually we where on the coach into Bruges which takes about 20 minutes from the ferry. Arriving in Bruges you can instantly see why it is such a beautiful city, the architecture is amazing,  the sound of church bells chiming, the horse carts passing by and horse hooves clapping against the cobbled streets and the sun rising reflecting in the still city rivers, you literally feel like you're in a fairy tale.

We arrived on a Sunday morning which gave us time to seek out the city before it got busy as most shops don't open until 11:00am which was rather nice as we could take in what Bruges had to offer us and find where we wanted to return to later on in the day which became very useful to us as Bruges becomes suddenly very busy when the shops open.
 In the main square there is a outdoor ice rink and a big christmas market, on our way around Bruges we actually came across 3 different christmas markets.
One thing Bruges is known for is its delicious chocolate shops where you can watch the chocolateers putting their skill to use, these seem to be the best shops as you at least know they aren't just bought in.

Next we wanted to visit the ice sculpture festival which we had being advised to visit and this year was the disney film 'Frozen' themed and actually had more adults waiting to go inside than children. We ate our lunch while in the queue not to waste anytime and when going inside we where told it would be -6 and my lord it was painfully cold and if you don't have any gloves your going to wish you did. The skill gone into the sculptures was mind blowing, they even had an ice slide and yes I did go down the ice slide, I had to, it was a once in a life experience and why not it was extremely fun!

After all that excitement we stopped off for a warm drink then headed back into the centre to catch a river tour before having to head back to the ferry which was well worth going on as we got to see parts of the city we didn't manage to get around to while finding out a bit of history. You'll be happy to know on the return journey we got a much better sleep as it was a slightly less choppy sea and a handy tip from the captain that a glass of rum and port settles the stomach really worked a treat as you can see from these two happy chaps.

All in all we absolutely loved Bruges and everything about it but really needed an extra day at least to do everything we wanted and hope to return once again some time, possibly when the seas a little calmer.

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Beth x